Savannakhet is located in the south of Laos on the banks of the Mekong River, bordered by Vietnam to the East, Thailand to the West. Its name originally comes from Savanh Nakhone, meaning ‘City of Paradise’. It is the largest province (21,774 square kilometers). The capital province is Kaysone Phomvihane which was named to honour the greatest leader of Laos (its former name was Khanthabouli).
Savannakhet is covered by forests with 60% and home to variety of ethnic groups such as Laotian, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese and so on. Like the famous sacred Buddhist site – That Ing Hang Stupa and most the town’s architecture is French Colonial, the city attracts a large number of tourists. The National Provincial Protected Area at Dong Natad is one of the 20 national protected land parcels in this province. It is an ideal place for eco-tours who love nature as its diverse wildlife population .
Although, Savannakhet and its surrounding areas have not developed as rapidly and prosperously as Vientiane and Luang Prabang, it is one of the country’s most popular provinces for communication and commerce. Savanthakhet acts as a commercial buffer zone between Thailand and Vietnam and is a very active location for trade between neighbouring countries.
This is a decent museum situated south of the stadium on Khantabouli Road. Visitors will have a chance to discover more about the Savannakhet prehistoric period with bone pieces of big lizards and dinosaur fossils found in Ban Tang Vay village, Xonbuly district.
The hall displays a massive collection of fossils excavated from 1930 to the present. There are four different dinosaurs and early mammalian remains from 200 million years ago displayed. Moreover, some fragments of a meteorite that fell to earth over 100 million years ago are kept here. The local staff will help you translate all the labels which are in Laos and French to English.
Heuan Hinh (Stone House)
Heuan Hinh, is one of the most interesting Khmer ruins in Savannakhet, located in Ban Dong, Dokmay Songkhone district. It is a 1,000-year old outpost of the Khmer civilization constructed by King Jayavarman (1181-1218). It is considered as 1 of 121 houses remained which are built along roads to connect the kingdom of Khmer Empire. Unfortunately, like many other other historical sites, most of the original carvings have been lost and the structure is in poor condition
That Phone Stupa
Constructed over a long period between 557 and 700, That Ing Hang Stupa is one of the most famous sacred stupa in Savannakhet. Its height is about nine metres with beautiful carving and decoration. The stupa is used to mark the day Buddha visiting the site in the past. Buddha is believed to take a rest under the “Hang” tree after giving a sermon for people.
The sacred stupa is an important place of worship for not only Laotian Buddhists but also Thai Buddhists who live in northern Thailand. ‘Dress with respect’ is a must for all visitors. This place also hold annual celebration festival when the temple served as a shrine for offerings made to Shiva and other Hindu Gods during the full moon period in February.
Wat Xayaphoum is perhaps the most beautiful temple in Kaysone Phomvihane sitting on the banks of the Mekong River in Ban Xayaphoum Village. The temple was built in 1542 and is considered one of the oldest in Savannakhet. It is an important centre for local Buddhism.
At Wat Xayaphoum, visitors will find a Buddhhist workshop where local villagers craft new Buddha images by hand. Wat Xayaphoum hosts major festival and ceremonies such as Pimai Laos and an annual Boat Racing Festival, held during October each year.
Other interesting attractions that are located on the main street in Kaysone Phomvihan which can be easily reached on foot or by a tuk-tuk taxi ride such as: the Hor Tai Pitok Ancient Library; a wooden house containing a number of stunning palm scripts; the Lam Seun 719 Battlefield and the area’s Catholic Churches with their French colonial design.
Moreover, people who love nature can visit Tad Salaen Waterfall and Don Daeng Turtle Lake. This is around a 15-kilometre drive from the city. All are worth visiting. The city become such a unique destination due to the charm of most attractions that are surrounded by local villages, French Colonial architecture and the incredible scenery that stretches along the Mekong River.
READ MORE ON OUR DESTINATIONS
- LUANG PRABANG
- NORTHERN LAOS
- VIENTIANE AND CENTRAL LAOS
- SOUTHERN LAOS