11/2010 - Laos 3rd part: Southern Laos

20-day trip to Laos visiting Huay Xai, Luang Namtha, Muang Sing, Pangthong, Nam Ha, Oudomxai, Luang Prabang, Ban Xang Hai, Pak Ou caves, Tat Kuang Si waterfalls, Van Vieng, Phou Khoun, Ventiane, Ang Nam Ngum artificial lake, Pakse, Tat Fan waterfall, Tat Lo waterfall, Pha Xuam, Champasak, Kingfisher, Don Khong Isle, Muang Khong village, Don Khon island, Li Phi waterfalls, Khon Phapheng waterfalls and the villages of the following ethnic groups: Hmong, Yao, Thai, Akha, Alak, Katu, Kamu, Khmu, Kanu Akha, Landlam, Mong, Phonsaad.

We left Vientiane in the central area of Laos flying to Pakse to start the third and last part of our visit in Southern Laos.

I documented the most curious and interesting things met along the way.

We also stopped to visit Lung Song coffee plantation.

We stopped for lunch in the eco-tourism site of Pha Xuam; I present the beauty of the site enriched with wonderful flowers.

In the afternoon we visited the Tat Fan waterfall, which is considered one of the most attractive waterfalls in Laos, and Tat Lo waterfall which is less important .

The next morning, we went to  visit the eco- tourism Pha Xuam site. Typical houses have been rebuilt with  original furniture and furnishings , while the indigenous wear their traditional costumes .

We visited the Pha Xuam waterfall before arriving on the banks of the Mekong river; then we crossed it by a local ferry and so we had the change to participate to the life of the local people.

Near the town of Champasak there is the ancient Wat Phu, a Khmer temple complex . It is preceded by two huge ponds followed by  two “pavilions of the veneration”;  going up a steep staircase , we reached the highest level with the triad of Shiva , Vishnu and Brahma ( Trimurti ) , the crocodile and elephant’s stones, the sacred spring , and the meditation cell.

The next morning we crossed the Mekong river again; I describe what we saw until the arrival to Kingfisher eco lodge situated in a very good location and run by an Italian and his Laotian wife .

In the afternoon we went for an elephant ride and reached the top of a hill where it stands an archaeological site consisting of brick and slate columns placed on the sides of a rectangular space .

Laotian people like to compare this site to Stonehenge.

We left towards Don Khong  island. Along the way, we stopped to visit the Temple Ban Hatsay Khouon . It is located on top of a hill with beautiful views of the area of ​​the “Si Phan Don” (The 4000 islands) .

We arrived at Don Khong in time to make a walk; in this photo gallery I illustrate scenes of the life of the island.

The next day we did a walk in the village of Muang Khong . In addition to the usual scenes of rural life we were attracted by a temple where the monks were busy in a meticulous gardening.

We embarked and transfered to the island of Don Khon which we reached after more than an hour and a half of sailing with beautiful scenes of fishermen’s life.

In the afternoon, we went for a long walk along the shores of the island with beautiful landscapes and  typical scenes of rural life .

We visited Li Phi Waterfalls that, as a matter of fact, are a “fiery series of rapids”. In the water, there were several fishermen who defied the violence of the water for fishing and placing large bamboo nets.

In the southern part of the island of Don Khon, where the water is deeper, being lucky it is possible to see the Mekong dolphins. We were lucky and we could see them .

We concluded our long journey in Laos by visiting the Khon Phapheng waterfall that is the most impressive one of all the Mekong waterfalls . Indeed it was impressive to see that huge amount of water that spouted with great violence against the rocks below . That same afternoon, we returned to Pakse and went to  Thailand.

The visit in Laos is finished but I propose a fourth and final part in which I have collected images of the numerous ethnic villages visited; each photo-gallery regards a different ethnic group.