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kcheepv Pakse - A travel report by Kim
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Pakse,  Laos - flag Laos -  Champasak
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kcheepv's travel reports

Pakse/Wat Phou Champasak

  8 votes
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Pakse travelogue picture
11 hour bus ride south from Vientiane along the Mekong lies Pakse. The capital of the Champasak province. You can also fly there from only a few other places. Most people who pass through here do so for a few reasons. You can take a boat down and stay in Champasak for the Wat Phu ruins or hire a tuk-tuk out of Pakse for the 1/2 day excursion which puts you on a neat little ferry to taxi the vehicles and people across the river. Pakse is also close to the Chong Mek Thailand border crossing to head to Ubon. Cheap transport to the border can be had from the market outside of town. I paid 6000K for a spot in the back of a truck for the hour ride. Others Head south toward Cambodia for the 10,000 islands and some for the Bolaven Plateau.
I found the town to be lovely. The French architecture adds to the delight. You can easily navigate the town by foot unless you want to head further out. The main market seems to be hopping early in the am. Another one is at the edge of town.

Favourite spots:
Pakse travelogue picture
What Phou Champasak was really special. Of course not as amazing as Angkor but if you like ruins they are a must see. Set up on a rising hill. Stairs take you up the many terrace levels to the top for some amazing views out over the countryside. The earliest structures date from 6-8th century through the Angkor period 9-13th centuries. There is a small entrance fee to visit. Look for the small sacred spring on the top level behind the main sanctuary.
There wasn't many other visitors to Wat Phu while I was there. There was a alot of activity below on the fields as the annual Wat Phu festival was to begin in a few days. At that time thousands of worshipers will convene on the area for a couple of days.
I hired a tuktuk for the ride to Wat Phu from Pakse. $6 for the day. Included the ferry across the Mekong and back. There are a few accom in Champasak where you could stay and rent a bike to get to the ruins. Not sure of current places. A lot is changing quick in Laos!

What's really great:
Pakse travelogue picture
The Boat ride is doable from Pakse to Champasak. Catch it early in the am. I think there is only 1 that goes back in the afternoon and it is on the early side so you will probably have to stay in Champasak overnight unless you hire a tuktuk back to Pakse.
There are also some other small ruins off the beaten path around the area, most are in rubbles though.
One thing I noticed around the town of Pakse was that the locals like to nap in the afternoons. While on my walks I passed so many asleep in hammocks just letting the time pass.
Wat Luang is a nice temple to visit. It dates to 1935 with nice grounds. There is also a weaving village a short ways out of town.

Sights:
Pakse travelogue picture
There is a market on the edge of town at one of the bus terminals. Kind of a lively place. The Central Market, center of Pakse off Thanon 9, sells mostly clothes, housewares and food. It is mostly action packed early in the am.
The trucks to the Chong Mek border all congregate ouside the market at the edge of town. Just have a tuktuk take you there. Remember, lots of Laotions get motion sick. While on my hour long ride to the border a small girl next to me got sick. The open air back of the truck allowed the wind to spray the 4 women seated to the left of the girl. It was a bad sight. Luckily, I came out of it unscathed. The border is easy to navigate across. If you are in a hurry it will be hard to ignore the mass market that sets up on both sides. Slow cheap trucks and fast $15 taxis plow the route to Ubon Rachathani, 100km. From there catch a bus or train to your next destination. The Lao's make you pay a 50Baht exit fee. Dont forget.

Accommodations:
Langham Hotel hw, huge room, tv, ac, 3 beds, 10us. On road 13 in the center of town. Clean with cheap internet nextdoor. There is a balcony on the front of the bldg which everyone has access to.
Indian restaurant across the street.
Tel: 213314

Restaurants:
Food glorious food!
For breakfast grab a baguette from one of the many street vendors. Oh so fresh. If you want something wet and hot try a great bowl of Pho'. Again found at any one of the many street stalls. Both of the above under 1 US dollar. Dont forget to grab a few extra baguettes for your day at Wat Phu. Great snack.
Lunch: Pho'. Restaurant Sedone near the central market has decent rice dishes.
Dinner: Across from Langham Hotel is a good cheap and tastey Indian place. There is also a good Chinese place in town but I couldn't find it when I looked.

Other recommendations:
I really enjoyed my time in Pakse. The town seemed laid back as did the whole country now that I think about it. I never felt ripped off or taken. Wat Phu was amazing. The ferry ride across the mekong unforgetable. My breakfast Pho' delicious. In my dreams I am still there!

Published on Monday February 16th, 2004


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Tue, Jan 11 2005 - 05:09 AM rating by britman

Really informative report - I enjoyed reading it very much

Wed, Oct 20 2004 - 05:44 AM rating by rangutan

Great! Pure adventure.

Wed, Oct 20 2004 - 12:49 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

well champasak seems very nice place and you have nicely written abt it.
ravi

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