Located between Champasak and the Cambodian border, Si Phan Don, or Four Thousand Islands, is an inland archipelago comprising thousands of islands, islets, and sand bars. The entire area covers a distance of some 30 miles (50 km) along the Mekong River from the northern tip of the largest island, Don Khong, to the massive Khon Phapeng Waterfalls in the south. These islands are inhabited by villagers who continue to lead a self-sufficient lifestyle, fishing and growing their own rice and other crops. However, the area’s isolation from the outside world has changed, with tourism bringing in more visitors and three of the main islands already on the electricity grid. A few of the islands have accommodation facilities and better roads have improved connectivity to Pakse.
Lush green fields and hills dot the landscape of Don Khong. The best way to explore the island is on a bicycle or motorcycle since the roads are in good condition. This island has several good hotels centered around Muang Khong.
Khon Phapeng Waterfalls
These thunderous waterfalls, the largest on the Mekong and counted among the biggest in Southeast Asia, make up in volume what they lack in height, particularly in the rainy season. The falls are a popular tourist spot, with hundreds of visitors arriving regularly.
Built by the French in the early 20th century, this 7-mile (12-km) long railway helped cargo ships circumvent the two mighty waterfalls blocking their passage upstream on the Mekong River. Remnants of this project can still be seen today.