Champasak might stand out as a must-see destination in the laid-back Laos if you come across some fantastic pictures of Bolaven Plateau or Wat Phou Temple Complex – the two national tourist highlights here. The province has much to offer, and any Laos’s tour become incomplete if you ignore Champasak.
About Champasak in Laos
Champasak (also spelled Champassak or Champasack) is a nice destination in the southwest of Laos. Its capital is Pakse, situated at the confluence of the Mekong and Sedon Rivers. It shares the international border with Thailand and Cambodia to the west and the south respectively. The national border includes Salavan Province to the north, Attapeu Province to the east, and Sekong Province to the northeast. The destination might become recognizable for the relaxing pace of life in which people live harmoniously with each other, and with nature. The highlights of temple ruins, French colonial buildings, cultural heritages, and nature make Champasak attractive for tourism. The local waterfalls are the great natural attractions for ecotourism while its antique temples of Wat Phou or Wat Tham Fai are ideal for the historical and religious journey. Some travelers might love to watch the valuable freshwater dolphins here, but you might need the luck to see them.
What to See in Champasak
The provincial capital Pakse is small, but it’s charming with several unique and fantastic attractions. It was found in 1905 by French. If you stop by Pakse, make sure you don’t miss French Bridge on Xe Don River, Wat Luang Temple, Wat Phabad Temple, Champasak Museum, and Stadium of Pakse! The one-day city tour is enough for you to take pictures of the historical bridge, visit the revered temples and the famous museum, and spend time being the spectators in the stadium with the capacity of 5000 audiences here. With lots of lovely charm, it’s impossible that you leave Pakse without the fascinating photo album. Just come for the real experience, touch, and feel. Read more about Pakse Laos here !
The attraction of Khone Phapheng is the largest waterfall of Southeast Asia. You can reach this magnetic waterfall by road or by boat. The green and relaxing scenery enchants every guest with the wild beauty, from the lush forest to the mighty water flowing over the edge of the high cliff to fall into a pool. Many people have come and cherished the mightiness of Khone Phapheng, and it leaves them with the memorable experience. Some individuals even visualize that their life worries and anxieties are swept away by the mighty flow. Every incomparable natural element makes this waterfall a landmark to see in Champasak.
Wat Phou Temple Complex
Wat Phou (meaning “Temples on the Mountains”) is the impressive archaeological ruin in the south of Pakse. It is where to learn about the Khmer architecture (from the 5th to the 13th century) and Hindu belief. The structures might be at least 200 years older than Angkor Wat. The religious complex includes antique temple ruins which were inscribed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. The landscape is beautiful with waterfall and mountain, which makes Wat Phou mysterious and inspiring. However, the ravage of time drives the ruins to face problems of going down: the walls are about to fall, which urges for the need of reservation. But the consecrated atmosphere remains that attract people to do worshipping. The moments you step on the steep stones, you will be amazed at the impressive temples, and especially, the revered water running continuously over 1000 years. Know that the Wat Phou Festival is the big event attracting crowds from Lao-Thai-Cambodia region! The festival often takes place at the 3rd full moon of Buddhist lunar calendar (usually in February).
Bolaven Plateau is famous for Arabica coffee. Besides, the gorgeous plateau has the highlights of the enchanting waterfalls with the height of 100m in middle of the lush jungle, the hill-tribe villages, and the intact lakes. Nature in Bolaven remains so wild and beautiful that can take you to a distinct world where to find happiness from the simplest things. The plateau is best discovered by a motorbike, but it’s also exciting to trekking through the thick forest to approach the dreamlike waterfalls. The cascading green water is the big magnet attracting your eyes for hours. Read more about Bolovan Plateau here !
The Xe Pian National Protected Area
With an area of 2,400 square kilometers in the southeast of Champasak, the Xe Pian National Protected Area is a green paradise for you to stay friendly to nature in a complete manner. Rich in biodiversity, this protected region lets you see the deciduous forest, the wetlands, and a variety of fauna and flora. The ecotourism activities in this wild site include bird watching, elephant riding, trekking, and homestay in the local villages. While sightseeing is perfect in a fresh, bewitching atmosphere, you can refresh the mind and regain the lost energy as stress has no place here. Ensure that your camera is ready to shoot the great shots!
Si Phan Don (4000 Islands)
This is a riverine archipelago in the Mekong River. With stunning 4000 islands, the destination becomes a wonderful choice for a boat trip in Champasak, and the greatest sites are Don Khong (the largest), Don Det, and Don Khon. Each of the islands in the captivating complex is dotted with waterfall, beach, French buildings, and Irrawaddy dolphins. This is a destination for “picture-perfect” perspective as well as relaxation. The atmosphere is laid-back, fresh, and spectacular enough to become a shelter where to live at a slow pace. The walking trails and villages in the islands bring you to a rustic world in which happiness is of the simple things.
How to Get to Champasak Laos
Champasak in Laos is served by Pakse International Airport. There are domestic flights to this province from Vientiane or Luang Prabang. Also, Thailand (Bangkok) and Vietnam (Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City) provide flights to the city of Pakse. Once arriving at Pakse, you decide where and how to reach the desired attraction.
It’s possible to take the slow-boat services from Si Phan Don to the provincial capital of Pakse. Otherwise, Mekong River Cruises might offer this service for the interested passengers, so just call to check it out!
You can use bus service to the north and south of Champasak. Besides, tuk-tuk, taxi, and motorbike are the popular means of transport to reach the destination from the nearby places. Make sure you know the distance between your area and Champasak so that you know if the charge is high or not. For example, the Hanoi (Vietnam) – Pakse distance is 1,071km via Nampao border, and Bangkok (Thailand) – Pakse distance is 850km.
When to Visit Champasak of Laos
- May – October: This is a rainy season in Champasak which showers the province with the heavy rainfall, especially from July to September. The rainy condition might become unideal for somebody that loves the outdoor activities. But the rain makes the boat trip along Mekong River most memorable and authentic. Therefore, the travelers should consider the ups and downs of this period before they decide.
- November – April: This is the dry season in the province, and the two hottest months are March and April. Generally speaking, November to January is the best time to visit Champasak with the comfortable daytime temperature and slightly cool night. The temperature begins to climb from February and reach its peak in April.