Fancy a walk through nature to a spectacular view? In Phou Khao Kwai (PKK) National Protected Area (NPA), a short trek delivers you to the Elephant Tower that rises above a forest pachyderm trail. While there, hike along the Nam Hi River to Tad Lung Waterfall, or more distant 40-metre-high Tad Fa. Embark on a guided tour to Tad Leuk, Tad Xai, and Tad Yong Waterfalls. Camping and homestays are available in Ban Na and Ban Hadkai.
The next step in PKK is Ban Yang Kheua with overnights in its village lodge. From here, a tractor delivers you to the Yong River and its rapids racing over a stone-slab bed. A trail follows the river upstream to a set of short falls where you can relax in a clear pool and go for a swim. A boat takes you from here back to the village.
Head north of Pakxan, the provincial capital, and embark on the “Nam Xan River Excursion”. Start at Ban Xaisavang and the trail along Tad Heua Hak (Wrecked Boat Rapids). Travel north to Vat Dan Soung and its rock floor. Stop at Ban Nam Pa and a boat ride to Tad Nam Pa Waterfalls and rapids, and a trek along the powerful flume. Continue to climb Pha Tak Daet, a massive rocky outcrop with valley views. About 54-km north of Pakxan, Pha Muang presents a majestic limestone outcrop with a small cave. A bit further you’ll find Pha Singh (Lion) Cave.
Travel on the “Karst Corridor” (Route 8), towards Vietnam, and stop for a boat ride from Ban Thabak to Tad Kai Waterfall. Further upriver, you’ll reach a popular sunset view of the mountain peaks. Those looking for a cool dip, walk the forest trail in Viengthong District that ends at a small, tree-lined lagoon fed by a cold spring.
For the more energetic, embark on a trek up mountains to caves, and waterfalls, and spend the night in a remote village. Along the Karst Corridor, spelunkers seeking adventure can journey to Pha Kong Mountain and its endless cave with odd limestone formations. From there, go to Ban Pha Muang Houng and a 4-hour trek up Phou Thaenchao Mountain. Its plateau was once used as a war-time heliport.
At Ban Poung, you can examine the dome-shaped Dragon Cave’s wet limestone walls and rock formations, before reaching the cave’s natural skylight. For an incredible view of Lak Xao and the peaks to Vietnam, tackle Pha Phi Hong Mountain’s steep trail through farmer’s hillside vegetable fields, up a shady old-growth forest, and past lotus ponds.
Many think riding a boat up the Nam Kading River is Bolikhamxay’s crown jewel. The longboat cruise begins as a putter up the seemingly lazy river that vanishes into the mountains. Then, the river’s flow turns into a torrent in a rocky canyon, before the Tad Vang Fong Falls completely blocks the way. The Nam Kading Protection Centre offers accommodation at its lodge or camping equipment for a stay on the grounds.