The Broken Bridge

A sliver of land spanning the width of the county, the sunbaked rural province of Salavan (Salavane, Saravan, Saravane) is home to three national protected areas and an array of interesting ethnic groups, but the lack of tourist infrastructure means that much of the province is inaccessible to travellers.

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The few travellers who do venture into Salavan only see the corner that’s part of the Bolaven Plateau. Just 40 kilometres of road skirts into the province on the popular motorbike loop from Pakse—but those 40 do make a wonderful impression. Riding north on Road 20, immediately after crossing the borderline between Champasak and Salavan provinces is Ban Houy Houn, a Katu village with Mr Vieng’s coffee plantation and homestay (covered in out Tad Lo section). Here visitors have the opportunity to learn about the Katu, a Mon-Khmer ethnic group with distinctive culture and traditions. Stay overnight, stop in for a tour of a coffee plantation, buy exquisite one-of-a-kind textiles or simply take a short break from all the riding to enjoy a cuppa.

Ant eggs for sale at a street side market. : Stuart McDonald.
Ant eggs for sale at a street side market. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Most tourists have their sights set on Tad Lo as the first overnight on the loop, and the village is haven for budget travellers. There’s three pretty waterfalls and several cheap, laid back guesthouses. Treks to Tad Soung waterfall and Phou Tak Khao mountain can be arranged with the local tourism office and this is your best bet for explorations of Salavan province. See our guide to Tad Lo for ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,000 words.)

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