Located at the confluence of the Mekong River and the Se Don River in the south of Laos this historic town is one of the best places to experience the true, laid back feeling of Laos. A modest, and distinctly relaxed provincial capital. Pakse is the largest town in Champasak Province and served by its own international airport with a bridge over the Mekong River that makes access overland easy for visitors from Thailand with direct access via Ubon Ratchatani where buses, trains and planes link with Bangkok. just a 2 hour bus trip away depending on time taken at the border crossing.
Pakse is commonly known as the gateway to the Bolaven Plateau, which is famous for its cool climate, dramatic waterfalls, fertile soils and excellent coffee plantations. During the Second World War, the Bolaven Plateau was one of the most heavily bombed areas of Indochina. Today, coffee and fruit farmers cultivate the safe areas and cardamon production is also fairly common. The views from the plateau are nothing short of breathtaking and a trip to the area feels like a total escape from the world.
Pakse has developed into something of a commercial hub for southern Laos thanks to the bridge link to Ubon Ratchatani. The town is home to 70,000 people and has established itself increasingly amongst travellers wishing to escape the beaten track. Hotels and guesthouses are springing up as tourist numbers increase, and while the options are not as wide as in Luang Prabang, there is something on offer to suit most tastes.
Activities in the city itself include a visit to the Champasak Historical Heritage Museum where visitors can learn about the history of the area, which has played such an important role in the history of Siam and Laos, from past kingdoms to French colonial occupation and the Second World War, For the culturally inclined, Wat Phou is a stunning Khmer temple complex located at the base of Mount Phu Kao. The location has housed temples since the 5th century but the surviving structures on display today are mainly from the 11th to 13th centuries. Part of the Khmer empire, the temple remains a centre for Theravada Buddhism.
Located in the midst of stunning natural surroundings close to rivers and mountains and playing an important religious and historical role in the region, Pakse is a fabulous less visited Asian destination and an attractive alternative to the more touristy places in Laos.
Original source http://www.vatphou.com/pakse_laos.html
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