Attapeu Province

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Attapeu Province

ແຂວງ ອັດຕະປື
Attapeu montage.jpg
Map of Attapeu Province, Laos.jpg
Map of Attapeu Province
Attapeu Province-Laos.svg
Location of Attapeu Province in Laos
Coordinates: 14°48′00″N106°49′59″E / 14.8°N 106.833°E / 14.8; 106.833 Coordinates: 14°48′00″N106°49′59″E / 14.8°N 106.833°E / 14.8; 106.833
Capital Attapeu
  Total10,320 km2 (3,980 sq mi)
 (2015 census)
  Density14/km2 (35/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+7 (ICT)
ISO 3166 code LA-AT
HDI (2017)0.559 [1]
medium · 12th

Attapeu (Lao : ອັດຕະປື) is a province of Laos in the southeast of the country. It has five districts: Samakkixay, Xaysetha, Sanamxay, Sanxay, and Phouvong, covering an area of 10,320 square kilometres (3,980 sq mi) with a population of 127,285. [2] Its capital city lies at Attapeu (Muang Samakkixay).


It was known as the "land of heroism". There are two biodiversity areas: Dong Ampham Forest (200,000 ha) and Xepaine Forest. [3] A large part of the province is managed by the Dong Ampham National Biodiversity Conservation Area.


The province was part of the Lane Xang Kingdom during the reign of King Saysethathirath. Earlier to this it was a habitat of wild buffaloes known as "Idkabue" (meaning, 'buffalo dropping'), which, in the French colonial regime, became "Attapeu". During the revolutionary war against the French the province was the headquarters of the National Liberation Front. By the end of the war, much of the area was destroyed, remnants of which can be seen even now in some stretches of the Ho Chi Minh Road. [3]


Attapeu Province covers an area of 10,320 square kilometres (3,980 sq mi). [4] [3] It borders Sekong Province to the north, Vietnam to the east, Virachey National Park of Cambodia to the south, and Champasak Province to the west. Notable settlements in the province include Attapeu, Ban Nonghin, Ban Xoutouat, Ban Nong Songhong, Ban Renthuk, Ban Phiahom, Ban Choim, Ban Pakha, Ban Onglouang, Ban Het, Muang May, Ban kong Han, Ban Xakhe, and Ban Dakkrong. [5]

The province's terrain is rugged.[ citation needed ] Its capital city Attapeu (Samakkhixay District) is in a valley.The Bolaven Plateau stretches across Attapeu as well as three others provinces, Champasak, Salavan, and Sekong.[ citation needed ] The landscape of the province consists of thick forest, rivers and streams and plains areas in the backdrop of mountains such as Phou Saphong and Phou Luang. [3] The principal rivers are the Xe Kong, Xe Kaman, and the Xe Xou River and the province is difficult to traverse in the rainy season. [6] The province also has several waterfalls of note. These include the 23 m high, 120 m wide Tad Saephe Waterfall in Xepaine Forest, the 10 m high, 30 m wide Tad Samongphak Waterfall between Houay Samong and Xepaine River, Tad Phok Waterfall, and Tad Phaphong Waterfall, running from Xe Xou River. [3] During the American War in Vietnam, parts of the Ho Chi Minh Trail passed through the province. The main roads are Route 13, the most important road in the country, and Route 11. [3] The main settlements are Attapeu, Xaysetha, and Sanamxai.

Protected areas

Nong Fa Lake NongFa Lake.jpg
Nong Fa Lake

Dong Ampham National Biodiversity Conservation Area (NBCA) is the protected area which lies in Attapeu Province (on the northeastern part) and Sekong Province (on the southeastern part). It is in the southeast corner of Laos on the border with Vietnam. The NBCA is heavily forested and covers about 200,000 hectares. Established in 1993, [7] it is one of the 23 National Biodiversity Conservation Areas of Laos. Dong Ampham is home to "some of the last intact areas of lowland and tropical forests remaining in mainland Southeast Asia." [8] Topographical features include Xe Kaman and Xe Xou Rivers, [9] and the volcanic lake Nong Fa Lake. Tigers and Clouded leopard are recorded fauna in remote areas. [10]

The 71,400 hectare Attapu Plain is an important bird area (IBA) adjacent to the NBCA. It is at an elevation of 200–400 metres (660–1,310 ft). The topography includes wetlands, such as the Xe Khaman and the Xe Xou Rivers, as well as freshwater lakes and pools. Dry forest landscapes, dry deciduous forest, shingle and stony beaches are habitats. Notable avifauna are the lesser fish eagle Ichthyophaga humilis, red-headed vulture Sarcogyps calvus, and white-rumped vulture Gyps bengalensis. [11]

