Located in the Si Phan Don or 4,000 Islands Region of Southern Laos, the Khone Phapheng Falls are reputedly the widest waterfalls in the world.
About Khone Phapheng Falls
The Khone Phapheng Falls are situated on the Mekong River close to the popular tourist islands of Don Det and Don Khone, although to travel there from either island you need to take a circuitous route involving a ferry ride from the Northern tip of Don Det to Nakasong on the mainland, and then a tuk-tuk 20 minutes south to the entrance to the visitor centre.
Entry to the Khone Phapheng Falls visitor centre costs 55,000 Lao Kip, but the fee is well worth it. The visitor centre is well maintained and well thought out. As well as the falls themselves, the visitor centre houses the remains of the famous Manikhoth tree, which is mentioned in the Sanskrit epic the Ramayana.
The tree had been located on this part of the falls for, it is believed, several thousand years before finally toppling into the water in 2012, and thereafter retrieved in 2013 and placed on display. For the faithful the Manikhoth tree is an extremely significant entity and a major draw for South East Asian visitors.
Size of the Falls
The Khone Phapheng Falls themselves are not particularly high, the total drop being round 70 metres and the longest single drop being 21 metres, but they stretch over 10 kilometres during which distance the water flows at an astonishing rate.
Barrier to Travel by Boat
For the various different groups that have tried to expand trade in the Mekong river area, including the French colonialists, the Khone Phapheng Falls have proved to be an impenetrable barrier to navigating the entire length of the river from the coast in Southern Vietnam up to China, and vice versa. The solution adopted by the French was to build a railway line across Don Det and Don Khone to transport goods between boats on either side of the falls. The visitor centre has a number of observation decks from where you can a sense of how large these falls are.
You can also enjoy the great scenery and hopefully catch sight of the incredibly diverse bird life in the area, and perhaps the massive Mekong catfish. The largest fresh water fish in the world are believed to live in the waters around these falls.
Location of the Khone Phapheng Falls
Khone Phapheng Falls is located 11.5 km by road from Nakasong.