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Home Laos Attractions Savannakhet

Savannakhet town is situated on the banks of the Mekong river opposite Mukdahan in Thailand.  The province bridges the country between Thailand and Vietnam and the town is a very active junction for trade between the two countries.  The town itself can be easily explored by foot and has a number of interesting temples, including Vietnamese temple and school and a large Catholic church. Much of the town's architecture is French Colonial. Numerous examples of French architecture tell of the town's importance during the colonial era.

Getting there

You can reach Savannakhet by boat from the north (Vientiane, Tha Khek) or the south (Pakse), although these services change regularly. Buses run several times a day from Vientiane, Tha Kek and Pakse.   The journey takes up to nine hours from Vientiane.

From Thailand: Savannakhet is a designated international border checkpoint, although visas are not available on entry. You will need a visa in advance or you will have to make arrangements with a tour company. The ferry from Mukdahan, in Thailand runs all day between 0830 and 1700 on weekdays, with some restrictions at weekends.

From Vietnam: The Vietnamese border town of Lao Bao can be reached 180km west of Savannakhet on Route 9.  Tourists can freely pass between Laos and Vietnam, but note that visas are required in advance by both countries.

The Hochiminh Trail

During the Vietnam war, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) used a network of trails, caves and gravel roads to move ordnance, tanks, trucks, men and provisions to South Vietnam.  The trail became known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail and its existence at the time was denied by the NVA.  The USA, on the other hand, denied saturation bombing the Trail, within Laos - with 900 sorties per day and over one million tones of explosive.

All of the jungle area of the Trail, previously destroyed with defoliants and herbicides has grown back.  It is possible to visit parts of the trail - but this must be done with a guide, since there remain tones of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the area.  Venturing off by you is not recommended!

Khanthebouly's main attractions are its noteworthy temples such as the beautiful Wat Saya Phoum and That Inghang.

That Inghang Stupa

That Inghang stupa is one of the national stupa, which is the holiest edifice in southern Laos, housing a hollow chamber with a distinguished collection of Buddha images. It was built by King Sikhotabong and located about 15 km east from the provincial capital of Khamthabouly.

That Phon stupa is one of the significant stupa since it was contracted between the years of 557 to 700. The contraction was taken quite a long time. Festival rite is annually organized in the full moon of the first month of lunar calendar to play respect to Phra Shiva and other Lords of Hinduism.

Heuanehine or Stone House, the rocky house designed by Kham people is also one of the most interesting sites in this province. Not as old as these prehistoric relicts, but of no less significance, is the northernmost example of Khmer art at Heuan Hin (stone house). The buildings were constructed between 553 AD and 700AD. Today little more than unretired ruins remain. Near Muang Phin, on the route to Vietnam, dinosaur remains are on display. A French scientist discovered them in the 1930s. Dinosaur Exhibition Hall is situated in Khanthabouly, the capital city of the  province. Daily opened from 8.00 to12.00, and afternoon from 13.00 to 16.00, starting from Monday to Friday.

Hortai (Wat Nonglamchan village) is the old wooden building where the Buddha's words have been kept.

One of the tourist attractions in Savannakhet is the beautiful waterfall.