It’s hard to imagine Champasak as a seat of royalty, but until only 30 years ago it was just that. These days the town is serenely quiet, the fountain circle in the middle of the main street alluding to a grandeur long gone. The remaining French colonial-era buildings, including one that once belonged to Chao Boun Oum na Champasak and another to his father Chao Ratsadanai, share space with traditional Lao wooden houses. The few vehicles that venture down the narrow main street share it with buffaloes and cows which seem relaxed even by Lao standards – it’s easy to spend a couple of days here.
Angkor-period ruins of Wat Phu Champasak lie 8km southwest of town and are the main attraction; Champasak has the only accommodation in the immediate vicinity of Wat Phu. The town also acts as a jumping off point for Don Daeng.
Just about everything in Champasak is spread along the one riverside street, either side of the fountain circle.