Pakse is the capital city of the province of Champasak, located in the southern part of Laos. The city is located at the confluence of the Se Don River and the Mekong River. It was founded by the French in 1905 and served as their administrative outpost. That is the reason why you will still get to appreciate the Old French Colonial styled buildings in this area. The city has witnessed a rapid growth after the year 2002, with the construction of a bridge across the river Mekong, which was instrumental in facilitating brisk trade between Lao and Thailand. In recent times, Pakse has graduated from being a mere transit destination to other tourist destination.
Pakse is a very small city that can be easily explored by foot. There are also several shops that rent out bicycles and motorbikes for a nominal price. One can also hire a car or a van with a driver, or if you just want a cheaper way to get to any point, the shared transportation system would serve well.
Local Attractions in Pakse
The Wat Luang Temple, located at the center of Pakse is one of the most famous and the most beautiful temple in Pakse. The temple is known for its unique combination of traditional and modern styled construction. Located nearby, is another interesting temple of Wat Phabad, a Buddhist monk school. It is believed that Lord Buddha had long time back, left his footprints here.
Mount Phou Asa is another location in Pakse worth a visit. On the mountain, there used to be a temple, which is currently in ruins. However, the summit treats you to a stunning view of Southern Laos. From the top of the mountain, you will also get a beautiful view of the Xe Pian and Dong Hua Sao forests and the Kiet Ngong wetland. A breathtaking sight of the waterfalls cascading from the Bolaven Plateau can also be seen from the north of the summit along with the Annamite Mountains on the Vietnamese border.
You can also visit the Champasak Plaza Shopping Centre if you are interested in shopping for souvenirs, electronic products, clothes and other gift items.
Pakse will also treat you to a variety of food; you can easily find restaurants serving Thai, Indian, Chinese, Western and Vietnamese cuisine, in addition to the local Lao food. You can also have a wonderful dinner at the 7th floor, rooftop hotel, Le Panorama, from where you can get an amazing view of the Mekong River. Those who are looking out for a good time, can visit the nightclub, Lotty, and enjoy a few drinks and have some fun, dancing around.
Outside of Pakse
Pakse is a major transportation hub in Laos and is a convenient stop over if you are planning to visit the Bolaven Plateau, Wat Phou, or Si Phan Don.
The Bolaven Plateau is a beautiful place to visit, especially if you ride through on a motorcycle, where you can treat your eyes to the beautiful scenery, the numerous and amazing waterfalls, which were visible from the peak of Mount Phou Asa and the beautiful tribal villages.
Wat Phou is a mountain temple, labelled by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 2002. It would be an interesting spot for art lovers who would admire the amazing workmanship on the pillars, lintels, pediments and courtyard of the ruined Khmer Temple.
The Si Phan Don is also a beautiful cluster of four thousand islands, where you can simply relax and laze around. Here you can also check out the largest waterfall in South East Asia and also take a boat tour around the islands.