Champasak is a small, charming town in southern Laos, on the west bank of the Mekong River about 30 km south of Pakse, the capital of Champasak Province. The town was once the seat of the Kingdom of Champasak, an independent Lao state which was abolished by the French in 1945 when they created the Kingdom of Laos by combining the then three Kingdoms of Laos (Champasak, Vientiane and Luang Prabang) into one. You can still find French style colonial houses from this era, some of which are currently still owned and occupied by the descendants of the last Royal family of Champasak. The town of Champasak consists of one long street that runs for 5 km along the banks of the Mekong and is a combination of smaller villages or “Bans”, all with their own temple.
In and around Champasak
The majority of the guest houses, restaurants and other businesses that cater to tourists, are located in the area around the tourist information centre. Here you can also find two atm’s and one local bank branch. During high season, you will be able to attend a shadow puppet theatre / open air movie theatre with traditional live music performed by locals, this is certainly worth a visit
The famous and UNESCO world heritage site of Wat Phou is located only 10km from Champasak and can be easily reached on a good road, either by car, tuktuk, motorcycle or bicycle. On the way to Wat Phou you will pass multiple temples and the old city walls which are less visited.
DON DAENG ISLAND
In the Mekong, parallel to Champasak, you can find the Island of Don Daeng. This peaceful and small island is ideal for a walk or bicycle ride along its country path. During your visit, you will be able to see traditional Buddhist temples, basket weaving villages, and a protected forest which houses an ancient stupa.
The tranquil town of Champasak is also a perfect base to explore the rest of the province and region as it provides easy access to the 4,000 Islands and the Bolaven Plateau. The international airport at Pakse gives easy acces to the rest of Laos and the neighbouring countries (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand).