Pakse Town

Pakse (ປາກເຊ), the gateway to southern Laos, sits at the confluence of the Mekong and the Se Don river. The city retains the sort of Mekong River–town lethargy found in Savannakhet and Tha Khaek further north. Several colonial-era buildings remain, do look for the grandiose, Franco-Chinese-style Chinese Society building in the centre of town.

This capital city of the province of Champasak is Southern Laos’ trade and transportation hub, connecting with Bangkok to the west, Da Nang to the east and Phnom Penh to the south. At first sight, Pakse seems to be simply a gateway to other places, but there is more to it than meets the eye.

Once you are here, take some time and explore the hidden treasures of Pakse. If you wander around a little, you’ll soon discover old French Colonial Buildings, a Vietnamese quarter, Buddhist and Chinese temples and an old Catholic church, or you can sit and have a freshly brewed Bolaven Coffee or Lao tea while watching people and life go by.

Why not rent a bicycle and follow some of the proposed routes in and around Pakse? Or simply take a tuk tuk up the hill to the big golden Buddha at “Wat Phou Salao” for a stunning view over the Mekong and the town. The light is particularly beautiful in the late afternoon hours, not only from the mountain, but also from one of the boat restaurants on the Mekong River or from a rooftop, where you are able to have dinner or just a drink as you watch the sun go down.

For those who like the early morning hours, a visit to the bustling morning market (Daoheuang market), is recommended, and if you haven’t tried out the “Samlor”, a motorcycle with a side-car, then this could be the moment to go for a ride. For a quiet shopping experience, visit one of the handicraft shops in the centre of town. In the woods, about 7km out of town, is the newly opened Art Gallery with a small café offering relaxing views of the forest.

Pakse history
During the French colonial period at the beginning of the 20th century, Pakse became the capital of Champasak Province. The old quarter is located in the bend of the Sedone River where you can still see a few remaining buildings from that period.

How to get there:
There are many ways to get to Pakse, please find more information in the Transport section. In town it is easy to find a tuk tuk or "Samlor", a motorcycle with a side-car, during the day. If you prefer to drive by yourself then there are bicycles, motorbikes and cars for rent.

Where to stay:
There is a variety of accommodation in all price ranges please find more information in the Accommodation section.

Where to eat:
You can find Lao, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian, Korean, and European food. There are also small street noodle shops, floating boat restaurants, a rooftop terrace restaurant, hotel restaurants with family kitchens or buffet lunches, and cafes with bakeries.

Background-pictures (Total of 12 illustrations)

Similar activities in other areas in Southern Laos