Savannakhét is the largest province in Laos, connected to nearby Thailand to the west over the Second Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge. Its capital of the same name is the second largest city in Laos after Vientiane and the centre of the country’s trading with both Thailand and Vietnam.
The Province is an important tobacco producer but has more to offer; copper and gold.The French used the Mekong for transport and the River is still important for that today.
Our Laos tour guide naturally includes Savannakhet as one of the most important provinces in the country.
How to get there
There is an airport with direct flights to and from Vientiane which is often the starting point for Laos travel packages. There is also a domestic connection with Pakse and international ones to Bangkok.
There are buses from Vientiane that take 9 hours though it is a great way to see the countryside. In addition the bus to the Vietnam border takes 5 hours.Indochina tour packagescross several borders.
Best time to visit
May to October is monsoon season until the weather becomes dry and cooler. By March for a few weeks it gets hotter until the rains arrive once more.
Things to see and do
Religious sites include:
• The 2000 year old Wat Inghang temple in the Ban Thad village.
• The Wat Xayaphoum temple in Xayaphoum village on the Mekong River was built in the middle of the 16th Century.
• Heuan Hin ("stone house") is a shrine honouring the Sikhottabong Kingdom.
• The That Phon Stupais 6th Century.
• St Teresa's Catholic Church is in the main square.
The Dinosaur Museum has fossils were excavated from Xonbouly; Pode, Iguanodon and Sauropode were the three types found.The fossil sites in the Province are plentiful; five in fact. Tang Vay is thought to be 110 million years old and was discovered in the 1930s. The Provincial Museum exhibits many of the fossils as well as war relics, houseware and bronze drums from the Dong Son culture.
One reason for visiting the province however is not manmade:
• Eco-tourism treks are great and better still to get a homestay. There are plenty of forests and tribal villages as well as a lake, Nong Lom, where there are flora and fauna to enjoy.
Savannakhet has a number of festivals:
• That Phon Festival is three days and nights in February at full moon.
• Boun Heuan Hin is a month later and is held to commemorate ancestors.
• Boun Pee Mai Lao is the National New Year in April
• Rocket Festival has traditional dancing, an elephant parade and a rocket competition between villages. It is held in May.
• Boat Racing Festival celebrates the Mekong as a source of life and is held at the end of the rainy season in October.
• Ing Hang Stupa Festival is a celebration of Buddha each December.
There is plenty of accommodation for those on holiday in Laos. It includes guesthouses and hostels as well as hotels in every price range. Our Laos travel guide hopefully provides enough information to get tourists thinking about adding this country into their plans.