Khone Phapheng Falls

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Khone Falls
Khone Phapheng Falls - 1.jpg
Khone Phapheng Falls
Khone Phapheng Falls is located in Laos
Khone Phapheng Falls
Location Mekong River
Champasak Province
Coordinates 13°56′53″N 105°56′26″E / 13.94806°N 105.94056°E / 13.94806; 105.94056Coordinates: 13°56′53″N 105°56′26″E / 13.94806°N 105.94056°E / 13.94806; 105.94056
Type Cascade
Total height 21 m (69 ft)
Watercourse Mekong River

The Khone Falls and Pha Pheng Falls (Lao: ນ້ຳຕົກຕາດຄອນພະເພັງ) is a waterfall located in Champasak Province on the Mekong River in southern Laos, near the border with Cambodia (Khmer called "Labak Koun"). The Khone Falls are the largest in southeast Asia and they are the main reason that the Mekong is not fully navigable into China. The falls are characterised by thousands of islands and countless waterways, giving the area its name Si Phan Don or 'The 4,000 islands'.

The highest falls reach to 21 metres (69 ft); the succession of rapids stretch 9.7 km (6.0 mi) of the river's length. The average discharge of the cataract is nearly 11,000 m3/s (390,000 cu ft/s), though the highest volume on record was reached at over 49,000 m3/s (1,700,000 cu ft/s).

Khone Phapheng Falls
Khone Phapheng Falls

Navigable efforts[edit]

The Khone Falls is the prime reason why the Mekong river is not fully navigable into China. In the late 19th century French colonialists made repeated attempts to navigate the falls but their efforts failed. This difficulty led to the construction of the Don Det – Don Khon narrow gauge railway on Don Det and Don Khon islands.


Hillstream loach Hemimyzon khonensis is known from a single specimen collected in the Mekong at the Khone Falls.[1] The falls are home to the plabuck, an endangered species of catfish said to be the largest freshwater fish in the world. The plabuck is alleged to reach lengths of 3 m (10 ft) and weights of up to 646 pounds (293 kilograms).[2]


  • "Khone Falls". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 4, 2005. 
  • "Mekong". Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 4, 2005. 
  • "Khone Falls". Mekong Sources. Archived from the original on December 17, 2004. Retrieved February 13, 2005. 

External links[edit]