Rigions in Laos

 

Central

Bolikhamxay

A delightful province bordering Vientiane, Xiang Khouang and Khammouane provinces.  A 'footprint of Buddha' shrine housed at Vat Pha Bat is an important pilgrimage site.  Perhaps the most famous attraction of the region is its striking landscape - stone forest featuring thousands of rock pinnacles. 

 

Khammouane

A province of fertile plains and moderately high mountains which slope down to the Mekhong valley.  Plantations and well preserved French colonial architecture make the this province a pleasant to visit.  

 

Northern 

Houaphan

A destination for the intrepid travelers.  There is a strong Vietnamese influence in this province as access from Hanoi is easy for Vietnamese. Beautiful handmade textiles are available.  Caves which were home to the Pathet Lao throughout most of the Indochina war are opened to visitors.  

Phongsali

Northern Laos' least explored province and a treat awaiting the hardy adventurer. There is a large Chinese presence as well as a wide range of ethnic minorities living traditional lives.  During the rainy season an exhilarating speed boat ride from Luang Prabang will take you t to the heart of the province. 

Oudomxai

Oudomxai makes an ideal base for excursions and trekking.  It is a beautiful and hospitable province with a mix of cutures mostly untouched by modern life.  Waterfalls and hot springs, rustic towns and finshing villages and many opportunities for river trips are just some of the delights of this mountainous province. 

 

Luang Namtha 

Sharing its bordering with China and Burma, Luang Namtha is a colorful and ethnically diverse province.  The mountains in the province are picturesque and home to about 39 different ethnic groups including Thai Lu, Thai Neua, Yunnanese, Shan and Mien.  The market in Muang Sing is a kaleidoscope of cultures.  

Bokeo

Located along the Mekhong river border wit Thailand and Luang Namtha province, Bokeo province is Laos's smallest province and home to a large number of minorities.  A fascinating cultural mix of about 34 ethnic groups including Hmong, Mien, Thai Dam, Thai Khao, and Lahu.  Gold panning and digging for precious stones, such as sapphires are popular activities for many local people. 

Sayabouli

It is quite mountainous and one of the most remote and least accessible.  The mountain scenery is splendid and the ethnic mix fascinating. 

 

Southern 

Savannakhet

Savannakhet is a busy commercial center for trade between Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.  The capital, Savannakhet, boasts several fine French colonial buildings as a sign of its importance during the colonial era.  Heavily loaded boats ferry goods and passengers to and fro across the river to Thailand.  The markets are filled with great activity and a wonderful variety of people.  The former Ho Chi Minh Trail can be visited from here and numerous remnants of downed US helicopters and fighter planes can still be seen.  Several interesting temples can also be explored in and around the area. 

Saravane

The main attraction in this province is the fertile Boloven plateau which lies on the border between Saravane and Champasak provinces.  Parts of the plateau are used for the cultivation of coffee, rubber and bananas from plantations begun during French occupation.  Other products include fruit, cardamom, and rattan cane.  Other parts of the plateau are still pristine. Mon-Khmer ethnic groups make their home here in the province and their villages can be visited on the way to a picnic at pleasant local waterfalls. 

Sekong and Attapeu

Sekong and Attapeu are in the south-esastern corner of the country.  The town of Samakhi Xai (Attapue) at the junction of two rivers is known as "The Golden Village."  Visitors can stroll down leafy avenues or explores the area by boat.  Twelve kilometers eastward Saisetha district is a gateway to South Vietnam, adn boasts 16th Centtury Stupas and Temples dedicated to the King Sethathirath who dissapeared there during a pacification camping.  Between Sekong and Attapeu is the famous Sekatam Waterfall where people from both provinces spend their weekends and take a rest. 

 

Champasak

The ancient ruins of Vat Phu can be visited from the town of Champasaak.  This Khmer temple site dates back to the 6th century in parts and is possibly one of the most important sites in the country.  The temple has been built i layers along a slope of mountain adn the upper plateform affords a wonderful view of the MeKong.  The temple is also host to a festival every June when locals sacrifice a water buffalo to the local earth spirit.