Administrative divisions

The province is composed of the following districts: [3]

MapCodeNameVietnamese Lao script
Attapu Province districts.png
17-01 Saysetha District Mueang Xaysethaເມືອງໄຊສະຖານ
17-02 Samakkhixay District Mueang Samakkhixayເມືອງສະໝັກຄີໄຊ
17-03 Sanamxay District Mueang Sanamxayເມືອງສະໜາມໄຊ
17-04 Sanxay District Mueang Sanxayເມືອງສານໄຊ
17-05 Phouvong District Mueang Phouvongເມືອງພູວົງ


Lao Loum people in Attapeu outnumber those in other nearby provinces.[ citation needed ] Its population is reported to be 110,000 and consists of several ethnic communities; 15 major tribes are reported in the province which include Lao, Alak, Katang, Kaleum, Katou, Suay, Oy, Taoy, Sadang, Nge, Lavea, Lavenh, Cheuang, Tariang and Nyaheung groups. [3]


Rice fields Attapeu rice fields.jpg
Rice fields
HAGL rubber plantation on the road to Vietnam HAGL rubber plantation.jpg
HAGL rubber plantation on the road to Vietnam

Attapeu's economy is largely agricultural. In this province, the trade in wild life is significant (though underestimated by the government) and hence its conservation is important. The listed globally threatened wild life species number 14 (according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN Red List and 23 species according to the CITES. In the rural economy Laos (80 percent of rural households), the dependency on forest resources is great, concentrated in the fields of wild animals and plants, exchanged and extracted for achieving sustainable income; fish is one of main aquatic vertebrates exploited, apart from other terrestrial and aquatic vertebrates. [12]

Given its proximity to Vietnam, the province has traditionally been a source for raw materials and forest products for adjacent regions in Vietnam. Luxury forest products exported by Champa through its seaports were sourced from places as far as Attapeu. [13]

More recently, some Vietnamese companies expanded into Attapeu Province. Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group has acquired rights to grow rubber trees in the province. The company also plans to invest in electricity generation, sugar refining, and organic fertilizer production. [14] Construction of a US$100 million sugar project including industrial facilities started in November 2011. [15]


Some of the important locations in the province are the Wat Sakae Temple which has a sacred Buddha image and is visited during the Lao New Year, and an old pagoda and Xaysetha Stupa in Xaysetha District, built in 1579. [3] The temple of Wat Luang Muang Mai in the capital city of Attapeu was built in 1939 and is notable for original naga barge boards. [16] King Setthathirat of the Lan Xang is buried in a stupa at the temple of Wat Pha Saysettha in Pha Meuang, approximately 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the capital city. The Sihanouk Trail branches from the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Phu Vong, 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) from the capital. [17]

Related Research Articles

A National Biodiversity Conservation Area (NBCA) is an environmentally protected area in Laos. There are all together 21 different NBCAs in Laos, protecting 29,775 square kilometers. Another 10 NBCAs have been proposed, many of them being treated by authorities as though they were already officially protected.

Bolaven Plateau Elevated region in southern Laos

The Bolaven Plateau is an elevated region in southern Laos. Most of the plateau is located within Champasak Province of Laos, though the edges of the plateau are also located in Salavan, Sekong and Attapeu Provinces. It is located between the Annamite Mountain Range, along which runs Laos' eastern border with Vietnam, and the Mekong River to the west, at about 15°N106°E. The plateau's elevation ranges approximately from 1,000 to 1,350 metres above sea level. The plateau is crossed by several rivers and has many scenic waterfalls. The name Bolaven makes reference to the Laven ethnic group which has historically dominated the region. However, domestic migrations by the Lao ethnic group has resulted in widespread interethnic marriage, thus modifying the ethnic composition of the region.

The Phou Hin Poun National Biodiversity Conservation Area, formerly known as the Khammouane Limestone National Biodiversity Conservation Area, is one of 21 National Biodiversity Conservation Areas of the Lao People's Democratic Republic. Located in a limestone tower karst region of the Annamite Range in Khammouane Province, it is home to a number of rare or newly discovered species. National Biodiversity Conservation Areas are not protected by the government of Laos in any meaningful way; the budget for each is about $500. The human population of the NBCA is 29,603.

