Champasak Travel Attractions
General Information about Champasak province
Located : A southernmost province bordering on Thailand and Cambodia.
Total Area : 15,415 square meters
Population : 600,000
10 Districts : Pakse, Sanasomboun, Bachiangchaleunsouk, Pakxong, Pathoumphone, Phonthong, Champasack, Sukhuma, Mounlapamok and Khong
Capital : Pakse
Fading French colonial architecture and ancient temple ruins make Champasack a place to see evidence of the rich cultural heritage of Laos. Rare freshwater dolphins and powerful waterfalls feature among the highlights to be seen in the provinceâ€™s nature. Its geographical condition creates one of the most beautiful tourist sites in Laos.
Champasack has a population of about 600,000 including Lowland Lao, Highland Lao, Khmers and many unique ethnic minority groups. The province is also famous for the production of Lao coffee, tea, rattan, and other agricultural produces.
The distance from Vientiane to Pakse, the provincial capital of Champasackis 610 kilometers by Route 13 (south) via the provinces of Borikhamxay, Khammouane, Savannakhet and saravane.
Located at the confluence of the Xedone and the Mekong Rivers, Pakse links trade and travel between Thailand to Cambodia and Vietnam. Founded as an administrative outpost by the French in 1905, the town retains much of its colonial legacy and architecture. The Champasack Historical Heritage Museum offers a good introduction to Lao history, culture and art.
A small town located on the Right Bank of the Mekong River shares a common border with Thailand. It formed one of the three principalities of the Lane Xang Empire in 1349 and was under the region of King Fa Ngum. Visitors to the famous Wat Amath can observe treasures dating back to stone age.
Wat Phou Champasack (The second World Heritage Site in Laos)
Certainly the highlight of any visit to Champasack Province is the ancient Khmer Temple of Wat Phou. Situated on the Phou Kao (mountains) slope 6 kilometers away from Champasack District and about 45 kilometers from south of Pakse along the Mekong River. It is also important as an historic and cultural site and was acknowledged by UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) as a World Heritage Site on December 14, 2001 (the second World Heritage site in Laos)
Wat Phou, a complex of temple buildings constructed in Khmer style overlooking the Mekong is both impressive and inspiring. It is recognized as one of the most important Hindu sanctuaries of Cambodiaâ€™s Khmer Empire, which was in place between the 9th to 13th Centuries and is the largest example of Khmer Architecture in southern Laos. On the same site, ruins dating from pre-Angor times have also been identified.
On the moonmoon of the third lunar month, usually during February and before celebrations at Angor, Champasack celebrates the traditional Wat Phou Festival at the ruins. Festivities include elephant racing, cock fighting and performances of traditional Lao music and dancing.
Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands)
The breathtaking Si Phan Don or Four Thousand Islands are located in a section of the Mekong River just north of the border with Cambodia. Don Khong is the largest island and boasts a number of small villages, temples and caves. A French-built Bridge remaining from a now defunct railway connects the two smaller islands of Don Deth and Don Khon.
Pakha, freshwater dolphins of the Mekong
The center for protection and conservation of freshwater Dolphins is located on the border of Laos-Cambodia. The freshwater dolphins are called â€œPakhaâ€ in Lao, and inhabit only this part of the Mekong River. Tourists can observe the endangered freshwater dolphins by chartering boats from either Ban Khon or Ban Veunkham (located at the southern tip of the islands).
Located on Don Khon, west of Ban Khon Village, Liphi Waterfall is another amazing natural site to visit in Champasack Province. A calmer section of the river below the falls forms a natural habitat for the endangered fresh water dolphins.
Khon Phapheng Waterfall.
East of Don Khon on the Mekong River is the jewel of Champasack Province. Further downstream, the Mekong cascades across a wide mouth of rock which slopes in curvilinear pattern is sometimes tinted by rainbow. Itâ€™s the Lao Niagara, the widest waterfall of Asia, more than 20 kilometers width. A place where the Mekong River takes a drop before continuing its course into the South China Sea via Cambodia and Vietnam. Itâ€™s also renowned as a fish basin. These spectacular waterfalls render this section of the Mekong River unavailable.
Tad Fane Waterfall
This natural tourism site is located within the Dong Hua Sao, a National Biodiversity Conservation Area at Ban Lak 38 along Route 16 from Pakse toward Pakxong District. The Champi and Prakkoot streams, which originate in the Boloven Plateau at some 1,000 meters abovesea level, come together to create the Tad Fane Waterfall. The real beauty of this waterfall stems from the two branches of the stream dividing town its steep cliffs. An endless flow of water is created and if windy, the mist sprays and rainbows are spectacular.
The waterfall set among the blue skies and evergreen forest, creates one of most hypnotizing views. The endless cool breeze helps capture a full taste of nature. It is a deal spot for tourists to relax and enjoy nature. Although it is not possible to reach the waterfall to swim, the view is an unforgettable experience.
Wat Phou Asa
Wat Phou Asa is an ancient Hindu-Khmer pagoda. It was built on flat rock on Phou Kao Klat Ngong Mount in Pathoumphone District. In recent times it has become a well-known National Heritage and Amazing Site. To visit this pagoda, travel along Route 13 (south) from Pakse. Once arriving at Km 38, turn left to Route 18B and travel about 8 kilometers to Ban Klat Ngong Village. It is then a further 2 kilometers walk to the pagoda.
Historically, it was built by the Khmers with worshipping links to Wat Phou Champasack. Despite the pagoda being in a damaged stage, it is still an important archeological site where visitors are welcome. Archeologists have surveyed the site and are preparing for restoration. It is hoped that Wat Phou Asa will be preserved shortly so that remains part of Lao Cultural Heritage forever.
Tormor Rocky Channel
Tormor Rocky Channel was listed as the 15th National Heritage Site in Laos receiving approval via Prime Ministerâ€™s Degree 174/PMO at the same time as Wat Phou Champasack. The Tormor Rocky Channel archeological site is located about 11 kilometers southeast from Wat Phou Champasack on the left bank of the Mekong River.
The Tormor Rocky House, as is known by the locals, was originally built in the 19th Century with bricks and carved stone during the 7th and 8th Centuries. These were later destroyed with the Gopuya artwork now on display built with layered rocks in the 11th and 12th Centuries.
Columns of sanstone rock stand along both sides of a walkway. Although in a ruined state, a large chamber with front and rear doors and windows on two sides can be observed on the site. According to inscriptions, historians have concluded that the channel is a close relation to Wat Phou Champasack