The southern provinces of Laos occupy a narrow strip of land between the Mekong River and Annamite mountains, and are host to several conservation areas, including Lao’s largest, Nakai-Nam Theun.


Khammouane Limestone Conservation Area, situated between the towns of Thakhek and Mahaxai, is a highly sculptured landscape, often visited for its caves, such as Tham En and Tham Lot Kong Lo, the latter providing for a fascinating 7 kilometre kayak through its underground river tunnel.


Further south, the largest, and relatively modern, city of southern Laos is Pakse, and in common with other major settlements in Laos, sits on the banks of the Mekong, making it a centre for exploration of southern stretches of the river.


Close to the town of Champasak, one-time capital of the former kingdom of the same name, the ruins of Wat Phou, a feature of the Khmer culture of Ancient Cambodia, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Lao’s most visited historical sights, its ruins sitting in a serene forested landscape rich in wildlife.

For the trekker, the Champasak area also hosts many interesting trails and numerous waterfalls, including the beautiful Tad Pha Souam,a nd  the country's highest, the double ribbon of Tad Fane situated on the Bolaven Plateau to the east of the Mekong. For the adventurous Tad Fane also features a dizzying but impressive zipline journey over the falls.


At Lao’s most southerly point, where the Mekong crosses the Cambodian border, the great river flows into a wide series of channels, peppered with islets, known as the area of 4000 islands. The river-islands and their village communities, despite their popularity with visitors, still retain an ambience from their deep rural past, with life continuing much as it has always done.

The largest of these islands, Don Kong is a good place for a cycling trip, whilst the islands around Don Khone are home to rare Irrawaddy river dolphins and the powerful waterfalls of Somphamit and Khone Phapheng