Sayabouly has the largest number of elephants in Laos, which are commonly used to carry heavy items to and from fields and forest. In Hongsa District, elephant riding tours can be arranged and a visit to the Lao Elephant Conservation Center is a nice half-day trip. Also of interest in Hongsa is Wat Simoungkhoun with its astonishing collection of Buddha images and the old city walls of an ancient settlement whose history is shrouded in mystery. In Sayabouly town, located on the banks of the Nam Houng River, and a beautiful backdrop of green fields and the Pha Xang Mountain range. are Wat Sibounheuang with its ancient foundations dating back to the 16th century or perhaps earlier; Wat Siphandon with its unique diamond-shaped stupa and Wat Sisavangvong. Between Vientiane and Sayabouly town is Paklay, a small town located on the Mekong River banks with French colonial buildings, traditional Lao-style wooden houses.