Champasak in southwestern Laos borders with Thailand and Cambodia. Pakse is the capital established over a century ago by the French but the province takes its name from the former capital of the Kingdom of Champasak. The Mekong River forms part of the border with Thailand while Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands) to the south of the province borders with Cambodia. Our Laos travel guide suggests that Champasak is a province well worth some of your time.

There is a population of over 600,000 many small ethnic groups as well as the majority Lao people. Coffee and tea are important to the economy while fruit, rice and rubber production all have a role to play.

How to get there
There is a border crossing from Thailand through Chong Mek to Vang Tao on the Lao side through to Pakse. Those onIndochina tour packagesare likely to come over land rather than into Vientiane airport.

Champasack travel guide

Best time to visit
The most popular time to visit is after the rains finish at the end of October and before they start again in May. Transport is sometimes difficult during the monsoon rains so itineraries may need to change at the very last minute.

Things to see and do
Laos travel packages make provision for the interests of clients. Some want to experience the natural environment while other want to focus on the natural environment. Champasak offers both.

• Its cultural heritage involves ancient temple ruins and French colonial architecture. Champasak has 20 temples including Wat Phou, Wat Luang, and Wat Tham Fai.
• The Khmer ruins of Wat Phou are in the capital. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site close to the Mekong River. The ruins of other pre-Angkor monuments are nearby
• The Champasak Historical Heritage Museum in Pakse is a great place to learn more about the history of the region; some exhibits date back to the Stone Age
• Waterfalls include Liphi Waterfall at Don Khon and below where the water is calmer there is a good chance to see fresh water dolphins. The highest waterfall is Tad Fane in the Bolaven Plateau. At 120 metres while a further waterfall of interest is Khone Phapheng Falls.
• There are a number of protected areas; Xe Pian and Dong Hua Sao are both worth devoting some time to on a holiday in Laos.
• There is plenty for the birdwatcher because of the diverse terrain that includes forest, rocky islands, beaches and sand bars. Species include river and little terns, lapwings and swallows. In the forest areas there are woodpecker, peafowl and fireback

The accommodation in Pakse is in the north of the town near the river. There are guesthouses and hotels Laos tour packages will include all accommodation during the trip. There is plenty at the budget end while there are two a little special, one in a former French colonial building, Residence Sisouk Boutique Hotel and another in what was an unfinished palace, not surprisingly called the Champasak Palace Hotel.

Champasack map