After snaking down the south-eastern border of Laos, the Mekong River ventures into the southernmost part of the country, where traditional agricultural communities cultivate the rich, fertile land that stretches far into the distance.
Under the gaze of the surrounding mountains, the Mekong River meanders through traditional villages and past Buddhist and Pre-Angkorian temples, the most stunning of which is Vat Phou. Constructed between the 6th and 13th centuries, it is the holiest in southern Laos, and further temples are scattered along the surrounding hillsides, each featuring picturesque pavilions and ponds.
The huge Bolaven Plateau is home to spectacular waterfalls, sand bank beaches, coffee plantations and a diversity of local cultures, and is best explored on the back of an elephant.
The river gets wider as it approaches the Cambodian border and enters the region of Si Phan Don, and in the dry season thousands of small islands immerge. Larger islands, such as Don Khong and Don Khon, are great for walking and mountain biking and each island offers a glimpse into traditional Laotian life. Dolphins can be spotted in the river itself, so keep an eye out!
The nearby city Pakse is the gateway to the Khmer temples of southern Laos.