Laos is a land of great beauty seen in the majestic cultural artefacts of kingdoms long gone, the sprawling splendour of its rural landscapes, and the hospitality of its people. Visitors to Pakse and Champasak Laos can expect a land of temples, rice paddies and rich history found along the artery of Laos, the Mekong River.
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What To Do in Pakse and ChampasakLocated in Southern Laos, Pakse is the largest city in Champasak Province. This ancient city sprang to life where the Mekong and the Xe Don rivers meet and is known as the gateway to southern Laos. While luxury hotels in Pakse, Laos are slowly making a name for themselves, most know this city as the launching off point of grand adventures into the surrounding hills and countryside or down the idyllic waterways.
Smaller than Pakse but overflowing with rustic charm and ancient treasures is the nearby town of Champasak. Once a royal seat, the grandeur of these bygone times lingers in the architecture found in the town centre. One will also find the elegantly crumbling relics of French colonial buildings here.
Begin exploring the region in the town of Pakse by witnessing a fascinating almsgiving ceremony at Wat Luan. The large and lovely temple is also home to a Buddhist monk school. Wander around the old market and rice paddy fields at Ban Keosamphanh. At the Champasak Provincial Museum’s, one can gain deeper insight into the region’s history through the exploration of historical artefacts. Spend your evenings wandering around the popular Mekong Bank, filled with some of the best restaurants and bars in Pakse.
In Champasak, discover the birthplace of Khmer architecture at Vat Phou. The gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage site is even older than Angkor Wat but draws far fewer visitors – here you can enjoy the majesty of the temples in silence and serenity. Take a short walk through the jungle to see the mysterious Oum Muong ruins built during the 9th century. Meet the lowland Buddhist Lao people who live in small riverside villages to learn about their traditions and customs.
In the Champasak region, you can also experience timeless landscapes including the stunning Si Phun Don (4,000 Islands) and Pha Pheng, Southeast Asia’s largest waterfalls. Spot a rare blue-grey Irrawaddy dolphin while journeying by boat or from the window of your Pakse accommodation. The locals believe these dolphins are reincarnated humans that possess a human spirit. Champasak and southern Laos is a world of magic and majesty waiting to be discovered.
River Cruises in Pakse & ChampasakThe Mekong River is the natural highway of Laos, and from scenic Pakse and Champasak Laos, you can depart on river cruises which will take you past idyllic villages seemingly trapped in time, UNESCO World Heritage sites and some of Southeast Asia’s most majestic natural water features.
Departing from Pakse or Champasak, Vat Phou Cruises are crewed by local villagers from southern Laos who are eager to show you the beauty of their lands and the splendour to be found along the “Mother of Waters”.
Take a leisurely 3-day journey down the Mekong River in Southern Laos to witness one of the region’s most remarkable treasures, the mystical UNESCO World Heritage site of Vat Phou from which the river cruise takes its name. Considered the birthplace of Khmer architecture, these crumbling temples predate and rival the better-known temple fields of Angkor Wat.
On this journey, you will also visit the hidden forest temple of Oum Muong, the small village of Ban Deua Tia, known for its centuries-old traditional way of life, and the island of Don Khong, the largest inhabited island in the river archipelago. Though stunning views are to be found along most of your journey, your jaw is still sure to drop when passing through scenic Si Phun Don, the “4,000 Islands,” and Southeast Asia’s largest waterfalls at Pha Pheng.
Onboard this luxury teak-clad riverboat, sleep in one of twelve recently renovated cabins featuring modern amenities including air-conditioning and hot showers. Meals on the cruise highlight the culinary heritage of the region including specialities from Laos, Vietnam and Thailand lovingly prepared in the galley. For the best of southern Laos all-in-one, there is no better choice than Secret Retreats partner, Vat Phou Cruises.
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