Laos

Central provinces

The central provinces of Laos, sandwiched between the Mekong (and Thailand) to the west and the Annamite Mountains (and Vietnam) to the east, are the least visited in the country which is a shame as the scenery here is stunning, with dramatic limestone karsts, enormous caves, beautiful rivers and forests. In particular, the upland areas to the east, off Route 8 and Route 12, in Khammouane and Bolikhamxai Province, are a veritable treasure trove of attractions, mottled with scores of caves, lagoons, rivers and rock formations. Visitors will require some determination in these parts, as the infrastructure is still being developed but a lot of new roads are planned to coincide with the near-finished Nam Theun II Dam. The Mekong towns of Thakhek and Savannakhet are elegant and relaxed and are the main transport hubs in the region. If you are short on time, Thakhek is the best stopover point for the central provinces and Pakse is the optimum place to base yourself to explore the southern provinces.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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