Pakse is also known as Pakxe and is the charming capital of the Champasak province in the south of Laos. This is also the second most populous city in the country, and many people come through here to visit other famous spots like the Bolaven Plateau and the Si Phan Don Islands. As this is a riverside town, you can spend time watching the river and strolling along the delightful waterfront promenade for which Pakse is famous. Some of the other reasons to visit Pakse include the delightful colorful markets as well as the stunning temples and the delicious street food stands that serve fresh local Laotian fare.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Pakse is during the dry season from November to March, when temperatures are cooler.
Top Places to Visit in Pakse
- Wat Luang
Wat Luang is said by locals to be the largest and prettiest temple in all of Pakse and is also the home of a number of monks who live on the property. If you want to see the famous Laotian alms giving ceremonies performed by the monks, then this is one of the best places to do so. Another good reason to come here is that this is one of the most beautiful but also less-visited temples in Laos so you won’t have to compete with the crowds.
2. Wat Phou Salao
Wat Phou Salao is a charming temple in a Pakse that is located on a pretty hill that looks out over the Mekong River. The temple has the claim to fame of having a large statue of the Buddha inside and, as you would expect, the best time to come here is around sunset when you can enjoy majestic vistas across the countryside. One thing to note is that you will need to climb up a long and steep staircase to get to the temple so make sure you plan accordingly and wear appropriate footwear.
3. Sacred Heart Church
As you would expect in Laos, you will find temples scattered all over the countryside. If you are looking for a change of architectural pace however, then you can also visit the Sacred Heart Church which doesn’t look very impressive from the outside but which is actually best known for its interior decorations. Once inside you will find a number of custom paintings such as Jesus visiting different regions in Laos such as the famous Khon Phapheng Falls and Wat Phu Champasak. What makes the whole thing even more surreal is that Jesus is also wearing regional outfits in the paintings.
4. Banks of the Mekong
If you are looking for something to do at night in Pakse then you might want to head to the banks of the Mekong River that runs through town. There is a riverfront promenade here and you will find some local street food stalls as well as a few restaurants that look out over the water. There are also several boat restaurants if you fancy dining on the Mekong itself.
5. Mai Savanh Lao Farm
Mai Savanh Lao Farm is also called the Silk and Tea Farm and is located in Thateng which is around 10 kilometers outside Pakse. The farm is run by a local NGO and is meant to provide a livelihood for disadvantaged ethnic minorities in the surrounding villages. The farm is covered in aromatic local plants such as lemongrass, pepper and tea plantations and you can also find pineapples and mulberries here. To learn all about the work of the farm and the produce on show, you can take an interesting tour with a local guide.