Khone Phapheng Falls

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Khone Falls
Khone Phapheng Falls, Si Phan Don, Laos, widest waterfall in the world.jpg
Khone Phapheng Falls
Khone Phapheng Falls is located in Laos
Khone Phapheng Falls
LocationMekong River
Champasak Province
Coordinates13°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
Total height21 m (69 ft)
WatercourseMekong River

The Khone Falls and Pha Pheng Falls (Lao: ນ້ຳຕົກຕາດຄອນພະເພັງ; Khmer: ល្បាក់ខោន, Lbak Khaon) together form a waterfall located in Champasak Province on the Mekong River in southern Laos, near the border with Cambodia. At 10,782 metres (6.7 miles) wide, it is the widest waterfall in the world.[1][2]

The Khone Falls are the largest in southeast Asia, and 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), with the highest flow on record 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.[3] 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).[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Khone, Chutes de, Laos - World Waterfall Database". Retrieved 2020-01-24.
  2. ^ "10 spectacular, record-setting waterfalls". MNN - Mother Nature Network. Retrieved 2020-01-24.
  3. ^ Kottelat, M. (2012). "Hemimyzon khonensis". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2012: e.T180661A1648746. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012-1.RLTS.T180661A1648746.en. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  4. ^ National Geographic News Photo Gallery: Giant Catfish Faces Dam Risk in Asia
  • "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]