Pakse, Champasak & Wat Phou

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The province of Champasak is home to one of Asia’s least visited but greatest temples, Wat Phou. Believed to have been built in the 6th century as a tribute to the Hindu god Shiva, it has also been said by some scholars to have been the blueprint for Angkor Wat and other temples in modern day Cambodia. Wat Phou, although small in comparison with its counter parts in Cambodia, more than delivers as the elaborate shiva-lingam sanctuary, mysterious crocodile stone and overgrown feel all add to the spiritual and mystical atmosphere. The energetic may walk up the hill to the upper platform where you will be afforded wonderful views of the Mekong River plain.

There are dozens of other lesser temple sites dotted about the area including the fascinating Wat Oum Muong located just across the Mekong River. The whole area was given UNESCO World Heritage status in 2001.

On the confluence of the Mekong and the Sedone River, Pakse is the most important city in Southern Laos. This small city has a mixture of Chinese and French architecture and some lively markets.

Champassak itself was once the seat of royalty, but is now merely a slumbering backwater which has lost any sense of purpose, making it a relaxing and delightful borough to explore at leisure.

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