Savannakhet is a city located on the banks of the Mekong River in Laos. Bordering Thailand, it is the capital of the province of the same name. It is a quiet town, which is mostly used as a stopover by tourists passing into Laos and Thailand, and offers not much for people looking for attractions.
But this little town has its charm for visitors, including the rich colonial architecture, lovely old Buddhist temples, and a chance to experience the laid-back life along the Mekong including enjoying the beautiful sunsets.
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That Ing Hang Stupa - That Ing Hang is the 16th-century stupa and is one of the sacred stupas Laos. It is where the Boun Pha ceremony takes every year in December when many Buddhists travel to this holy site. You can reach the stupa by renting a motorbike for about 20,000 LAK or taking a Tuk-Tuk for about 50,000 LAK for a return trip for a group of 4 or 5 people. The entrance fee is 5000 LAK per person.
Beung Va Lake - It is a small but lovely lake worth visiting and is located on the way to That Ing Hang Stupa.
Wat Xayaphoum - Wat Xayaphoum is a prominent 6th-century Buddhist temple located in the centre of the city along the bank of the Mekong river. It also houses an institute for young monks. It is the venue for The Lao New Year celebration or Pee Mai Lao and boat racing festival or Boun Suang Huea.
Savannakhet Provincial Museum - The city museum that has a rich collection of exhibits covering the history of the province in-depth, including archaeological excavations and ancient weapons used in civil wars.
Dinosaur Museum - The only museum dedicated to a dinosaur in Laos, the collections include bone fossils excavated from the nearby Xonbouly district. The remains belong to three species of dinosaur including Pode, Iguanodon and Sauropoda. The museum opens every day between 1 PM to 4:30 PM and costs 10,000 LAK per person for entry.
French colonial architecture - The most notable buildings depicting colonial French Style include the Catholic Church and the central plaza. The house of former Laotian leader Kaysone Phomvihane is also rich in architecture influenced by French architectural styles.
Nong Lom Lake - Home to Dong Natad forest, Nong Lom is a small but famous lake known for butterflies and birds watching.
Dong Phou Vieng and The Phou Xang National Protected Area - Two national parks which are well preserved and are home to elephants, tigers, rare species of birds, deer and bears.
Savannakhet is an ideal place to stop over for many tourists going in and out of Thailand. The town gives an introduction of Laos with its temples, French colonial architecture and the Mekong river cruises.
As Laos offers plenty of destinations to experience for travelers, most foreign travelers skip Savannakhet as it has nothing to offer in terms of attractions. Its location is also not favourable except for those crossing borders overland.
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