Thakhek is an attractive little town in Khammouane province, in south-central Laos, on the mighty Mekong River, and facing the famous Nakhon Phanom of Thailand, which calls tourists to search for quickest ways to get to Thakhek Laos. The highlights of this town include the French colonial-style buildings, shops, and villas, which establish the interestingly unique look. A special trait to know is that around 85% of the town population was Vietnamese because of the old French policy of stimulating Vietnamese immigrants to Laos. If you want to get there prior to anybody, here are some ways.
Get to Thakhek by buses
A bus is the main kind of transport to get to Thakhek throughout the year. In particular, you can catch a bus between Nakhon Phanom and Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge which will take around 90 minutes (covering the time spent crossing the international border). This is also one of the quickest and easiest border crossings between Laos and Thailand. So, head to this bus station if you want to travel to Thakhek from Nakhon Phanom of Thailand. From Vietnam, there are buses to Thakhek, which can start from Dong Hoi, Hanoi, Ha Tinh, Hue, and Vinh; so, the duration is due to your starting point. For the exact departure time, it’s always best to check at the bus stations.
And if you travel to Thakhek within Laos, you can use the bus services from Attapeu, Paksan, Salavan, Savannakhet, Xieng Khoune, and Sekong. Arriving at the bus station sooner a bit so that you can clarify the prices and schedules. What’s more, if you are in a destination along Route 12 or Route 8 of Laos, it’s likely to catch the small local buses to Thakhek as well.
However, the duration would be hours if you start from the northern parts of Laos, namely Vientiane. It takes the 7-hour bus ride from Vientiane to Thakhek which sounds quite long for some tourists. The time would be even more if your place is from Pakse that will result in the 10-hour bus ride. Understand that the time can also be extended due to the weather condition as well as the number of frequent stops along the journey.
You can also visit Thakhek easily in a Laos custom tour.
If you take a local bus from Vientiane, expect that it would take around 7 hours. But if you use the sleeping bus (around 11:00 PM), the ride would be around 7-9 hours. One more option is the VIP Bus for a transfer of around 5 hours.
From Pakse and Savannakhet
Some tourists choose to fly from their places, particularly in Pakse, to Savannakhet and then catch a bus to Thakhek that only takes 2-3 hours. Generally, this is the quickest way to travel to Thakhek but it covers the airfare that might be not ideal for the tight-budget travelers. So if budget allows, you can try taking a flight to Savannakhet, and then the 3-hour bus or minivan to Thakhek; people have been voting for this way.
What to do in Thakhek
When you get there before everyone does, make sure you visit the top landmarks of Khammouane Museum, Wat Si Khottabong, Lak Sao town, Konglor Cave, etc., and taste the iconic food of Laos such as “Lap” and Khao niao mon” (Lao sticky rice with the mango-and-durian flavor). Also, it’s beautiful to join the local’s laid-back lifestyle, and mingle with them to feel their friendliness. And, before you go, note that October – March is the best time to go to Thakhek if you prefer the comfortable weather conditions, without rain (June – August) or scorching heat (April – May).
Tourist communities have been visiting Thakhek, and they are all pleased to get there, in which the ancient colonial buildings are well mixed with the beautiful townscape and laid-back lifestyle.