Champasak is a province located in southwestern Laos, close to the borders of Thailand and Cambodia. It is best known for Champasak Cultural Landscape, which comprises of a series of 12th century Angkor temples, which are UNESCO heritage-listed sites.
The town is home to French colonial architecture, and the province has a lot of attractions to offer for tourists including the best waterfalls, Si Phan Don islands and Laotian countryside on the banks of the Mekong River.
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Wat Phu - One of the UNESCO heritage-listed temples and the most prominent, Wat Phu is a 12th century Angkor Hindu temple built in Khmer style of architecture located close to the city centre of Champasak. It was later converted to a Buddhist temple which is still prevalent. The entry to the temple along with the museum costs 50000 LAK per person and is open for visitors between 9 AM to 4.
Wat Nang Sida - Located about 2 km from Wat Phu is Wat Nang, another ancient Angkor temple ruin and a UNESCO world heritage listed site. Thao-Tao and To Mo are other Khmer temple ruins found in this area which are worth visiting.
There are a lot of attractions to explore while basing yourself in Champasak. Some of the popular ones include:
Plan a trip to Bolaven Plateau - Bolaven Plateau is an elevated region located in the Champasak. It is a luxurious plain known for its cool climate, stunning waterfalls, forested mountains, coffee and remote villages home to the few ethnic groups in Laos. It is one of the most popular attractions for adventure, hiking and mountains.
Bolaven Plateau region has many waterfalls. Some of the famous ones are:
Day 1: Plan a visit to all the UNESCO listed Khmer temples starting from Wat Phu. Cool off in the evening enjoying a beautiful sunset from one of the riverside restaurants followed by dinner.
Day 2: Plan a day trip to the Bolaven Plateau for waterfalls and hiking. Spend the night there or make a trip back depending on your time and preferences.
Day 3: Plan a day trip to Si Phan Don or Paksong, although Phan Don requires more than a day for enjoying. Spend time taking boat tours, island hopping and dolphin tours.
Champasak is one of the excellent destinations in Laos that offers a wide range of experiences for travelers. Waterfall, hiking trails, mountains, caves and ancient Khmer temples make it one of the top places to visit.
Because of its vast list of attractions, Champasak needs time unless you are here to visit Angkor ruins. If you have already been to Cambodia, then it's not worth visiting for these temples. Also, if you are short on time, traveling all the way might not seem like a feasible option.
The nearest town to reach Champasak is Pakse. The best way to reach Pakse is by bus. Regular buses and minivans are available from cities like Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Vang Vieng, which takes between 8 to 10 hours. There are 4 bus stations in Pakse, which connects the town with other smaller cities too.
The bus ticket varies between 20 to 30 USD per person depending on the city of departure. You can also get there by renting a taxi for about 200 USD. There are flights to Pakse from Vientiane, Bangkok, Siem Reap and Luan Prabang.
From Pakse, there are minivans to Champasak, which can be booked through your hotel or via tour operators (both cost the same), for about 20000 LAK. Buses and minivans are available between 9 to 11 AM every day.
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