PAKSE – The Provincial Capital
ounded by the French as an administrative outpost in 1905 this is a relatively new town at the confluence of the Mekong and the Se Don river (hence its name which means “mouth of Se” river). The town has undergone significant improvements in infrastructure over the last few years and it is no more the dusty town that it was before.
The city is a primary departure point for travellers destined for the Bolaven Plateau, the Khmer ruins of Wat Phou, the Si Phan Don area and other emerging tourist sites in the province as well as a border cross to Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand.
Despite its French origin, there are very few colonial-era building left standing and most of the new modern building lack any distinctive design. Along the Mekong River bank there is a delightful and enjoyable esplanade with many restaurants and bars.
It may be worthwhile to pay a visit to the local “Champasak Historical Heritage Museum” while in town. It is open daily from 8am-11.30am and 1pm-4pm and you can find it on route 13 near the hotel Residence du Champa just outside the city center.
At present there is a good selection of guesthouses and mid-range hotels in town, your best option may be to hire a tuk-tuk and have a look around before making a selection.
Money exchange is possible in different banks in town, BCEL bank (near the Tourism Office along the Se River) accepts travellers cheques and it is possible to get cash advances with Visa and Mastercard credit cards.
It is also possible to find many travel agencies which can arrange short or long tours in Champasak province and other locations, although a more expensive option it is certainly a more comfortable way to travel around.