Pakxé, Laos

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Pakxé, Laos

Region: Champasak


Geographic Coordinates: 15.116700, 105.783000
Temperature Range: 17.0°C to 34.0°C (63°F to 93°F)
Climate: Tropical climate with wet and dry seasons.
Population: 119848
Language: Lao

Pakxé is a small city located in the Champasak Province of southern Laos. It lies on the eastern bank of the Mekong River, Which is a major source of livelihood for the locals. The city has a rich history dating back to the 18th century when it was founded by King Saysettha as part of his expansionist policies. Pakxé was once an important trading hub and served as a gateway to Vietnam and Thailand. The first thing that visitors notice about Pakxé is its laid-back atmosphere and friendly locals.

The city has managed to retain its traditional way of life despite modernization creeping in slowly over time. One can see this in the architecture, Food, And culture that are unique to this region. One of Pakxé’s most famous landmarks is Wat Luang, An ancient temple complex that dates back to 1905. It features stunning murals depicting scenes from Buddhist mythology and houses several Buddha statues made from various materials like gold, Bronze, Wood, And stone.

Another popular attraction in Pakxé is Bolaven Plateau – a vast area filled with lush greenery, Waterfalls, Coffee plantations and ethnic villages where visitors can experience authentic Laotian life firsthand. Visitors can explore this beautiful region on foot or bike through guided tours or self-guided excursions. For those interested in learning more about local history and culture should visit Champasak Provincial Museum located just outside Pakxé’s downtown area. Here you can learn about ancient Khmer civilization which once ruled over this region before being conquered by Lao kings during their expansionist phase.

Pakse also offers some excellent culinary experiences for food lovers who enjoy trying new dishes while travelling abroad. Local delicacies include spicy papaya salad (som tam), Grilled fish (pa ping), Sticky rice (khao niew) with various dips like jeow bong made from chilli paste, Garlic, And fermented fish. Overall, Pakxé is a charming city that offers a unique blend of history, Culture, And nature. It’s an ideal destination for those who want to experience the authentic side of Laos while still enjoying modern amenities like comfortable accommodation and transportation options.

Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient temples or trekking through the lush greenery of Bolaven Plateau – Pakxé has something for everyone.



Important Landmarks

  1. Wat Phou Champasak: This ancient temple complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Pakxé.
  2. Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands): A group of islands located in the Mekong River, known for their stunning waterfalls and relaxed atmosphere.
  3. Bolaven Plateau: A highland region known for its coffee plantations, waterfalls, and scenic views.
  4. Pakxé Night Market: A bustling night market where visitors can sample local street food and shop for souvenirs.
  5. Champasak Palace Hotel: This former royal residence has been converted into a luxury hotel with beautiful gardens and stunning views of the Mekong River.
  6. Tad Fane Waterfall: One of the most impressive waterfalls in Laos, located on the Bolaven Plateau.
  7. Wat Luang Temple: A beautiful Buddhist temple located in the heart of Pakxé city.
  8. Dao Heuang Coffee Plantation: Visitors can tour this coffee plantation to learn about how coffee is grown and processed in Laos.
  9. Xe Pian National Protected Area: This nature reserve is home to rare wildlife species like tigers, elephants, and gibbons.
  10. Nakasang Pier: The starting point for boat tours to Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands) and other nearby attractions on the Mekong River.

Primary Industries

  1. Agriculture
    • Rice
    • Coffee
    • Rubber
    • Cassava
    • Sugarcane
  2. Tourism
    • Scenic beauty
    • Cultural heritage
    • Temples
    • Waterfalls
    • Natural parks
  3. Handicrafts
    • Silk weaving
    • Basketry
    • Pottery making
    • Wood carving
  4. Fishing
  5. Manufacturing
    • Textiles
    • Garments
    • Food processing
  6. Trading
  7. Transportation services
    • Bus companies

Noteable History

  1. French colonization: In 1905, the French established Pakxé as a trading post and it became the capital of Champasak Province, making it an essential center for French colonization in Laos.
  2. Wat Phou: Located near Pakxé, this ancient Khmer temple complex was built between the 11th and 13th centuries and is considered one of Southeast Asia’s most important archaeological sites. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  3. Prince Boun Oum: Born in Pakxé, Prince Boun Oum served as Prime Minister of Laos from 1951 to 1954 and again from 1960 to 1962. He was a member of the royal family.
  4. Ho Chi Minh Trail: During the Vietnam War, Pakxé played a crucial role as an important hub for supplies coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail that ran through southern Laos.
  5. Mekong River: The Mekong River runs through Pakxé, making it an essential transportation hub for goods coming into Laos from neighboring countries such as Thailand and Cambodia.
  6. King Anouvong: King Anouvong ruled over Vientiane Kingdom (which included modern-day Laos) during much of the early-19th century before being captured by Siamese forces in 1827 after attempting to rebel against them.
  7. Lao Airlines Flight 301 crash: On October 16,2013 Lao Airlines Flight crashed into Mekong River near Paksè killing all passengers on board including foreign tourists visiting Wat Phou temple complex

