Covering more than 40% of the Mekong 's catchment area, Laos has many excellent rivers that traverse dense jungle, deep gorges and sometimes flow through extensive cave systems. Lao rivers can be either wild and challenging or mellow and mild depending on the season. They also vary considerably in their depths, some navigable all year round, and others revealing riverbed rocks when flows are slow and water levels low.
Generally, between October - March. Only a few rivers are runnable in the dry season between April - June. When the monsoon rains fall between July - October, normally tame rivers begin to rage and paddlers with rudimentary kayaking skills are advised not to venture on to them. Whitewater kayakers, however, will find plenty of challenges. The beauty of the Lao rivers is that they are long and allow for multi-day journeys, unlike the rivers in neighboring countries. And the rivers run where roads don't, so one passes through relatively undisturbed rain forest and encounters few signs of development, with chances to see birds and wildlife.
Laos high annual rainfall, mountainous terrain and extensive river system create some of the most impressive waterfalls in the world. In fact, the largest waterfall by volume in Southeast Asia, Khone Phapheng, is located in Laos. Laotian people often use waterfalls (called Tad in Lao Language) for weekend getaways, picnics and family get-togethers. Thus, many waterfalls have relaxing rest stops, accommodation and locally guided tours.
National Protected Area
The 20 National Protected Areas cover nearly 14% of the country With large tracts of tropical monsoon forest, diverse wildlife populations and bizarre karst limestone formations riddled with caves, NPAs have an abundance of extraordinary things to see. Although most NPAs are remote and difficult to reach, there are many ecotourism activities such as trekking, rafting, bird watching and camping that allow you to experience country's magnificent natural and cultural diversity.
From Vientiane, the most accessible NPAs is Phou Khao Khouay, where you can trek, visit spectacular waterfalls and spend the night in an elephant observation tower on the edge of the park. In the provinces, visit Nam Ha in Luang Namtha for trekking, watch birds at the Pha Phao wetland in Champasack's Xe Pian NPA, trek Dong Phou Vieng in Savannakhet for a chance to see the beautiful. You can do caving in a number of NPAs too.
Flora & Fauna
Laos has one of the most pristine natural landscapes in Southeast Asia. An estimated half of its woodlands consist of primary forest, in particular the tropical rain forest. Unlike the vegetation that grows in the climate of Europe and the United States, tropical rain forest is composed of three vegetative layers... [View Details]
With over 700 species recorded to date and new species being added to the country list almost monthly, Laos is one of the most exciting and least known birding locations in the world. In recent years as the country has embraced eco-tourism the opportunities are expanding rapidly for visitors to see a variety of beautiful and rare... [View Details]