CHAMPASAK PROVINCE – The Home To Wat Phu
hampasak is the southernmost province of Laos and it shares borders with Thailand, Cambodia and the Lao provinces of Attapeu and Saravanh. It’s history dates back to its participation in the Funan and Chenla empires between the 1st and 9th century AD.
Between the 10th and 13th century it became part of the Cambodian Angkor empire while after the decline of Angkor (15th to late 17th century) it was enfolded into the Lan Xang kingdom.
It became an independent Lao kingdom at the beginning of the 18th century even if it had only three monarchs: Soi Sisamut (1713-1737), Saignakuman (1737-1791) and Fai Na (1791-1811). During the French colonization it was also known as Bassac or Pasak, a shortening of Champasak.
Today Champasak province (three separate provinces prior to 1975, Champasak, Sedon and Sithandon) has a population of around 500.000 that includes lowland Lao (including many Phu Thai), Khmers and several Mon-Khmer minorities (Chieng, Inthi, Kaseng, Katang, Kate, Katu, Kien, Lavai, Laven, Nge, Nyaheun, Oung, Salao, Suay, Tahang and Ta-oy), most of whom live in the Bolaven Plateau region.
Timber is the province’s main source of income, followed by coffee, tea, cardamon, rattan and other agricultural products. Industrialization of this area is almost absent except for a pharmaceutical factory in the outskirts of Pakse and some wood processing plants in the Province.
Champasak is also well known for mat-mii silks and cottons that are hand-woven with tie-dyed threads, a short day trip from Pakse can be arranged to Ban Saphai, a renowned weaving village 15 km north of town along the route 13.
Three NBCAs (Natural Biodiversity Conservation Area) are located in Champasak, Phou Xieng Thong in the northern part of the province, Dong Hua Sao and Xe Pian, one of the most interesting NBCA under the natural point of view, with its remote southern border shared with Cambodia.
Kingfisher Ecolodge is located in the northern wetlands area of this NBCA.