The Khone Phapheng Falls, Laos

Khone Phapheng Falls, Khone Falls, Khonepapeng – whatever the spelling you’ve probably never heard of it yet it’s one of the largest waterfalls on the planet.  It’s certainly not the highest though unlike some of the huge rapids on the Congo or Amazon there is a discernible drop of some 20 metres but in terms of sheer volume of water these waterfalls on the Cambodia, Laos border are, in the rainy season at least, the world’s largest. In full flow 2 million gallons per second pour over these falls – nearly twice as much as Niagara!

This is just a part of it
This is just a part of it

Situated on the Mekong River just a short distance upstream from the Cambodia border, the waterfalls are split into a series of channels and falls by the numerous islands that break up the 10 km span of the river,  (this also makes it the widest falls in the world), and indeed this is the area famously known as the ‘4,000 Islands’ or Si Phan Don in Lao.

Rainy season
Rainy season

A truly spectacular sight but one that relatively few foreign visitors ever see. Yes it is somewhat remote – especially from the country’s traditional tourist hotspots of Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng – but for anyone travelling overland between Laos and Cambodia a visit fits in perfectly. Furthermore the calm waters at the foot of the falls is home to one of the region’s few remaining pods of Irrawaddy dolphins – another great reason for a visit.

The chocolate coloured rainy season waters are due to the high silt content
The chocolate coloured rainy season waters are due to the high silt content

A visit to the spectacular falls is included in our aptly named Mekong Adventure tour – overland from Vientiane to Phnom Penh.

Cheers!

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