Sekong remains mostly unexplored, with its forested mountains difficult to access. Still, you can visit waterfalls on the road linking it to Attapeu Province. You can take a Sekong riverboat ride or visit ethnic groups in Ban Khan Don on an organized tour.
The Sekong River cuts through the province’s west and passes through Sekong Town as it flows south. You can hire a long-tail boat in town for a scenic cruise along the edge of the Bolaven Plateau towards Attapeu. Irrawaddy freshwater dolphins once made their way up the river from Cambodia, but spotting them is now rare.
You can visit waterfalls dropping off the eastern ridge of the Bolaven Plateau and into their waterways leading to the Sekong River. Three are easily accessed from Route 11 to Attapeu. At Km 14.5, a turnoff leads to Tad Faek, a 5-metre-high waterfall with pools at the top and bottom. The upper pool is good for swimming, while the lower pool is home to the sharp-toothed, evil-sounding pa pao puffer fish.
Further along Route 11, a bridge crosses the Xe Nam Noi River to Attapeu. Just over the bridge at Km 18, a cart path leads to Tad Hua Khon (Waterfall of Heads), where the river drops 7 metres at a 100-metre-wide shelf. Tad Hua Khon earned its name after a WW2 conflict during which Japanese soldiers decapitated Lao forces and tossed their heads into the falls.
Going a bit deeper into the forest, you can see the Huay Katam River explode from the Bolaven Plateau’s thick jungle. Behold the little-known but spectacular Katamtok Waterfall cascading 100 metres into deep pools, before the river lazily continues.
In Kaleum District, you’ll find the natural Vang Ngai Pool in Ban Proy, Ban Bark’s hot springs, and the Thong Neum Plateau at Ban Dakran. It is recommended you hire a guide to explore these remote natural attractions. Easier to find is the Kaeng Luang Rapids in Kaleum Town’s Ban Nava.
Culture vultures can experience the traditional lifestyles of the Katu, Alak, and Ngae ethnic groups at Ban Khan Don. Hire a guide in Sekong Town or Pakse for the journey to see the Katu’s finely hand-carved coffins and the Talieng weave traditional chequered tha khatil cloth worn by men around their waists. In nearby Dakchung, you can admire thatched longhouses in a community that has stood for centuries, and survived the Indochina War.