It’s only a short boat ride across the Mekong River from Luang Prabang to Chomphet yet you will feel like you’ve stepped into another world. Here you will find villagers cooking on open fires outside their homes, roosters running around and children playing in the forest. You’ll also find ancient temples and a magnificent waterfall…as well as an unexpected adrenalin rush! Do you need anymore convincing to visit Chomphet?
1. Ancient temples
Whether it’s the architectural beauty of Wat Xieng Maen, with its traditional thatched roof and charming French colonial floor tiles – or the breathtaking scenery you’ll find once you climb the 123 steps to reach Wat Chomphet – the temples over this side of the river have much to offer the visitor.
Wat Long Khoun used to be the place where Lao princes would go to meditate for seven days before ascending to the throne. It’s also where you’ll find two rather menacing Chinese figures that were painted either side of the temple’s front door in order to protect Chinese troops who slept inside Wat Long Khoun during their invasion of Luang Prabang in 1890.
2. Pottery village
If you take a look around Luang Prabang you will notice beautiful clay lamps and pots. Guess where they come from? Chomphet District! The people of Ban Chan, otherwise known as the ‘pottery village’ have been using traditional methods to make pottery for centuries. The story goes that the first king of Laos, back in the 16th century, held a big celebration after winning a battle. He asked different villages to bring different things to the party. His requested the people of Ban Chan to bring clay pots. Now, many, many generations later, the families of Ban Chan still carry on this tradition – pulling the clay from the earth on site and using their hands to create beautiful vessels.
You will find Ban Chan just 4 kilometres from the boat pier at Chomphet, which makes it an easy bike ride away. Alternatively you can hire a private boat from Luang Prabang to take you directly to the village. If you want to make your own clay pot, there are tour companies in Luang Prabang that can arrange a lesson on site for you.
3. Adrenalin rush
It may come as a surprise, but Chompet happens to be home to a nature park where you can enjoy one hell of an adrenalin rush. The Green Jungle Flight offers thrill seekers a one-kilometre stretch of zip line with 12 stations amongst the tree tops. There are many aerial obstacle courses to navigate through, including suspended rope bridges, nets to climb and swinging walkways. There’s also a three-hour challenging hike to the top of Hoi Khua Waterfall, which offers exhilarating views. This adventure park has the highest standards of safety and quality equipment so you can enjoy the adrenalin rush without a worry in the world!
4. A different point of view
Chomphet District is one of the least developed in Luang Prabang Province. It’s a stark contrast to the opulence of Luang Prabang town across the river. Many people live in traditional thatched huts and cook their food on open fires outside their homes. Chooks and roosters run around the village along with stray dogs and puppies… children forage for food in the forest… women carry their babies strapped to their backs.
If you only have a short time in Luang Prabang and you want to see the ‘real’ way of life, we highly recommend taking a trip to Chomphet. And if you have some money to spare – please spend it on a bowl of noodle soup, a piece of handmade pottery or a bottle of water to help the local economy.
5. Hoi Khua Waterfall
Luang Prabang is renowned for waterfalls like Kuang Si and Tad Sae, but over in Chomphet you’ll find a waterfall that is just as impressive but without the hoards of tourists. Hoi Khua Waterfall is 100 metres high and during the rainy season it is a truly awesome spectacle as it gushes down the cliff face and into the jungle below. Depending on the time of year, this waterfall is a great place to cool down on a hot day – with many safe pools to swim in. Lao Green has created a lovely picnic area next to the falls with small open-air huts where you can sit with your friends and enjoy the serenity. A short walk away you’ll find a beautiful flower park.
There is a local legend about this waterfall. A long time ago soldiers came to take over a village near Hoi Khua Waterfall. Fearing the soldiers, the local people went to hide inside the cave behind the flowing water. For many days they sought shelter inside the hollow but soon the soldiers started to hear voices in the cave so they got a very large boulder and blocked the entrance. According to the tale, 100 families died inside the cave and the location of their bodies and the entrance remains a mystery to this day.
Please note that the Department of Information, Culture and Tourism does not provide prices on this website for transport and entry to sites as they are subject to change.