A report from Andy Jarosz from BBC Travel about his day trekking to the remote 100 waterfalls in Nong Khiaw 10 years ago (in 2012). The experience that you cannot miss when visiting the area. Check out the details as below so that you have some ideas of what to expect.

In the last four years, the rural village of Nong Khiaw has seen a steady stream of adventure travellers who want to experience the 10km trek before it disappears.

Strictly speaking, the name of the 100 Waterfalls Trek in northern Laos is misleading, since it is impossible to say how many waterfalls tumble through the thick jungle along the steady 10km ascent, with each one tumbling immediately into the next.

Where is 100 waterfall and how to get there?

The trail, which starts near the small town of Nong Khiaw not far from the tourism hub of Luang Prabang, was really only discovered by tourists in 2009, though it has been used by locals for years as a direct route between the scattered settlements of the Nam Ou valley. But in just four short years, the slow trickle of backpackers has turned into a steady stream of adventure travellers eager to experience the spectacular trail for themselves.

Getting to Nong Khiaw from Luang Prabang is an adventure on its own, with most people travelling three hours by songthaew (a pick-up truck converted to a passenger vehicle by adding a couple of benches along its side, allowing some 25 people to squeeze into its small frame). Stepping onto the main street of Nong Khiaw from the vehicle, it takes a while to shake off the bruised and slightly numb feeling that comes from riding along the heavily potholed roads of rural Laos.

The 100 Waterfalls Trek can only be tackled as a one-day tour from Nong Khiaw by Sonasia Holiday, a local travel agency in Laos. A small portion of the tour cost goes toward helping local villages provide for their basic maintenance needs and infrastructure.

A day of fun trekking

Starting from Nong Khiaw in the early morning, our guide Dhit sat quietly as we drifted around 10km downstream along the calm Nam Ou River in a narrow long-tail boat. Ladies who were busy washing their clothes in the murky water stopped to wave as we passed, while fishermen smoked silently in their boats -- a scene that would probably have looked the same 100 years ago. After an hour, we came to rest and we climbed up the riverbank to the tiny stilted-house settlement of Don Khoun, where we were joined by an additional village guide, provided as part of Tiger Trails’ initiative to involve locals in the tourism activities.

The Lao government has plans to build a series of dams along the Nam Ou River, which would have a profound impact on the area. While the timing of the construction is not yet known, such a scheme would almost certainly lead to the forced resettlement of the Lao-Khmu community of Don Khoun, just as the residents have begun benefitting from tourism through their village. As for the waterfalls themselves, no-one yet knows how the damming plans for the Nam Ou might affect this natural wonder – so if you want to see it, now is the time to go.

On the following 45-minute hike through flat jungle terrain and along the edges of rice fields, the occasional screams from behind indicated that yet another blood-sucking leech was drinking from one of the eight trekkers in our group. Even so, as we began to hear the sound of gently tinkling water, Dhit invited us to remove our walking boots and change into our sandals: it was time to get wet.

We began our slow ascent through the shallows of the first group of waterfalls, the cool water reaching up to our ankles and providing welcome relief against the heat of the morning sun. For much of the way it was a gentle wade through shallow water, the wet rocks providing a surprisingly firm grip for both sandals and bare feet. Occasionally we used our hands to pull ourselves up large sets of smooth rocks, and as we climbed, the jungle grew denser and the waterfall became steeper. Soon the only sound was the water tumbling down to meet us, drowning out the voices of the other trekkers.  At several points, the rocks were too high or the climb too steep, and fragile bamboo ladders or ropes had been placed to make the ascent a little easier.

After 90 minutes of climbing up the increasingly powerful waterfalls, we reached the top of the trail. Ahead was a 20m high waterfall well beyond our climbing ability; below us the thick jungle canopy out of which we had just climbed. As we enjoyed the mist that sprayed off the thundering falls, our guide got to work cutting down banana leaves, laying them out as tablecloths and unpacking a splendid meal of cooked aubergine, fresh salad and omelettes.

Walking back to the village after lunch, the route followed a dry and pleasant jungle trail away from the waterfall. The path initially skirted the top of the canopy, offering extensive views of the Nam Ou valley below, before once again dropping into the shade of the jungle, providing welcome relief from the intense midday heat. For a little over an hour we followed the trail as it wound through the trees, crossing the occasional stream before arriving back in Don Khoun where our boat was waiting for the return journey to Nong Khiaw.

The 100 Waterfall Trek is not physically demanding, although the heat and humidity do add to the challenge. But the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of this little-known part of rural Laos should not be missed – especially as its long-term future is far from certain.

Book the experience?

Bookings for the 100 Waterfalls Trail can be made at the Sonasia Holiday office in Luang Prabang, and the price per person depends on how many trekkers are going.

