The Salaphe Waterfall
After a week camped below the falls, the explorers made their way up the eastern passage, leaving at midday on August 25. The difficulties of maneuvering even their light craft through the fast-flowing water slowed their progress. To cover only the few miles separating them from their next destination, the island of Khong above the falls, took until the late afternoon of the following day. There, at long last, the river had a single course once more…formed by one great stream over a mile wide. They found a sense of peace in the village at Khong and a prosperous population numbering perhaps ten thousand inhabitants on the island. Authority was exercised by a friendly octogenarian governor who responded to the gifts the Frenchmen gave him by remarking that he now realised that the Buddha must have been born in France; how else could the visitors be so munificent?
Amidst the islands of the waterfalls only two are inhabited, the islands of Khon and Sdam. All the others are covered with dense forest. By contrast, further upriver, the edges of the river and the islands are very highly populated and densely cultivated.
The island of Sitandong, or Khong, is the biggest of the whole group. It has given its name to the province. The continuous line of palm trees, houses, and gardens beside the banks are most pleasant. Small ranges of hills extend across its entire width and form as many natural reservoirs, from which the rainwater spreads everywhere through small ditches, channeled cleverly to all the plantations.
Garnier, Vol 1: 73
Crossing a small tributary to reach the island of Khong
The camp at Khong