Trekking in Salavan
Tad Soung Trek
Start this 1-day trek with a walk up the Xe Set River. The fairly rugged, 10-km trail weaves through forest and fields, with stops at ethnic villages. At Saneum Nai, a short but steep climb leads to a set of natural stairs descending to Tad Soung Waterfall plunging 90 metres of a ledge. The valley panorama and mountains beyond enhances the journey. Nearby the falls, inspect the ancient stone caskets (Long Sop Saen Kham) in a cave on Phou Saen Kham Mountain.
While there, stop at Ban Saneum Nai, an ethnic Suay Village with a community house on stilts, and observe an old weaving method using laptop looms. Some villagers at Ban Saneum Nai and nearby Katu communities are also seasoned musicians, who occasionally gather to play old folk songs on traditional instruments. Ask the village elders if a brief performance is possible. Descend back down the Xe Set to Ban Houay Lanong (Katu).
4 Waterfalls Trek
Embark on this 2-day trek at Ban Sannone at the edge of the Bolaven escarpment in Laongarm District. Here, you can inspect their crops including rice, sweet potato, sugar cane, bananas and coffee. Continue to Tad Maihia (Bamboo Waterfall), Tad Hai (Fig Tree Waterfall) and a jungle trail to Tad Malai (Striped Dog Waterfall). The path then goes to Tad Poun dropping off an overhang.
Pull into Ban Khannouane (Suay), home of the crossbow archers, in the early afternoon, and a lodge for your accommodation. That afternoon and again the next morning, explore Phou Tak Khao Mountain’s many attractions from the village. Climb a rocky outcrop for a view of the Salavan Plains and as far as Ta Oy near Vietnam. Close by, examine a small forest temple, sacred pool, and two ancient stone Buddhas.
Some 200-metres away, inspect a bomb crater at the giant rock it blew up into a tree. Further along, explore the 9-Hole Cave complex. Continue to Destiny Tree (ton mai sorksata) with a Buddha image formed by its roots. If you can throw the stone at the trunk, and hit the image, villagers believe that your wish will come true. The trail then leads to a plateau at Ban Thongkharm and Tiger Cave, before returning to Ban Sannone.
Ta Oy Trek
Dive deep into the Xe Xap National Protected Area at Ta Oy in the province’s mountainous east, and meet the rarely seen Ta Oy minority on a 4-day excursion. Your journey into the unknown begins 2 hours from Salavan Town to Katang longhouses at Ta Oy Town, which appears frozen in the past. Trek to Ban Kung (Ta Oy), where you’ll interact with villagers and partake in weaving and cooking before an overnight stay.
Then, it’s up into Phou Ong Mountain and views of the landscape and valley before returning to Ban Kung. The next day, take an easy but adventurous trek to Tad Chouy Waterfall hidden in the jungle. You may hear wildlife during your picnic lunch. Follow the Chouy stream as the guide picks forest products for the night’s dinner.
Book treks at the Tad Lo Visitor Information Centre led by the Tad Lo Guides Association and tour operators in Pakse.