Since the 100 Waterfall Trek starts in the morning, many visitors stay overnight in Nong Khiaw and walk to the Pathok caves, 3km out of town along the main road to the east. It was here that local villages were forced to find shelter during the Vietnam War, as American planes bombed the region heavily in an attempt to destroy communist sympathisers. An unstable ladder still leads to a cramped cave that served as the Bank of Luang Prabang between 1968 and 1974. Visitors are warned to stick to marked paths at all times as unexploded bombs are frequently discovered across much of northern Laos, often with tragic consequences.

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Hello, my name’s Jordan and I’m obsessed with travelling overland. Seeing how cultures change while travelling slowly captivates me; and doing so in an eco-friendly way, preserving the cultures and landscapes that so many travellers yearn to explore, has given me my travelling purpose.


Taking a cruise on the fascinating Mekong River offers a unique and memorable travel experience. The Mekong River, one of the longest rivers in Asia, flows through several countries, including China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Each destination along the river offers its own distinct cultural, historical, and natural attractions. In this article, we will go over what you can expect when cruising the Mekong River. 


Despite being open to tourism for the past two decades, Laos remains a destination brimming with hidden treasures and unexplored gems, awaiting the arrival of curious adventurers.

Among these remarkable places is the Xe Champhone Loop, an enchanting location that captures the essence of Laos.

In early September 2022, we had the privilege of embarking on an Educational Tour organized by the esteemed Tetraktys Organization. Our objective was to delve into the wonders of this loop and promote its allure to international tourists.

During our expedition, we were awe-struck by the captivating sights and valuable insights we gained. The area boasts an abundance of captivating natural landscapes, rich traditional culture, and warm-hearted hosts.

We have compiled comprehensive information about this captivating region below.

Stay connected to discover more about this hidden gem!


Bucolic Wat Phou (Wat Phu, Vat Phou, Vat Phu) sits in graceful decrepitude, and while it lacks the arresting enormity of Angkor in Cambodia, given its few visitors and more dramatic natural setting, these small Khmer ruins evoke a more soulful response. While some buildings are more than 1000 years old, most date from the 11th to 13th centuries. The site is divided into six terraces on three levels joined by a frangipani-bordered stairway ascending the mountain to the main shrine at the top.

Visit in the early morning for cooler temperatures (it gets really hot during the day, and on the lower levels there isn't any shade) and to capture the ruins in the best light. Make sure to grab a map at the entrance as there is little to no signage here.


Svelte and golden Pha That Luang, located about 4km northeast of the city centre, is the most important national monument in Laos – a symbol of Buddhist religion and Lao sovereignty. Legend has it that Ashokan missionaries from India erected a tâht (stupa) here to enclose a piece of Buddha's breastbone as early as the 3rd century BC.

A high-walled cloister with tiny windows surrounds the 45m-high stupa. The cloister measures 85m on each side and contains various Buddha images, including a serene statue of Jayavarman VII, the great Angkor-era king who converted the state religion of the Khmer empire to Buddhism.


The phrase ‘banana pancakes trail’ is the stuff of legend in Southeast Asia’s backpacker route. Along the banks of the Mekong, across many a dorm room and questionable dive bar, backpackers come to learn the story of the first tourists to travel ‘on the ground’, making a conscious effort to immerse themselves in local life. Decades later, their influence is having transformed the region: tourism here is now the fastest growing on Earth, receiving a quarter of total travelers worldwide. 

When you travel through Southeast Asia these days, it is hard to imagine that tourism was almost non-existent just a half century ago. Here is the story of how hippies, guidebooks and banana pancakes helped to create one of the most famous backpacker routes in the world.


Preah Vihear Temple (Prasat Preah Vihear) is an ancient Hindu temple built during the period of the Khmer Empire, that is situated atop a 525-metre (1,722 ft) cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains, in the Preah Vihear province, Cambodia. In 1962, following a lengthy dispute between Cambodia and Thailand over ownership, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled that the temple is in Cambodia.

Affording a view for many kilometers across a plain, Prasat Preah Vihear has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-century-long Khmer Empire. As a key edifice of the empire's spiritual life, it was supported and modified by successive kings and so bears elements of several architectural styles.

Preah Vihear is unusual among Khmer temples in being constructed along a long north–south axis, rather than having the conventional rectangular plan with orientation toward the east. The temple gives its name to Cambodia's Preah Vihear province, in which it is now located, as well as the Khao Phra Wihan National Park which borders it in Thailand's Sisaket province, though it is no longer accessible from Thailand.

On July 7, 2008, Preah Vihear was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


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places to visit in Laos
Luang Prabang
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The ancient capital of Lane Xang Kingdom

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The ancient capital of Lane Xang Kingdom

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The combination of fun and educational activities

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Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

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Unique experience combined with top-notch services

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Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

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Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

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The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

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Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

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Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

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A land of staggering natural beauty and cultural complexities, of dynamic megacities and hill-tribe villages, Vietnam is both exotic and compelling.
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Friendly and food-obsessed, hedonistic and historic, cultured and curious, Thailand tempts visitors with a smile as golden as the country's glittering temples and tropical beaches.
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There's a magic about this charming yet confounding kingdom that casts a spell on visitors. In Cambodia, ancient and modern worlds collide to create an authentic adventure.
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