Category Archives: Pakse

Champasak Province

Champasak Lao: ຈຳປາສັກ [càmpàːsák]) is a province in southwestern Laos, near the borders with Thailand and Cambodia. It covers an area of 15,415 square kilometres (5,952 sq mi). It is bordered by Salavan Province to the north, Sekong Province to the northeast, Attapeu Province to the east, Cambodia to the south, and Thailand to the west.

Champasak Province from Done Daeng Island

Champasak Province from Done Daeng Island

Champasak has played a central role in the history of Siam and Laos, with frequent battles taking place in and around Champasak. Its rich cultural heritage includes ancient temple ruins and French colonial architecture. Champasak has some 20 Wats (temples), such as Wat Phou, Wat Luang, Wat Phu Salao, and Wat Tham Fai. Freshwater dolphins, the coffee plantations on Bolaven Plateau and the province’s many waterfalls are tourist attractions.[1]

Champasak Province from Wat Phou

Champasak Province from Wat Phou

Reaching your destination from the capital city of Pakse is relatively easy whether you choose to drive yourselves (as we did) or to take a guided tour. We didn’t spend much time in Pakse itself, preferring to use it as a base for our other adventures. One town worth visiting is Pakxong. No, there is nothing much there and that is because the Americans carpet bombed the city twice during the Vietnam war and practically obliterated the entire town. What you see now has been largely rebuilt from the rubble and demonstrates the hardy character of the Laos people.

Wat Thomo Ruins

Wat Thomo Ruins

The ruins of Uo Moung (Thomo Temple), the 9th century Khmer style temple that resides in the forest on the mainland to the southwest of Done Daeng Island, is worth the entry fee of 10,000kip. Not much is kn0wn about the temple except that it is is considered to be the female counterpart to the Temple of Shiva at Wat Phou, as an inscription indicates that it was dedicated to Rudrani, the shakti of Shiva. Unfortunately these ruins are busy being consumed by the foliage so you may want to see it before it is too late 😉

At the southern end of the province are the 4,000 islands that cater for all manner of tourism from those that are always on the get go, to those that want to experience traditional Laos culture. We visited the islands of Don Khone, Don Det and Done Daeng during our stay and had remarkably different experiences at each one.

Champasak Province is a beautiful part of Laos and definitely worth a visit.

Champasak Province from Wat Sa Lao

Champasak Province from Wat Sa Lao

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Wikipdeia – Champasak Province – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champasak_Province Accessed 29th Oct 2015

Phu Salao – The Golden Buddha

Just outside of the city of Pakse and across the Lao-Nippon Bridge aka the ‘Japanese bridge’ is Phu Salao, the temple of the Golden Buddha. We took 35 students there (average age around 14) in October and then had to convince them to climb the stairs :-/

What started off as a tribute to Led Zeppelin soon became a real challenge when the concrete stairway to heaven became termite infested wood, with rusty nails and missing planks. Anyway, courage and perseverance prevailed and we not only made it up but back down again unscathed.

Seriously though, the climb is worth it for the serenity and the view.