Bolikhamxay Province in the middle of Laos actually has borders with international neighbours, Vietnam to the east and Thailand to the west. Its capital is Paksan and within the Province there is the country’s largest Dam, Nam Theun 2 which is a major source of electricity. The Annamite Mountain Range go east to Vietnam while the iconic Mekong River flows through in the west.
The Nakai–Nam Theun National Biodiversity Conservation Area within Bolikhamxay and the neighbouring Khammouane Province is one of the largest protected area in the Country. Its highest peak is at 1,500 metres while a tributary of the Mekong, Nam Kading, is the main river. Our Laos travel guide intends to provide more information on the provinces and those to include in Laos travel packages.
Indochina tour packages visiting more than a single country will reveal differences and similarities between countries.
How to get there
Laos’ transport system is not particularly well developed, especially in comparison to its easterly neighbour Vietnam. Roads are poor in the monsoon season and not especially good at other times though people on holiday in Laos are usually aware before they travel.
Vientiane is often the city of entry into Laos though there are land crossings from Vietnam and Thailand. Those on organised tours in Laos will have everything arranged for them. Independent travellers can catch buses throughout the Country.
Wat Phabath (Phabath Temple) in Bolikhamxay Province, Laos
Best time to visit Borikhamxay
The monsoon season is between May and October but there are annual variations in the amount that falls. There are highs well above 30C but lows can drop almost to freezing in the higher areas.Laos welcomes visitors every month of the year and the ultimate choice on a visit to Laos may depend on where else is included in the itinerary.
Things to see and do Borikhamxay
Those on Laos tour packages coming into Bolikhamxay do so largely to enjoy what nature has to offer:
• In terms of scenery there is the karst limestone mountains and three waterfalls; the Tad Leuk, Tad Xay and Tad Xang.
• The mixed semi-tropical forests, one of the largest such areas in Indochina, has wonderful fauna including the extremely rare tiger, black and sun bear, gaur, clouded leopard, gibbon and Asian elephant in the Khao Khouay National Park.
• The wetlands of Nam Kading host plenty of migratory birds as well as plenty of residents such as bulbuls and hornbills.
There are some landmarks, notably Wat Phabath and Wat Phonsanh temples.
As with everywhere else in Laos there are a number of festivals throughout the year:
• Watermelon Festival in Bolikhan
• Phabath Stupa Festival in Thaphabath
• Wat Dan Festivalat Dan Soung Temple in Pakxan.
• Boun Bang Fai, Rocket Festival asks for rain and several are held throughout the Province.
• Boun Suang Heua, Boat Racing Festival, celebrates the harvest.
• Hmong New Year Festival
There are guesthouses and hotels to choose from within the Province. Pakzan offers the best choice of hotels though there are othersin Kamkeuth, Pakkading and Bolikhan.There are also a couple of resorts in the Capital. Those on organised tours will have their Laos itinerariesorganised for them.
BOLIKHAMXAY OVERVIEW Located: in the central of Laos (Central Provinces) Total area: 14,863 square kilometers Population: 400,513 Capital of the province: Pakxan
Bolikhamxay Province, located just south of Vientiane in central Laos, is a center for ecotourism activities with its two national protected areas and extensive system of wetlands. The journey from Ban Khoun Kham to Lak Sao on Route 8 offers spectacular scenery of karst mountain landscapes and is considered to be one of the most impressive passages in the country.
Wat Phabath, located on the road between Vientiane and Pakxan is an important pilgrimage site and sacred temple that houses a shrine containing a giant footprint of the Lord Buddha (phabath). It is believed that all travelers passing by the temple should stop and pay their respects to the spirits for a safe journey and strong health.
Phou Khao Khouay National Protected Area (NPA) covers an area of 2,000 square kilometers in Bolikhamxay and Vientiane Province has excellent evergreen, mixed decidous and coniferous forests in addition to extensive fire-clima grasslands which support key species that include wild elephants, white-cheeked gibbons and green peafowl. A community managed elephant watching tower in Ban Na provides one of the best opportunities to view large wildlife in Laos. One can take nature walks with village guides through the park's old growth forests and well-known waterfalls-Tad Leu, Tad Xay and Tad Xang. Self-guided walks are also available from the visitor center at Tad Leuk which has camping facilities and tents for rent. Nam Kading NPA is abundant with wildlife due to as low population density and biologically diverse forest ecology. Elephant, gaur, giant muntjac, gibbon, the sooty babbler, rufous-throated fulvetta, river lapwing, wreathed and great hombills and large otters are just some of the many species that inhabit the area. One of the country's most extensive wetland systems is located southwest of Pakxan town and is known to have a very unique and abundant population of migratory birds. The wetlands can be reached by motorbike or truck via a number of dirt trails leaving town. Also of interest is the natural cool springs along the Nam Mang River, a pleasant site for swimming and enjoying a picnick.
The province's legendary festival, Bang Fai Phayanak (Naga Rockets) is held at the picturesque Phonsanh Temple overlooking the Mekong River on the 15th day of the 11th month of the Buddhist lunar calendar, coinciding with the last day of Buddhist lent, usually in mid-October. On this special night small multi-colored fire balls place to view this mysterious natural light show is at Ban Hai near the mouth of the Nam Ngum River.
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