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Khone Phapheng waterfall in southern Laos draws thousands

Khone Phapheng waterfall in Champassak province has earned more than 350 million kip for provincial tourism authorities over the first five months of 2008, according to a tourism official.

“Eighty percent of visitors to the waterfall are from Thailand and Europe and the rest are tourists from other provinces in Laos ,” Khone Phapheng waterfall tourism official Sisavath Bouapaseuth said yesterday.

He said the money received was from entry fees to the waterfall, which are 3,000 kip for Lao nationals and 10,000 kip foreigners.

Many tourists visit the cascade just before the rainy season because it is the best time of year to view the waterfall.

“Most tourists schedule a visit to Khone Phapheng before or after going to Vat Phou because these are the best natural and cultural tourist attractions in Champassak province,” Mr Sisavath said.

He said the numerous handicraft stalls and restaurants at the waterfall also benefited from the growing number of tourists.

A tourist from Thailand , Mr Bounta, who visited the waterfall last week, said the site was so beautiful he took almost 500 photos to show to friends and family in Bangkok .

Another visitor from Vientiane , Ms Nilanda, suggested authorities set up more handicraft stalls in the area to promote traditional Lao products.

Khone Phapheng waterfall is considered the largest by volume in the Southeast Asia region. Amongst the fall's many channels and rocky outcrops visitors can view local people going about their daily work, including setting fish traps.

“Due to the increasing number of tourists, we are doing what we can to protect the environment. We have installed rubbish bins and urge visitors to consider the impact they have on the site,” Mr Sisavath said.

He said almost 50,000 people had visited the falls so far this year and believed these figures would continue to increase in the future.

By Souknilundon Southivongnorath

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