From Thailand’s Mae Ya Waterfall to the Detian-Banyue Falls in Vietnam, Kawasan Waterfalls in the Philippines, and Bali’s epic Sekumpul Waterfalls, Southeast Asia is known around the world as a destination for beautiful waterfalls, and Laos is no exception.
Although still very much off the beaten path, the largest and widest waterfall in Laos is known as the Khone Phapheng Falls. Thousands of locals and tourists flock to this area to relax, take photos, and see the power of nature.
After filling out the Laos visa application and getting your travel authorization, be sure to add the Khone Phapheng Falls to your Laos itinerary and use our practical guide for everything you need to know.
Khone Phapheng Falls: Background Information
Most people are surprised when they learn that Laos’ biggest waterfall is actually a combination of two waterfalls. That’s right: there are two distinct falls — one called Khone Falls and the other Pha Pheng Falls — that join together to form the Khone Phapheng Falls.
These falls are known by many superlatives, but the most notable ones are that the Khone Phapheng Falls is the widest waterfall in the world (spanning more than 10,700 meters ride) and the largest in Southeast Asia.
The falls are located at the southern tip of Laos, right on the border with Cambodia, and makeup part of the Mekong River.
Interestingly, the waterfalls’ size, extreme seasonal variations, and fast-flowing waters are the main reasons why the Mekong River is not fully navigable into China.
The highest part of the Khone Phapheng Falls is about 21 meters tall, while the rapids stretch nearly 9.7 kilometers of the Mekong’s length. How impressive is that?
Likewise, the Khone Phapheng Falls is one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world. It has an average flow rate of more than 11,500 cubic meters per second — which is more than double that of the famous Niagara Falls.
The area around the Khone Phapheng Falls is equally fascinating: there are thousands of islands that are sprinkled near the falls. The largest is called Don Khong, which, along with Don Det, and Don Khon, make up the three main tourist islands. Fun fact: Khamtai Siphandon, the former President of Laos, has a private estate on Don Khong.
How to visit Khone Phapheng Falls
Those who want to see the majestic Khone Phapheng Falls for themselves can do so via a quick day trip or an entire week-long getaway.
The region where the falls are located — Champasak Province — provides plenty of things to see and do, including ancient temples, beautiful nature, and relaxing eco-lodges.
Speaking of which: those who are planning to visit the Khone Phapheng Falls will be pleased to know that there are plenty of guesthouses, hotels, and resorts scattered all around the falls. When organizing your trip, be sure to look for accommodations in Khon, Laos, which is the district where the falls are located.
One of the most common things to consider when planning a trip is figuring out the best time to visit. The Khone Phapheng Falls has two seasons. If you want to enjoy pleasant temperatures and clear skies, then a trip during Laos’ dry season, between November to April, is the best choice. However, during the monsoon season, the water is much more impressive and really shows the true power of nature.
The official opening hours of the Khone Phapheng Falls are between 8 am to 6 pm daily, although it’s best to double-check again beforehand, as holidays and events may impact the times.
If possible, it’s recommended to enter the falls at the moment it opens, as you’ll have nearly the entire place to yourself. The crowds typically start to appear around 11 am to noon, so keep this in mind when planning your visit.
One final benefit to visiting early in the day is the chance to catch a rainbow forming in the mist above the waterfalls. Be sure to keep your camera nearby so you can quickly capture this once in a lifetime moment.
It takes about an hour to explore the entire area, although the majority of visitors typically stay for the entire day.
There are plenty of other things to do around the Khone Phapheng Falls, including kayaking, dolphin watching trips, and hiking. Those who are planning to stay longer in the area can explore one of the dozens of inhabited islands nearby.
One thing to definitely not miss is the delicious local delicacies from the Mekong. The area around the waterfalls is known for its fishing villages, and as such, there are plenty of mouth-watering dishes made of local seafood.
The Khone Phapheng Falls is a must-visit for any intrepid traveler who loves nature, beautiful views, or just the chance to explore everything that Laos has to offer.