Salavan is a southern province of Laos which is best known for the harmonious ethnic culture mixture. It offers the authentic Laos ethnic world for the visitors to gain real experiences. Instead of looking at the others’ photos about Laos or reading their actual stories there, why not begin your trip? A good place to get started is Salavan.
About Salavan in Laos
Salavan (also called Saravane) is an attractive province in the south of Laos. The destination is not only famous for intact nature but also for the diverse ethnic culture. Geographically, it’s encompassed by Savannakhet Province to the north, Sekong Province to the southeast, and Champasak Province to the south. About the international borders, Salavan has its border with Vietnam and Thailand to the east and the west respectively. Its capital city is Salavan which is situated on Sedone Riverbank. Know that the center of the province is situated on Bolaven Plateau which becomes recognizable for Arabica coffee, picturesque landscape, and unbeatable greenness. On the west, the powerful Mekong River delimits this province. Agriculture seems to be the major economy of the area while ecotourism is on the growth. Noticeably, the Mon-Khmer speaking ethnic groups, Katang and Ta-Oy ethnic groups hold the major roles to make this region exceptional.
What to See in Salavan
Phou Xieng Thong National Biodiversity Conservation Area
With an area of approximately 1,000 square kilometers in the west of Salavan, next to Mekong River, this Conservation Area offers the green and wild environment for the travelers to stay friendly to nature, indeed. People can expect to see lots of species in the wild site such as the Asiatic black bear, clouded leopard, elephant, Siamese crocodile, and more. On par with any other significant protected area in the world, Phou Xieng Thong preserves the abundant flora and fauna to be cherished. There exist some mysterious caves for you to explore and experience.
Tad Lo Waterfall
This is one of the most impressive natural landmarks of the province. Tad Lo is the massive, multi-tiered waterfall which has the surroundings of the lush forest, and the standard resorts/guesthouses. The enjoyable activities in this beautiful setting include biking, walking in nature, elephant riding around the area, trekking, or venturing out to the nearby ethnic villages on the fascinating Bolaven Plateau. The landscape here is awesome, as the waterfall is set in the middle of the coffee and vegetable fields. You’re free to roam around the Bolaven Plateau, discover its original charm, and relax at the bewitching Tad Lo. It’s an entirely relaxing moment. It often takes 30 minutes for a bus from Salavan town to Tad Lo.
If you travel east of the provincial capital Salavan and reach the Ta-Oy District, then expect to step into the isolated world of the Mon-Khmer speaking ethnic groups. This region has the highlights of the traditional long houses, the picturesque La Lao Waterfall, and the exciting bird watching. There appear some remote ethnic villages for you to stop by, interact, take pictures, and experience. Especially, some travelers might be keen on the historical Ho Chi Minh Trail network which is now used to connect among the remote inhabited sites. If wanted, ask for the signs of the trail and set foot in it for the actual experience.
The bridge was erected in 1942 over the Sedone River, and its designer was Mr. Souphanouvong who later became the first President of Lao PDR in the year of 1975. However, due to the terrible American bombing in 1968, the bridge was destroyed. Now, it’s possible to see big broken site lying on the riverbank. If you just feel interested, come to see this historical remnant. The ruin is around 25km from Salavan town.
Tad Tevada Waterfall
Around 30km from Salavan Town, the beautiful Tad Tevada Waterfall calls for the travelers’ interest in the gorgeous and relaxing settings. There are dozens of activities to try out in this nice venue. While some love to have a picnic with family or friends there, the others come to photograph the enchanting pictures of nature and rest in the fresh environment. Since the waterfall is bordered by forest and mountains, it becomes truly intact and cool enough to boost your mood. You deserve the nature-friendly trip for working so hard in the city. Being in nature is what many racing minds choose to get themselves calm down.
Around 14km from the provincial capital, the mysterious Nongbua Lake attracts somebody that is fond of the stories of ghost, particularly the crocodile’s ghost. The lake and Nongbua Village themselves are noticeable for the local folktales about the three imaginary crocodiles which are said to live in the lake but remain unseen. By the way, such story sounds interesting enough to call for the thrill-seekers who are ready to move far to see and experience. Some local elders are willing to you their stories and beliefs about the Nongbua Lake and their attached mystic crocodiles. You can decide to explore it on foot or by bicycle.
How to Get to Salavan
Traveling by road seems to be the most frequently used method to get to Salavan. The convenient services of bus/coach facilitate the travel at any time of the year. For example, if you get started from Vientiane, then take it easy to pick up one of the two bus kinds: public bus and VIP bus. The vehicle should depart from the Southern Bus Terminal in Vientiane every day, and you can expect for the 11-12-hour bus drive to Salavan (the distance is around 897km). But if you begin at Pakse, it is the shorter journey; only take 2-3 hours for a bus to drive from Pakse to Salavan (around 144km). Otherwise, it’s up to you to rent a motorbike or car or take a taxi to get there.
When to Visit Salavan in Laos
Salavan is home to the captivating mountain scenery, waterfall, and a wide array of the ethnic groups. The destination is accessible and ideal for tourism all year round. But with the shared monsoon climate of Laos, Salavan also experiences the two major seasons, and it is up to you to finalize the schedule to go on your Laos tours.
- May – October: This period brings some rain to Salavan, helping to make the forest and waterfall lush, spectacular, and green. Provided that you come prepared with the necessary tools to protect yourself from the rain, it’s no problem to get there from May to October. It’s worth pointing out nature in Salavan in these months can present their best charm.
- November – April: These months shower the province with the dry atmosphere. While it is quite hot during daytime, it turns to be cold at night. Hence, there is a need to find a good accommodation where serves you the warm blankets. According to the intrepid tourists, they believe November-April is the ideal period to see Salavan, without rain. More interestingly, around April 14th, the Lao New Year or Pi Mai Festival is taken place throughout Salavan for a week. If you arrive there in April, the journey becomes highly memorable. What’s more, the timeframe from late January to early February witnesses celebrations of some local annual festivals for the Katang and Ta-Oy ethnic group.