Total area: 14,863 km2
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 karsts mountain landscapes and is considered to be one of the most impressive passages in the country. Vat Phabath, located on the between Vientiane and Paksan is an important pilgrimage site and sacred temple that houses a shrine containing a giant footprint of the Lord Buddha (phabat). It is believed that all travelers passing by the temple should stop and stay respect to the spirits for a safe journey and strong health.
Phou Khao Khouay National Protected Area (NPA) covers an area of 2,000 km2 in Bolikhamxay and Vientiane Provinces has excellent evergreen, mixed deciduous and coniferous forests in addition to extensive fire-climax grasslands which support key species that include wild elephants, white-cheeked gibbons and green peafowl. A community managed elephant watch 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 Leuk, 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 its low population density and biologically diverse forest ecology. Elephant, gaur, giant muntjac, gibbon the sooty babbler, rufous-throated fulvetta, river lapwing, wreathed and great hornbills and large otters are just some of the many species that inhabit the area. One of the country’s most extensive wetland system is located southwest of Paksan 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 he Nam Mang River, a pleasant site for swimming and picnicking.
The province’s legendary festival, Bang Fai Phayanak (Naga Rockets) is held at the picturesque Phonesane 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 mysteriously shoot out of the Mekong River and disappear into the sky. The best place to view this mysterious natural light show is at Ban Hai near the mouth of the Nam Ngum River.
(Source: Tourism GuideBook Laos)