Trekking in Attapeu
You can head off with a guide or on your own for a day or longer. Explore the deep jungle, follow paths to waterfalls, and climb mountains to isolated ethnic villages on an Attapeu trek.
Ban Mai Waterfall Trek & Homestay
Your 2-day journey begins with a 48-km drive from Attapeu Town (Samakkhixay). First, stop at Nonglom Lake at the foot of the Bolaven plateau, and try to spot birds in the wetlands. You might catch a glimpse of ibis, sarus cranes, and white-winged ducks, as well as white-rumped, long-billed, and red-headed vultures.
The road continues to Sanamxai and the turnoff to the Xe Pian River and Ban Mai. Here, you’ll board a long-tail boat with a guide, and cruise through the jungle into the Xe Pian NPA. The 1-hour ride reaches 30-metre-wide Tad Samongphak Waterfall crashing over a 10-metre-high shelf into the river.
Climb off the boat and continue following the river on a trail to Tad Saepha Waterfall, a 120-metre-wide river ledge dropping 23 metres in a cloudy mist. From here, the path leads through the forest and farmland back to Tad Samongphak Waterfall and a boat to Ban Mai. In Ban Mai, you can bathe in the Xe Pian River before a traditional dinner with your home-stay family. The village also has a small restaurant and shops selling snacks.
Trekking in Dong Amphan NPA
Dive into the Dong Amphan NPA on a choice of multi-day treks, and dig deep inside pristine wilderness. Expeditions often use boats and 4WD vehicles to reach the rugged pathways to a military route, remote ethnic villages, and the extinct Nong Fa volcano-crater lake.
Remote Village Treks
Penetrate the NPA’s far northern reaches to discover rarely visited villages deep in the mountains. Start at Ban Hin Dam with a boat ride up the Xe Kaman River to the rocky Hua Tad Pohr rapids. From here, a local guide takes you through a web of trails to ethnic minority villages to meet people isolated from modern life.
Nong Fa Trek
Choose among treks to reach Attapeu’s main attraction, Nong Fa Lake, set in an extinct volcano’s round crater. The quickest way to the lake’s clear waters is by 4WD to Ban Vangetat at Nong Fa’s base. The rugged dirt road starts near the Vietnam border and follows the Xe Xou River, crossing it at times. You can take part of the journey by boat and battle rapids at Ban Keng Maw.
Extreme adventurers can embark on a 4-day, 90-km trek along an old Lao military route to reach Ban Vangetat and Nong Fa. Head out from at Ban Pa’am, hike through pristine nature, and climb up steep mountains to unrivalled views of wilderness. You’ll spend the night at ethnic villages along the way.
Whichever way you pick to reach Ban Vangetat, you’ll face a final 2-hour march up the volcano to the clear waters of Nong Fa. The trail leads through pine forests to a swim in the lake on top of the world.
Explore the NPA on multi-day treks with homestays that start in Ban Pa’am and lead to ethnic Alak villages before reaching Muang Khao in the old capital. From here, continue 4 km to a waterfall, before returning to Ban Pa’am by foot or vehicle and an option to continue trekking to Nong Fa Lake.
Attapeu offers a pair of easy, 1-day waterfall treks from the provincial capital. Drive to the ethnic Oy village of Ban Lanyao, and walk to Tad Phok Waterfall dropping off the edge of the Bolaven Plateau. A 6-km trek along the Xe Xou River and past colourful rocks lands at Tad Phapong Waterfall, a trip you can also take by boat.