5-Day Southern Lao Explorer

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Tour type

Tour Level: High level

Tour Comfort: Luxury

Tour Period: 5 Days

5 hours   

tour highlights

  • Cruise down the Mekong on a traditional longtail boat
  • Explore the lush and peaceful Khong Island
  • Discover the pre-Angkorian Wat Phu temple
  • Cruise the backwaters of the Mekong to ‘discover’ the 4000 islands
  • Visit picturesque waterfalls

tour details

Southern Explorer is the perfect blend of historical temples and natural wonders with the option to either relax in, or explore further, this beautiful part of Laos.

Why choose this tour?

Southern Laos is renowned for its culture, history and nature providing every traveller with a heady mix of geographic and ethnic diversity. Come and discover why southern Laos exudes such a laid back vibe.

Today you will visit a stunning pre-Angkorian temple. Pick up is at your hotel at 8:30 hours and then we drive to visit Wat Phou Salao in Pakse district. The temple is located on the slopes of Salao Hill and has a giant statue of a golden Buddha. Drive to Champasak to visit pre-Angkorian Wat Phu Temple. Wat Phu, a World Heritage Site, means ‘mountain temple’. The temples in this complex are dated between the 6th and 13th century. Wat Phu lies on a hillside and offers spectacular views over the surrounding plains and the Mekong River. Hindu Khmer probably chose the site because of the spring that flows from near the top of the hill. Historians say that Phu Pasak was in fact sacred to the pre-Angkorian Kingdom of Chenla (6th century) and may have been the site of human sacrifices. The temple is divided in two parts. The lower part consists of two ruined palace buildings at the edge of a pond, which was used for ritual ablutions. The upper section, the temple sanctuary itself, once enclosed a large Shiva phallus (linga). It was later converted into a Buddhist temple but much of the original Hindu sculpture remains. The lintels feature various forms of Vishnu and Shiva as well as Kala, the Hindu god of time and death. The naga stairway is lined with plumeria (Dokchampa), the Lao national flower.

Lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch, drive to visit another Angkorian temple, Oum Moung and then continue by car to Khong Island. On arrival at Khong Island check in at the hotel.
Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.

Estimated driving time/distance:
3 hours/150 kilometres

Meal included:
Lunch at a local restaurant
Dinner at the hotel
Breakfast this morning is at the hotel as you get ready for a day of cruising and enjoying spectacular waterfalls.

After breakfast, board your boat and cruise along the backwaters to explore Siphandone (4000 Islands). During the rainy season, the Mekong River reaches a breadth of 14km, the river's widest reach along its 4,350km journey from the Tibetan Plateau towards the South China Sea; when the river recedes, it leaves behind thousands of islands and islets. Take time to admire the surrounding islands of Don Det and Don Som and see a glimpse of the traditional lifestyle of the fishermen. Your boat will stop at Don Khong Island and you can see the old steam-locomotive, the last remaining sign of the railway built by the French in 1897 in order to bypass the powerful rapids when transporting goods from Cambodia.

Take local transportation to visit the Sumphamith waterfall. Its other name ‘Li Phi’, means ‘Spirit Trap’. The locals believe that bad spirits are trapped at the falls and get washed downstream. Then return to Ban Khone for lunch at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, take another boat trip for a chance to see the fresh water Irrawaddy Dolphins (this part of the trip is only possible from October to May). Return by boat to Don Khong.

Dinner and at the accommodation

Meal included:
Lunch at a local restaurant
Dinner at the accommodation
Breakfast at the hotel.

Today leave by car to visit the magnificent Khone Phapheng waterfall, the largest cascade along the Mekong River. A fault line caused the cascade, which is 6km wide at this point, and the astonishing force of the water has cut dramatic gorges through the brittle bedrock.

Lunch is at a local restaurant.

Continue by car to Ban Muang pier, then take a small boat to cross Mekong river to Don Daeng.

Dinner at accommodation.

Estimated driving time/distance:
3.5 hours/170 kilometres

Meal included:
Lunch at a local restaurant
Dinner at the accommodation
Morning and afternoon at leisure
After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel enjoy the full day at this beautiful resort and be as active or restful as you would like. You may take bikes and discover the island by your own or enjoy the tranquility of being by the pool, overlooking mighty Mekong River. Lunch is at the hotel.

Dinner at hotel

Meal included:
Lunch at the hotel
Dinner at the hotel
Following breakfast at the hotel, take a small boat again to Ban Muang Pier and then transfer by car to Pakse International Airport for the flight departure to your next destination.

Estimated driving time/distance:
1 – 1.5 hours/50 kilometres

customise the tour

  • Add a Go Local Experience: Take part in an organised fishing trip with local people on Don Daeng Island. Discover the different Mekong fish species and/or new fishing techniques to try. Once the fishing trip is complete we will transfer back to the hotel
  • Add a Diethelm Moment: Arise early to observe the sunrise on the east side of Don Daeng Island
  • Extend your holiday for a deeper exploration of the fascinating 4000 Islands region


  • Accommodation in shared double/twin room with air conditioning (AC) and private bathroom
  • Meals as stated in the programme B= Breakfast, L= Lunch & D= Dinner
  • Transfers and tours with English-speaking guides in private air conditioned vehicles
  • All entrance fees as mentioned in the programme
  • Mineral water available in the vehicles


  • Domestic airfare (quoted separately, if requested)
  • International airfare to / from Laos (quoted separately, if requested)
  • Optional tours
  • Surcharges for other language guides
  • Surcharges for Lao Pimai (New Year)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditures, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities, etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges which will be advised at the time of booking or when available
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme


Upon request, a licensed French, German, Spanish or other language-speaking guide can accompany participants for the whole duration of the trip at an additional cost.

Tour code: 5SEXEC

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