The Southern Provinces
The Southern Green Paradise
Attapeu, Champasack, Salavanh, Sekong
People & Places
Historical temples and sacred stupas stand proudly in many of the region’s town centers, at legacies of former empires. The remains of possibly the first urban settlement in Southeast Asia dating back to the 7th century can be found at the base of the Vat Phou Temple Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of interest to war historians is the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which spans the country’s eastern border with Vietnam from Khammouane down to Attapeu. Along the Mekong River are fishing communities known for their relaxed pace of life and distinct cuisine, such as fermented fish (paadek) and fish salad (lab paa). In the eastern plateaus are mountain communities of Mon-Khmer origin, best known for their intricate cotton textiles and communal long houses. The major festival of the south is the Vat Phou Festival in Champasack Province.
Geography & Nature
The geography and nature of the south is extremely diverse. There are the Bolaven Plateau, well known for its coffee plantations, cascading waterfalls and cool climate. The Dakcheung Plateau and Annamite Mountains where new mammal species are being discovered each year. Also there are 4,000 Mekong River Islands with expansive wetlands, world class rapids and riverside beaches. Six of the country’s twenty national protected areas (NPA) are in this region, which hold some of the most biologically important areas in the world. Most notably is the XePian NPA with its rich wetland environment and river system inhabited by some of rare migratory and endemic bird species.