From the ancient Vat Phou temple, to the colonial mansions and the old Lao stilt houses, life seems pretty much the same as it was a century ago. A town situated between the Mekong river and the Phou Kao mountains, it was once a prosperous city of the Champasak Kingdom that formed one-third of Laos back in 1713.
Located 10 kilometers from the city center, Vat Phou is an impressive Khmer temple even older than its cousin Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The unique layout of Khmer architecture gained it the UNESCO World Heritage label in 2001. According to historians, Vat Phou is a good example of landscape planning and engineering which reflects the religious beliefs and economic approaches of both ancient Khmer architecture and the Hindu religion. Vat Phou later on was converted to a Buddhist sanctuary and remains so to this day.
Although Vat Phou is the main attraction in the area, the tranquility and atmosphere of the location is an attraction all on its own. To thoroughly appreciate its ambiance, rent a bike or take a leisurely stroll through the town’s single road.