Visiting Khone Phapheng Falls in Laos [A Do-It-Yourself Guide] (2023)

Khone Phapheng falls into itSi Phan Don(4000 Islands) is the largest waterfall in Southeast Asia. Due to its location far from Don Det and Don Khon, it is not as easily accessible compared to other waterfalls. And the information we found on the internet was so limited that we decided to find a way to visit it ourselves. So let's talk about how to visit Khone Phapheng Falls in Si Phan Don.Laosalone today!

When I said that the Khone Phapheng Falls is the largest waterfall in Southeast Asia, don't get me wrong, it's the largest, not the tallest! But if you areBackpacking in Laos, then you should definitely not miss this waterfall, which is one of thebest waterfalls in Laos.

Are you ready to visit Khone Phapheng Falls? Let's do it!

Visiting Khone Phapheng Falls in Laos [A Do-It-Yourself Guide] (1)


  • 1 Brief Introduction to Khone Phapheng Falls
  • 2 How to Visit Khone Phapheng Waterfall?
  • 3 Arrival at the entrance
  • 4 Manikhot Temple
  • 5 Very close to Khone Phapheng Falls
  • 6 Should you also visit?

Brief introduction to the Khone Falls

Also known as Khon Phapheng Falls or Khone Falls. But if you look closely, you might not believe it's the largest waterfall.

Why? Because it doesn't seem that "big" at all, does it? Let me help you clear that up.

However, the highest drop in Khone Phapheng Falls is only 21 meters highWhat makes it the largest is the succession of rapids that span 6 miles (9.7 km) of the river's length.

This is also the main reason why the Mekong is not fully navigable to China due to the rocky landscape.

In the late 19th century, the French colonialists attempted to navigate the falls but repeatedly failed until they gave up and instead built a railway at Don Khon (Don Khone) and Don Det. Also known asNarrow gauge railway Don Det-Don Khon.

The two main islands of 4000 Islands are Don Det and Don Khon, and the falls are not close to them. Don Khong is also inhabited, but there is almost no tourist activity there.

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Now let's talk about how to visit it yourself.

Visiting Khone Phapheng Falls in Laos [A Do-It-Yourself Guide] (2)

How to Visit Khone Phapheng Waterfall?

First of all I am aware that there is a tour organized by Mr. Phao who is the owner and operatorMr. Phaos Riverview Bungalows. I didn't do this tour because I want to do it myself instead of joining tours.

If you too prefer to do things yourself, read on.

The first thing you have to do is head to Nakasong in Champasak province. And the only ferry station in Don Det and Don Khon is at the northern tip of Don Det.

That means if you stay in Don Khon you have to walk 40 minutes to the train station or just rent a bike.

The one-way ferry ticket costs 15,000 kip per person and takes around 10-15 minutes.

There are only two departures per day, at 8am and 11amSo you might want to catch the earlier one.

I got there at 9am but with a little help from a Lao speaking Korean backpacker the operator drove us across the river in a smaller boat.

What's next?

Once in Nakasong, walk a little to the main street where some tuk-tuks are waiting for customers.

TheThe average fare to Khone Pha Pheng Falls is around 80,000 kip for a round trip. The driver will wait for you at the entrance until you finish your visit.

The tuk-tuk ride takes about 20-30 minutes on the super-dusty highway.

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Summary: Don Khon > Don Det by foot or bike > Don Khon by ferry > Khon Phapheng Falls by tuk-tuk

Check out these17 fun things to do in Vang Vieng, Laos!

Visiting Khone Phapheng Falls in Laos [A Do-It-Yourself Guide] (3)

Arrival at the entrance

Surprisingly, the Khone Phapheng Falls is a very popular attraction for foreigners, especially locals, Thais and Vietnamese.

You won't find large Korean and Chinese tourist groups here. It's not a very popular destination for them yet.

The facilities are very well kept, the whole area was clean and tidy and there are free buggy cars to take you around.

All information boards and signs are in English so you won't have any trouble finding your way around.

Pay theEntrance fee of 55,000 kip per personat the counter and you will receive a sticker for admission.

Yes, it's probably the most expensive attraction in Laos.

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Visiting Khone Phapheng Falls in Laos [A Do-It-Yourself Guide] (4)

Manikhot Temple

As soon as you enter, you will pass the Manikhoth Temple before seeing the falls.

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Manikhoth or Manikhot is a historical and sacred tree that has stood in Khone Phapheng Falls for more than 2,000 years until it died out on March 19, 2012. The reason was unknown.

The Laotians believed that the tree can give life and death. It is believed that the core of Manikhoth can cause things to die and the top of the tree can bring dead things back to life.

On all Buddha days from October to March, a flock of white herons fly three circles around the Manikhoth tree before landing on the nearby branches and trees. They say the herons show respect.

After his death in 2012, the Manikhoth could not be lifted out of the water due to the strong flow of water at Khone Phapheng Falls.

It was not until January 13, 2013 that Manikhoth was successfully recovered and placed in the Khone Phapheng Waterfall Museum.

Every January, the Laotians come and pay respect by donating white flowers and prayers at the Manikhoth festival.

Visiting Khone Phapheng Falls in Laos [A Do-It-Yourself Guide] (5)

Visiting Khone Phapheng Falls in Laos [A Do-It-Yourself Guide] (6)

Very close to the Khone Phapheng Falls

After the temple, you will arrive at a riverside viewing platform with great views over the waterfall.

The viewing platforms are very well maintained, with a range of facilities such as swings, tables and benches.

There is a plaque showing you the location of the Manikhoth tree before it died, making you wonder how such a huge tree could have survived there for thousands of years.

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Visiting Khone Phapheng Falls in Laos [A Do-It-Yourself Guide] (7)

The viewing platforms are huge, so don't worry about not getting a good view of the waterfall.

Restaurants are also plentiful in the area, although it can be a little pricey for some people. The dishes are also the same in all restaurants there and mostly serve fish from the Mekong.

(The ice cream is insanely expensive!!)

We spent a little over an hour there, just relaxing under the shade on the benches. The tourists come in around 11am so we decided to head to the next destination.

TheThe best time to visit Khone Phapheng Falls would be in the morningwhen it's calmer and quieter.

Visiting Khone Phapheng Falls in Laos [A Do-It-Yourself Guide] (8)

Visiting Khone Phapheng Falls in Laos [A Do-It-Yourself Guide] (9)

Should you also visit?

I would say this waterfall is only worth a visit if you are not "pocket sensitive". Here is the overview of how much I spent for the visit.

  • 55,000 kip (entrance fee)
  • 40,000 kip (Round trip from Nakasong to Khone Phapheng Falls, I shared with a friend so half of 80,000 kip)
  • 30,000 kip (return from Don Det to Nakasong in Champasak Province)

The total was 125,000 kip per person. I never spend that much money to visit ONE attraction in Laos but I think it's worth it.

Visiting Khone Phapheng Falls in Laos [A Do-It-Yourself Guide] (10)


So what do you think of the Khone Phapheng Falls? Would you visit it despite the high cost? Let me know in the comments below. And if this article helps your visit, please help me share it with those who need it! Thanks for reading and happy traveling in Laos! Check out these10 things to do in Luang Prabangwhen you visit soon!

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