Thakhek is capital of Khammouane province. It is known as the best base to explore the nearby Mahaxai Caves and karst formations, and the massive Khammouane Limestone NBCA. Also, this town faces Nakhon Phanom across the river in north-eastern Thailand.
Tha Khaek means “guest landing”. Originally, this was a reference to the town’s stature as a riverine trading outpost, but the name still holds water today. The city has many French colonial style official buildings, you’ll find crumbling French villas and overgrown gardens. Moreover, on Chao Anou Road located in the north of the square is a fine row of 1920s shop houses featuring interlocking swastika designs of moulded stucco.
It is easy to get to Thakhek’s main attractions by tuk-tuk, which is only 6km to the south. Known locally as Muang Kao, Wat Pha That Sikhotabong is one of the country’s holiest pilgrimage sites and a great scenic spot, especially at sunset. The third lunar month, which usually falls in July, is the best time to visit, when the temple celebrates its annual bun and a carnival-like atmosphere prevails.
Although being a sort of Havana on the Mekong, with visiting Thais flocking to its riverbank casino, these days, Thakhek has developed significantly and become a big metropolis. Tha Khaek is also a full-on, international border crossing, with Lao visas on arrival available for the foreigners pouring into Laos at this point.
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