Located far off the beaten track, Laos’ natural wonders surprise visitors who chance upon them for the first time.
1.1. Khon Phapheng Waterfall
The Khone Phapheng Waterfall is made of several cascades of crashing water that occupy a 13km stretch of the Mekong River. The powerful rapids prevent navigation of the Mekong into China, but make up for this handicap by presenting a breathtaking natural sight for visitors.
Recognized as the largest waterfalls in Southeast Asia, Khone Phapheng Falls is most spectacular during the rainy season when the Mekong is at full capacity. Despite the raging waters, fishermen still do brisk business here catching endemic fish such as the hillstream loach and the plabuck – the latter is reputed to be the world’s largest freshwater fish, reaching lengths of up to 3m. Tourism Laos site.
1.2. Kong Lo Cave
Nestled within Phou Hin Bun National Park in central Laos, Konglor Cave (also known as Tham Kong Lo) presents a massive cave chamber rising above an underground river. Riding a motorized boat through the cave’s 7-km-long navigable river stretch, visitors can see a ceiling rising over 100 metres above the water and 90 metres from wall to wall.
Headlights reveal the gleaming stalactites and stalagmites that make Konglor Cave’s interior look like an alien landscape. Five minutes into the trip, the boatmen maneuver the craft onto dry land, where travelers can disembark and examine the cave chamber in detail. At the end of the voyage, travelers emerge into a verdant hidden valley. Tourism Laos site.
1.3. Kuang Si Waterfall
This series of waterfalls, locaed about 29 kilometres south of Luang Prabang, is a three-tier marvel: a main cascade dropping 60 metres, accompanied with lesser cascades of five or less metres in height. Kuang Si’s pools are a brilliant blue in hue, and are perfect to swim in (changing rooms are available for visitors). A few trails wind up the incline next to the falls, allowing visitors to see the source of Kuang Si before it tumbles into the pools below.
On the way to Kuang Si, you’ll pass a Hmong village where you can stop, take pictures and buy souvenirs. At the entrance of the waterfall, you’ll find the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre, a shelter for sun bears that have been rescued from poachers.