Nam Poui National Biodiversity Conservation Area is a protected area in the Sayaboury Province of the Lao P.D.R. It is named after Nam Poui village, also known as "Muang Pieng" and is one of the 21 National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (NBCA) established by the Lao government. The NBCA is located in the forested mountains of the Luang Prabang Range and shares a border with Thailand and three other national parks. It is part of the Luang Prabang rain forest ecoregion.

Dong Ampham National Biodiversity Conservation Area is an extensive protected area which covers a significant part of Attapeu Province and Sekong Province in the southeast corner of Laos on the border with Vietnam. It covers the northeastern part of Attapeu Province and southeastern part of Sekong Province.

The Xe Kaman is a river in southeastern Laos. It flows through the Dong Ampham National Biodiversity Conservation Area of Attapeu Province. The river is known to have populations of dolphins. The area is being destroyed by a dam being built on the river. The village of Ban Hin Dam lies on the river and is where boat trips are launched.

Xe Xou River is a river in southeastern Laos. It flows through the Dong Ampham National Biodiversity Conservation Area of Attapeu Province. The village of Ban Keng Maw lies on the river and is where boat trips are launched.

Bokeo Province Smallest and least populous province of Laos

Bokèo is a northern province of Laos. It is the smallest and least populous province in the country. Bokeo Province covers an area of 6,196 square kilometres (2,392 sq mi). Bokeo Province borders Luang Namtha Province to the northeast, Oudomxai Province to the east, Xaignabouli Province to the south, and Thailand to the southwest and Burma to the west and northwest. The province has five districts:. It is rich in deposits of precious and semiprecious stones. Bokeo's provincial capital is Houayxay on the Mekong River. The province is in the Golden Triangle, at the border of Myanmar and Thailand. There are 34 ethnic groups in the province. Houay Xay is the border town with Thailand and regional economic centre.

Bolikhamsai Province Province of Laos

Bolikhamsai is a province of Laos. Pakxan, Thaphabat, Pakkading, Borikhane, Viengthong, and Khamkeut are its districts and Pakxan is its capital city. The province is the site of the Nam Theun 2 Dam, the country's largest hydroelectric project.

Xiangkhouang Province of Laos

Xiangkhouang is a province of Laos on the Xiangkhoang Plateau, in the nation's northeast. The province has the distinction of being the most heavily bombed place on Earth.

Houaphanh Province Province of Laos

Houaphanh Province is a province in eastern Laos. Its capital is Xam Neua.

Sekong Province Province of Laos

Sekong is a province of Laos in the southeast of the country.

Savannakhet Province Province of Laos

Savannakhet is a province of Laos. The name derives from Savanh Nakhone the province's original name. It bears the same meaning as Nakhon Sawan, a city in Thailand.

Khammouane Province Province of Laos

Khammouane Province (Khammouan) is a province in the center of Laos. Its capital lies at Thakhek.

Salavan Province Province of Laos

Salavan is a province of Laos, located in the south of the country. Its earlier name was Saravan which was changed by Thai to Salavan in 1828. It was part of the Champasak Kingdom in an area known as Muang Mang inhabited by minorities of Mon-Khymer groups.

Luang Namtha Province Province of Laos

Luang Namtha is a province of Laos in the country's north. From 1966 to 1976 it formed, together with Bokeo, the province of Houakhong. Luang Namtha Province covers an area of 9,325 square kilometres (3,600 sq mi). Its provincial capital is Luang Namtha. The province borders Yunnan, China to the north, Oudomxai Province to the east and southeast, Bokeo Province to the southwest, and Shan State, Burma to the northwest.

Sainyabuli Province Province of Laos

Sainyabuli Province is a province in northwest Laos. Sainyabuli town is the capital of the province. Sainyabuli is the only Lao province that is completely west of the Mekong River.

Vientiane Prefecture Prefecture of Laos

Vientiane is a prefecture of Laos, in the northwest Laos. The national capital, Vientiane, is in the prefecture. The prefecture was created in 1989, when it was split off from Vientiane Province.

Champasak Province Province of Laos

Champasak is a province in southwestern Laos, near the borders with Thailand and Cambodia. It is one of the three principalities that succeeded the Lao kingdom of Lan Xang. As of the 2015 census, it had a population of 694,023. The capital is Pakse, but it takes its name from Champasak, the former capital of the Kingdom of Champasak.

Xe Pian National Protected Area National protected area in southern Laos

Xe Pian National Protected Area is a national protected area in Champasak and Attapeu provinces in southern Laos. This forested, hilly park is home to significant wetlands and a great diversity of animal, bird and fish species. It is an ecotourism destination.


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  17. Bush, Elliot & Ray, p. 310.