Museums and Things To See

  1. Wat Luang
  2. Champasak Historical Heritage Museum
  3. Wat Phu Champasak
  4. Bolaven Plateau Coffee Plantations
  5. Pakxé Night Market
  6. Don Kho Island
  7. Khone Phapheng Waterfall
  8. Vat Chomphet
  9. Si Phan Don (4000 Islands)
  10. Nakasang Pier and Dolphin Watching



Cultural Events

  • 1. Pakxé Boat Racing Festival: This annual festival takes place on the Mekong River in October or November and features traditional boat races, music, dance performances, and food stalls.
  • 2. Boun Pha Vet Festival: This Buddhist festival is celebrated throughout Laos in February or March and commemorates the Buddha’s return from heaven after preaching to his mother.
  • 3. That Ing Hang Stupa Festival: This three-day festival takes place at the That Ing Hang stupa in Pakxé every year during November and includes traditional Lao music, dance performances, a market fair, and a grand procession.
  • 4. Lao New Year (Pi Mai): Celebrated in mid-April with water throwing ceremonies, parades, feasting on traditional Lao dishes like sticky rice cakes (khao tom) and grilled meat skewers (sai oua), as well as blessings from monks at local temples.
  • 5. Khmu Ethnic Group Festival: Held annually in January or February by the Khmu ethnic group living around Pakxé city to showcase their unique culture through traditional dances, music performances along with exhibitions of handicrafts made by their community members.
  • 6. Elephant Conservation Center’s Annual Elephant Festival: The center hosts an annual elephant celebration that highlights elephant care practices such as feeding them bananas & sugar cane while also showcasing cultural activities like folk songs & dances among others over two days of events held every year during February or March time frame for tourists visiting Laos looking for authentic experiences

  • Cuisine

    1. Lao-style grilled fish: This is a popular dish served in many restaurants in Pakxé. The fish is marinated with herbs and spices, then grilled over charcoal.

    2. Khao soi: This noodle soup dish is made with coconut milk, curry paste, and meat (usually chicken or beef). It’s a hearty and flavorful dish perfect for cool evenings.

    3. Tam mak hoong: This spicy papaya salad is made with shredded green papaya, chilies, lime juice, and fish sauce. It’s a refreshing side dish that pairs well with grilled meats.

    4. Kua mee: This stir-fried noodle dish is similar to pad thai but has its own unique flavor profile. It typically includes vegetables like bean sprouts and carrots along with either chicken or shrimp.

    5. Daolin Restaurant: This restaurant serves up delicious Lao food at affordable prices; their specialty dishes include khao soi and tam mak hoong.

    6. Champasak Palace Hotel Restaurant: Located within the Champasak Palace Hotel, this restaurant offers both Lao cuisine as well as international dishes like pizza and pasta.

    7. Riverside Cafe & Restaurant: As the name suggests, this restaurant offers stunning views of the Mekong River while you dine on traditional Lao food like laap (a minced meat salad) or tom kha gai (a coconut milk-based soup).


    Parks and Recreation

    1. Champasak Palace Park is a peaceful park located in the heart of Pakxé that offers visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the greenery.
    2. Wat Luang Park is situated near the Wat Luang temple and provides visitors with a serene environment to meditate, relax, or take a stroll.
    3. Xe Pian National Protected Area is approximately 50 km from Pakxé and offers hiking opportunities, bird watching, wildlife spotting, and boat tours.
    4. Bolaven Plateau is located just outside of Pakxé and features stunning waterfalls, coffee plantations, trekking trails, and scenic views.
    5. Visitors can take a leisurely Mekong River cruise to enjoy panoramic cityscape views along with glimpses of traditional village life on its banks.
    6. Cycling tours are popular in Pakxé as they offer an opportunity to explore local villages at your own pace while enjoying scenic landscapes along the way.
    7. Visitors can experience an elephant ride through lush forests surrounding Pakxé while learning more about these gentle giants’ lives from their mahouts (handlers).

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