Attapeu located in south-east Laos is a province separated from Vietnam by the Annamite Mountain Range. It has a capital of the same name and has a population of little more than 100,000. A large proportion of the Province lies within the Dong Ampham National Biodiversity Conservation Area and there are two large forested areas. During the war for independence from the French is was the home of the National Liberation Front resulting in widespread destruction and evidence is still to be seen today decades later.
Agriculture, fishing, rice timber and rubber help sustain the economy of a province with several tribes, the largest being the Lao Loum. One of the pleasures of a visit to this Province is to meet its tribal people and learn more about their daily lives.
Our Laos travel guide certainly recommends this remote province.
How to get there
There are two major roads in the Province and three main towns are all located on these two road; Attapeu, Xaysetha, and Sanamxai. There are bus services available for travellers while those on organised Laos travel packageshave all arrangements made for them.
Those on Indochina tour packages may well come overland from Vietnam. Others arriving directly from abroad will fly into Vientiane before taking to the roads to explore the country in detail.
Best time to visit
It is a scenic province of rock and valley, rivers and forests when travel is difficult in the monsoon season. As a result the period between May and October is decidedly low season. Once the rains stop temperatures drop a little then begin to rise in March and April before the arrival of the rains once again. A holiday in Laos is certainly more practical in the drier weather.
Things to see and do
Laos tour packages concentrate on the wonderful natural environment. Independent travellers may well decide to rent a motor bike to get around though hiking is a wonderful experience after parking up.
The province has several waterfalls including Tad Saephe in Xepaine Forest, the largest at almost 25 metres high and over 100 metres long. Others are Tad Phok and Tad Phaphong.
Dong Ampham National Biodiversity Conservation Areacontains the None Fa Lake and two rivers, Xe Kaman and Xe Xou. Both clouded leopard and tiger have been seen in this remote region.
The Attapeu Plain is important for its birdlife with Fish Eagle and two species of vulture. There are some manmade attractions:
• The Wat Sakae Temple which attracts plenty of visitors on the Laos New Year.
• An old Pagoda and Xaysetha Stupa in Xaysetha dates back to the 16th Century.
• The temple of Wat Luang Muang Mai is far more modern 1939
• King Setthathirat of the Lan Xang is buried at Wat Pha Saysettha in Pha Meuang
There is not a great deal of accommodation alternatives in the Province. The best alternatives are probably the guesthouses in the Capital. Those on organised tours will have their accommodation arranged within the tour.