Easily covered in two or three relaxed weeks, this route takes in some of southern Laos’s most picturesque spots, with plenty of hammock time built in.
Start in the south’s colonial gem, where sun-yellowed villas have been restored as restaurants, hotels and tour offices organizing treks into nearby jungles.
This thriving Mekong city is a natural base for trips around the Bolaven Plateau, and is within easy day-tripping distance of sleepy silk-weaving villages.
3 Tad Lo
A chilled backpacker community is growing up near the base of these falls, which slosh splendidly over rounded rocks and swimming holes.
4 Tad Fan and Tad Yuang
After touring the Bolaven Plateau’s coffee plantations, take a dip at Tad Yuang, a picture-perfect dual cascade. The much taller Tad Fan, surrounded by dense jungle, is just a kilometre away.
Dusty orange light lends a magical feel to mornings and evenings in this town on the Mekong’s west bank, once the capital of a bustling kingdom.
6 Wat Phou
A Khmer ruin to rival many of the temples at Angkor, Wat Phou occupies a prime location beneath pristine forests.
7 Si Phan Don
On its final push through Laos, the Mekong splits into a web of serene tropical islets, inviting island-hopping tourists to kick back with a glass or two of lào-láo.