Pakse, also known as the capital of Champasak Province in Southern Laos, is your gateway to the South’s most exciting tourist attractions.
Pakse is a favourite stop of tourists heading to Bolaven Plateau, Si Phan Don’s 4000 Islands, Wat Phou, and Lao Ngam not only for impressive transportation system but also because of the numerous tourist attractions ranging from natural to cultural sites. Located near the meeting point of rivers Mekong and Sidon, Pakse is a great place to enjoy a calm relaxing atmosphere, interact with friendly locals, dine in classy restaurants and bars, and indulge in pamper time in its numerous massage clinics.
They say you’ll never run out of things to see and do in Laos — this is true with Pakse’s 32 natural attractions, 7 historical sites, and 27 cultural destinations. The town is filled with many important and beautiful religious sites that include Wat Luang, Pakse’s most beautiful temple, and Wat Phabad, the temple believed to have Buddha’s footprint. Pakse is a haven for nature junkies — experience hiking, swimming, trekking with Green Discovery Laos, embark on an adventure-filled trip in the Bolaven Plateau loop, and go on a cycling trip to see the scenic outposts of Pakse. Those taking a break from sightseeing around Pakse can also enjoy traditional Lao massage from ubiquitous massage shops around the town center. On certain months, tourists flock Pakse for its Boat Race Festival — for three days, visitors can witness big boat races; buy from stalls selling authentic Lao delicacies, Lao textiles, and clothes; and take part in their various activities such as shooting air rifles.
Tourists coming from Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and Savannakhet can avail of daily flights to Pakse International Airport. For several times a week, Lao Airlines provide international flights to and from Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, and Siem Reap. Call the airline before your preferred schedule since flights are limited.
The train option from Thailand is also available. From Bangkok, take the minivan to Ubon Ratchathani Bus station then to Ubon Ratchathani train station. Airconditioned trains leave Pakse at 13:00 and cost LAK 420,000 (USD 50.40) while ordinary trains leave at 15:00 and costs LAK 320,000 (USD 38.40).
Tourists coming from Vientiane can board the one-seater bus for LAK 210,000 (USD 25.20). If you want to share with another passenger, you need to pay LAK 170,000 (USD 20.40). The journey can take up to 10 hours.
Although this is the least option, a 4-person boat trip to Pakse is possible for LAK 70,000 (USD 8.40) per person.
Laotian Kip (LAK), the currency generally accepted among Pakse establishments, come in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000, and 50000. Major banks around Pakse such as BCEL Bank and Lao Development bank offers cash advance on credit cards, cashing traveler’s cheque, and money exchange services. LDB converts LAK back to dollars. You can find several ATM services around Pakse.
No significant weather changes around Laos all year round. The best time to visit Pakse is during the dry season that starts from November to March since the temperature around this time is relatively cooler. The hot season, which can be as hot as 40 degrees Celsius, begins from March to May. Avoid traveling from May to October as rains could affect your travel plans.
Pakse is a small town and most of the things you’ll need is within walking distance. For further destinations, you can rent a tuk-tuk for LAK 3,000 to 20,000 (USD .40 – 2.40) a day. Those who want to visit Route 13, you can rent a motorcycle for LAK 20,000 (USD 3) a day.
Dishes served among Pakse restaurants are mostly Laotian. Italian and Western dishes are also served in a few restaurants in the area. A must try dining place is Banlao, a Thai-restaurant serving ant egg-goy, Thai papaya salad, and grilled-fish with herbs. Le Panorama delights its customers with mouthwatering bah neung het horm or stuffed fish cooked in banana leaves. A different cuisine is offered by Dok Mai Trattoria Italia with its salads and eggplant parmigiana.
Pakse may be a small town and is only considered a stopover by some tourists. However, it boldly shows Laos’ beautiful diversity and culture. This lovely town surrounded by endless rivers can make anyone want to visit Laos again.