Xekong (also sometimes Sekong, Lao) is a province of Laos, located in the south-east of the country. Xekong was created in 1984, when it was split off from Salavanh Province. It is bordered by Vietnam to the east, Attapeu Province to the south, Salavanh Province to the north, and Champasak Province to the west. Xekong is the second smallest province in Laos (7,665
km2), it also has the lowest population (about 83,000) and the lowest population density of any province. Xekong is split administratively into four districts: Thateng on the Bolaven Plateau, Lamam in the lowland plain, and Dakchung and Kaleum in the mountainous areas bordering Vietnam.
Xekong is among the most remote areas of Laos; even some of its largest villages are virtually inaccessible by road for at least half of the year. The eastern districts of Dakchung and Kaleum, in particular, are characterized by mostly mountainous terrain which is rugged and difficult to access. This isolation has meant that forest cover, biodiversity, and ethnic traditions have changed less in recent years than in other areas in Laos. However, the province has become much less isolated in recent years, with the upgrading of a major road up from the Mekong valley city of Pakse, plus two major road projects connecting Xekong to Vietnam to the east. Road infrastructure backed by the Vietnamese is part of a regional development strategy spearheaded by Hanoi called the Development Triangle Initiative, aiming to develop links between Vietnam and neighboring underdeveloped provinces in Cambodia and Laos.