Witness the Mekong crash over boulders at Khaeng Kabao Rapids, some 35 km north of Savannakhet Town on the river road. The rarely visited village at the rapids offer a unique insight into river life few get to experience.
Check out the rocky Sammateak Rapids just up the Bang Hieng River from bombed-out Prince Souphanouvong Bridge. This leg of the river presents opportunities for swimming, rafting, and kayaking. Along the riverside, you can see craters left by the Indochinese War.
Tad Salene Cluster
Travelling along the Ho Chi Minh Trail? Stop at a cluster of three waterfalls: Salene, Sadee, and Sakhoe. A trail leads to the tallest, Tad Salene, which drops 80 metres in a densely forested setting. Another 8-km path reaches Sadee Waterfall, while a 10-km trail from Old Sepon takes trekkers to Sakhoe Waterfall. You can see craters caused by bombing during the war along the way, as well as locals cultivating fruits and coffee.
To access this cluster of falls, head along Route 9 until reaching Sepon. Travel east for 22 km, and turn left at Ban Dong Noy onto a laterite road. This leads through jungle and streams for about 25 km until you reach the falls. The Savannakhet Eco-Guide Unit offers guided treks to the falls.
Waterfall buffs need to add the Tad Phalong experience to their list. At first, you see a tree-covered mountain, but you can hear the rumble of strong falls in the distance. Further inside the Phou Xang Hae NPA, you hear a constant crash. Suddenly the thick forest and rocky trail halts as Tad Phalong appears from nowhere, rushing 35 metres through trees and disappearing into the jungle.
Access is via Route 9. Tad Phalong is located 20 km south of Vilabouly in Phou Xang Hae NPA, and is easily reached from Route 28A. Trekking and homestays in the NPA are available during the dry season.