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 and March. Only a few rivers are runnable in the dry season between April and June. When the monsoon rains fall between July and 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 whereroads don’t, so one passes through relatively undisturbed rainforest and encounters few signs of development, with chances to see birds and wildlife.
Read below for information on select rivers throughout the country