Pakse is the provincial capital of the Champasak Province, Laos. This is also the most populous city (around 80,000 people there) in the province, and the second most populous city in Laos. Amongst the Thai-like towns in Laos, Pakse is the top one. The city preserves lots of incredible highlights for tourism, and any tour to Laos cannot be complete if you miss Pakse.
About Pakse in Champasak, Laos
Pakse, in Laotian language, means “mouth of the River Se.” The city is settled at the confluence of Xe Don River and Mekong River. Pakse used to be the capital of the Kingdom of Champasak, erected by French colonists in 1905, until the unification with the whole Laos in 1946. Nowadays, this pretty city attracts the holidaymakers and backpackers to stop by it before they head towards Champasak. Functioning as the wonderful base to Champasak, Pakse owns several remarkable attractions, from the renowned Bolaven Plateau to the historical Xe Don River Bridge and the sacred Wat Luang and Wat Phabad. The construction of Pakse International Airport helps connect Pakse to Siem Reap, Vientiane, and Bangkok, which increases the position of Pakse in Laos’s tourism maps. Often, people just need to spend one day on exploring the little city of Pakse as most of the highlights are gathered in the central regions. Though Pakse is in a small size, it is incredibly charming and appealing.
The Not-to-miss Attractions in Pakse
French Bridge on Xe Don River
The Bridge was erected on the west of Pakse city, over the Xe Don River, during the French colonial era. This is the fascinating attraction that tells much about the history of Pakse as well as the significance of the historical bridge. It traversed by the Highway 13. So, you’ll be likely to meet the French Bridge along the route to discover the little city. The long-lasting combination of the Bridge and Xe Don River offers the stunning landscapes. People often come there to view the sights, hang out with friends, or simply walk and touch it.
Wat Luang Temple
Believably, Wat Luang is the most attractive temple in Pakse. It was erected in 1935, on the banks of Xe Don River, offering the fascinating look. The antique library, the astonishing wall paintings, and the intricate sculptures characterize Wat Luang. These age-old elements will amaze the new guests at the first sights, and none can deny the fact that this temple preserves the religious remnants and fanciful decorations of hundreds of years ago. Beautiful and holy, Wat Luang is the popular venue for many Buddhists and visitors who come to worship and contemplate the interior.
Wat Phabad Temple
While Wat Luang is the most beautiful temple, Wat Phabad is the oldest temple in Pakse. Besides, Wat Phabad is where the Buddhist Monk School of Champasak is situated. There exist several spiritual rumors about this ancient temple. For example, that said, the temple protects the footprint of the Lord Buddha. Being larger than Wat Luang, Wat Phabad sometimes looks more impressive and recognizable from afar. The age-old and attractive structures of the little stupas in this temple are said to be the funerary monuments, according to the experts. The locals of Pakse take Wat Phabad with proud, and they advise the visitors to respect it.
Champasak Provincial Museum and the Stadium of Pakse
If you are keen on the culture of Champa in Pakse, take it easy to visit the Champasak Provincial Museum, situated on Highway 13. This is not the big museum, but very important. Here, you find the collection of artifacts Champa civilization including textiles, jewelry, and bronze, which are on exhibition from 8:30 to 16:00. The entrance fee to this museum should be around 10,000 kips. So, come to Champasak Provincial Museum to fulfill your history curiosity about the Champa right in Pakse!
The other interesting attraction to see in Pakse should include Stadium Pakse. The Stadium is located on the outskirts of Pakse and has the capacity of 5000 audiences. At present, this stadium is regularly played and visited by the football lovers. Together with the modest stadium ground, this attraction covers a gym. As a result, Stadium Pakse is mostly crowded by both football spectators and the gym members. You can come there to take pictures of the significant museum of Pakse and spend minutes being the spectators if wanted.
Two Best Places of Interest around Pakse
Bolaven Plateau is the most eminent tourist spot around Pakse, which is famous for growing one of the most high-quality Arabica coffees all over the world. Together with Arabica coffees, this Plateau also gains fame for the incredible waterfall whose stream starts at the height of 100m, in the midst of the lush jungle. Broadly speaking, Bolaven Plateau is home to many picturesque waterfalls, hill-tribe villages, the dense jungle, and the intact scenery. To talk about Bolaven, it prefers to the Arabica coffee plantation and the dramatic waterfalls. Provided that you take a motorcycle trip to this tourist spot, it is exciting to discover the highlights in a full manner.
The second most significant attraction around Pakse is Wat Phou, where to learn the history, spirituality, and architecture in Pakse. In Laotian language, Wat Phou means “Temples on the Mountains.” In fact, Pakse covers the ruins of Khmer civilization (built from the 5th century to the 13th century); some parts of the temples are in the style of the Angkor temples in Cambodia, with the linga statues. Traveling to Pakse, Wat Phou is a must to see. It is the second world heritage of Laos. The temple itself is antique and beautifully architectural, while the surroundings of mountain and waterfall are impressive. Nonetheless, due to the constant test of time, Wat Phou today is not as magnificent as it used to be. The temples face the problems of going down that urges for reservation. The long-lasting walls are about to fall. But the holy atmosphere here seems to last forever. People still come to worship and burn incenses. After the actual visit in Wat Phou, you will never forget the feelings of stepping on the steep stones, the grandeur of the temples, and especially the holy water that runs endlessly over 1000 years.
How to Get to Pakse
Due to the travelers’ budget and schedule, they can get to Pakse by the convenient flights, the memorable boats, or the scenic driving route. See hereunder useful tips selected by travel agency in Laos !
It’s convenient to have flights from Vientiane or Siem Reap (Cambodia) to Pakse International Airport. Bangkok (Thailand) and Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi Capital) also have the direct flights to this city via Lao Airlines.
You can take the slow-boat services from Si Phan Don at 08:00 to be dropped off at Xe Don River. Otherwise, check if Mekong River Cruises has the itinerary to Pakse before you book!
Pakse has the bus services to both the north and the south of the city. Just take a tuk-tuk to arrive at the bus station in Champasak and then ask the bus driver to take you right to Pakse. The other alternative is to hire a motorbike and drive it from Champasak to Pakse if you prefer flexibility during the journey.