Graced by Nature
Mountains, waterfalls, temples and legend hold the secrets of Boten district’s past. Boten borders Thailand, and an international border checkpoint at the Nam Heuang Thai Friendship Bridge in neighbouring Kenthao district opens access to Thais arriving from Loei Province.
The town of Boten is a surprisingly charming and beautiful Lao town, almost build in a circle. Stay near the market and rise early to meet local merchants and farmers displaying their ware. Fresh vegetables of all kinds, meats and local delicacies such as dried and fried rice crackers and cooked vegetable salads are displayed inside a market hall. You will find a great variety of fresh cooked foods in the excellent Boun Pakong restaurant a short walk from the market.
Tad Ham Waterfall
The Tad Ham waterfall marks a point in the nam Ham river as the following legend will tell. According to a generations-old story, Boten had a fishpond housing a giant, poisonous serpent. A bamboo fence kept the creature inside, but one-day the 12-nostril snake transformed into a huge crab and snatched the king’s daughter, prompting the king to rename the river, Thanang (Young Woman). A fortune teller and elders searched for the girl along the Nam Hoy River, and found her red shirt at a deep section they named Vang Sadaeng (deep red water). They continued into the evening, saw rabbits at a set of rapids, and branded them Kaeng Kaday (Rabbit Rapids). A bit further upstream, they lit candles, and designated this point Kaeng Thian (Candle Rapids). Then rains fell, triggering another change in the river’s name to Nam Ham. They continued the expedition until reaching the Nam Ham Waterfall, and couldn´t go on.
Location The Tad Ham Waterfall is situated just outside town, but the dirt road leading up to the fall can be tricky at times. If you come by car you have to park before the waterfall and after a short jungle walk you will reach the rocky pool from below. You can walk to the top of the waterfall from one side. By foot you can retrace the way to the falls along a 3-km road from the Boten District center. A trail from the road leads to the peak of Phou PhaDaeng (Red Mountain), one of the area’s highest, and a great view of the red limestone formations all the way to Thailand. This trek is recommended for young, experienced climbers, who should be accompanied by a guide.
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Following the main road further for another 20 minutes you will arrive in Tham Pou Nouy <confirm>. You can enjoy a meal in the restaurant in front of bring your own food and settle on one of the typical low rocks on the riverside for a relaxed afternoon.
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Before you reach the Thai border there is the charming town of Ban Kheung. The old and beautiful Vat name <confirm> in located in the centre of the town or wander through the town raods to find a small meal. Just outside the vat is the <name confirm>, a sacred building on high stilts that was build in the …….. text <confirm>
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Rise early and walk to Name Stuppa <confirm>, climb the steep steps up to the hill where the war memorial stands. It was built to commemorate the end of the Vietnam war. At the side the names and dates of the fallen are engraved in a black natural stone wall. Take a moment and reflect on life, and watch the sun rise from above. The place certainly has a somewhat desolated feel that suits the purpose of this memorial. Worth a visit for only that.