In the very south of landlocked Laos lies Champasak province, which sits on the borders of both Thailand and Cambodia. The mighty Mekong River flows through the 6000 square mile province, which plays host to an impressive history and offers a range of impressive sights for the visitor, including some of the world's widest waterfalls, unspoilt forests teeming with wildlife, and the impressive Bolaven Plateau, which extends some 1500 km above sea level and has the perfect climate in which to grow and produce some of the world's best coffee beans.
Champasak was once its own kingdom and has played an important role in the history of not only Laos, but also the entire Southeast Asia region. It was the site of many a battle between ancient armies, but is nowadays serene and peaceful, and considered one of the region's undiscovered treasures. The nearby Xe Pian National Protected Area is listed as one of Asia's most significant areas of natural biodiversity and visitors can make the most of the natural surroundings by taking treks into the surrounding forest, whether on foot or perched on the back of an elephant. Archaeological expeditions are also part of the appeal in this area, with ruins accessible for those with a passion for historical remnants.
Perhaps the biggest attraction in the Champasak region is the old ruins of Wat Phu, a striking temple built in the Khmer style. The name translates literally to “temple mountain”, and the nearby mountains create stunning vistas that add to the site's incredible natural beauty. Although the march of time, not to mention greedy tomb robbers, have certainly taken its toll on the complex, this is still a unique, historical site and not to be missed by visitors to the region.
Champasak is easily accessible, either on the main highway from Thailand at the Chong Mek border crossing, which plays host to an impressive outdoor market or from the main cities in Laos. The town of Pakse is the largest town in the province and boasts a small international airport as well as a bridge over the Mekong River that allows for direct access with Ubon Ratchatani. From there, trains, buses and planes link direct with Bangkok. Paperwork need not be a concern at the border, as travellers can obtain Lao visas on entry and despite its relative remoteness, there are very few tales of scams or robberies in the region. Money changing is also largely unnecessary as Thai baht and American dollars are widely accepted in Laos, and in some cases more so than the local currency, the kip.
In terms of both natural and historical attractions, Champasak is one the most diverse and fascination region's in Laos and is therefore fast becoming one of the country's most popular adventure destinations.
Original source http://www.vatphou.com/champasak.html
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