Founded by the French in 1905, much of the town's colonial heritage was obliterated during the second Indochinese War. The capital of the Champasak Province retains the lethargic atmosphere Laos has become so renowned and popular for. There are around 20 Wats within the area of which Wat Luang and Wat Thai Fam are the biggest.
Wat Luang features a monastic school and a thaat containing the ashes of the former Lao Prime Minister. Wat Thai Fam is situated by the Champasak Palace Hotel and is set around spacious grounds, making it a prime site for temple festivals. The temple also houses a small Buddha imprint. The Champasak Historical Heritage Museum near the Hotel Residence du Champa, records the history of the province through artefacts, photography and written documents.
Pakse is the capital of Champasak Province, founded by French colonialists in 1905. The kingdom was destroyed in 1946 after which the Kingdom of Lao was created.
Pakse is located at the mouth of the rivers Xedong and Mekong. The term Pakse means the ‘Mouth of the River Se’. This city is inhabited by 70,000 people and the Pakse International Airport serves as a link to the Bolaven Plateau. The construction of this airport was completed in November 2009, and has connections to Siem Reap, Vientiane and Bangkok.
If this is your first visit to Pakse you must visit Mount Phou Asa which can be reached on the back of an elephant. Earlier there was a temple at the mountain which has now been reduced to ruins. The view of the plains from this vantage point is breathtaking.
Wat Luang is deemed as the most beautiful temple in Pakse. It is also where Wat Phabad, the Buddhist Monk School is located. Rumour has it that Lord Buddha left his footprint here, at Wat Phabad, the biggest and oldest temple of Pakse.
Other than local Lao food, restaurants at Pakse serve Thai, Chinese, Indian, western and Vietnamese cuisine as well.
For European & Vietnamese food visit Ketmany Restaurant on route 13. The breakfast here is Western style and the restaurant also serves Vietnamese cuisine with a good vegetarian lasagna. Other than that pizzas and gnocchi are also available and a wide range of Thai dishes. The coffee served by owners Alan and Siriporn is the best in town and is procured from their own plantation close to Paksong. Part of the money raised from the business is also used to establish schools for the kids of plantation labourers.
Visit Le Panorama at the Pakse Hotel in Bane Watlouang on No. 4 Street to enjoy the rooftop restaurant located on the seventh floor, overlooking the Mekong River. It serves a combination of Asian, Western and Fusion cuisine, all prepared by a French chef. Although the prices are high here, the food is definitely worth it.
Situated on the northeastern corner of Rt13 and 24th street the Katuad café not only serves good coffee but it also has free WiFi.
Lotty is a nightclub that is frequented by most of the young locals for some casual drinking and dancing late into the night.
If you want to buy some souvenirs for your family and friends back home check out Champasak Plaza Shopping Centre. You will find silk, electronic products, clothes and small items perfect for gifts here. However, if you want to experience some quality shopping, go to Luang Prabang or Vientiane instead of Pakse.
The Clinic Keo Ou Done is located to the East on Rte 13. If you turn right after going straight for 100m, at the 3km mark, follow the Massage Sauna sign for another 800m you should find it. It is open from 16:00 to 21:00 on weekdays and from 10:00 to 21:00pm on weekends.
It’s about a half-hour walk from the city centre to the bowling alley, or you can ride the tuk-tuk on the main road. Tuk-tuks can be hard to find, especially later in the evening.
How to get to Pakse
You can take a flight from Siem Reap or Vientiane to the Pakse International Airport. If this airport is not functional for any reason you can fly to Savannakhet in the south from Luang Prabang and Vientiane instead. Bangkok has direct flights to the city via Lao Airlines. You can take a flight from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam as well.
Make use of the daily slow-boat service offered to Si Phan Don at 08:00 in the morning to be dropped off at the mouth of Xedong River. You must book this a day in advance.
There are two bus services offered in Pakse. One of them carries local traffic to the north, and the other to the south.
The best way to reach the bus station is to take a tuk-tuk and ask the driver to take you to the right one.
VIP bus service
These buses operate from the Champasak Shopping Centre and travel to and from Vientiane. The 10-hour ride’s price may vary slightly depending on the mode of purchase, if you buy it first hand at the counter or through a travel agency. Among the well-known VIP bus services are Kriang Kai and Chitprasom.