Pakse is the capital of Champasak Province, founded by French colonialists in 1905. The kingdom was destroyed in 1946 after which the Kingdom of Lao was created. Situated at the confluence of two rivers: the Mekong and the Se Don, Pakse is an ideal base with its relaxing atmosphere with friendly locals, riverside restaurants and bars, and numerous massage clinics.
Pakse is the 2nd most populous place in the country with about 70,000 inhabitants. It has become a major transport and commerce hub for southern Laos. Moreover, there are many attractive spots here that couldn’t be missed such as Bolaven Plateau, Wat Phou, Si Phan Don (4,000 Islands), the Xe Pian National Protected Area…
Si Phan Don (4,000 Islands)
The province is best known for the spectacular Khmer ruins at Wat Phou and the stunning cluster of islands near the Cambodian border known as Si Phan Don (4,000 Islands). Visitors also have countless opportunities to enjoy stunning waterfalls rimming the Bolaven Plateau, and they ‘ll get a glimpse into authentic, traditional Laotian lifestyle on the island of Don Daeng near Champasak town, making a tour of the region well worth the extra effort.
Mount Phou Asa
Mount Phou Asa couldn’t be missed when you visit Pakse, which can be reached on the back of an elephant. Phou Asa provides a stunning view over large areas of southern Lao. Earlier there was a temple at the mountain which has now been reduced to ruins. From the vantage point, you can enjoy the breathtaking view of plains. The forests of Xe Pian and Dong Hua Sao NPAs appear to stretch out endlessly from the Kiet Ngong wetland.
One of the most beautiful temple in Pakse is Wat Luang located in Wat Phabad, the Buddhist Monk School is located. Rumour has it that Lord Buddha left his footprint here, at Wat Phabad, the biggest and oldest temple of Pakse.
There are a variety of ideal places to get massage in Pakse. Most of the massage places are aggregated just south of road 13 near the shopping mall. It’s a great chance to release stress as they often explicitly offer head neck and shoulders. It costs you about 35,000/hr traditional 50,000/hr head neck and shoulders. Some places are advised are Dok Champa, Thanida Spa and Keo Oudone.
Boat Race Festival
This festival lasts during end of wet season (end of October) for three days. Apart from peaceful space that visitors often see while walking through town, Big paddling boats race on the Xe Don river attracts many people. There are smaller stalls selling a variety of food and clothing and some selling popular stuff like trucks or machetes. Also, you can take part in many games because gambling seems to be legal for everyone. Shooting air rifles at ‘local’ prices or trying to figure out by what rules the fight and drum contests are scored couldn’t be missed.
Another interesting activity is cycling. It is one of the most scenic outposts. Visitors will be given opportunities to visit many atractions along the road such as the big golden Buddha and Wat Phou Salao and rewarding a stunning panoramic view from there looking over Pakse, the Mekong River, and the Bolaven Plateau in the distance. You can also explore the Daoheuang market or go for a buffet-lunch at the Champasak Grand Hotel, which is located on your right after the bridge.
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