Its just far enough away that you won't have to compete with (foreign) tourists.
Most things of interest require transportation to get out of the city.
If you want to see what a normal, average Laos town is, come here.
Dok Champa Khao is the name of the national flower of Laos. (trivia: it is the national flower of Nicaragua, too.) In English it is known as the Plumeria flower. In Savannakhet, "Dok Champa Khao" has another meaning as well. Most of the local citizens will know it as that peaceful place to go for a massage. Only 35,000 kip.The woman who created...more
That Ing Hang is a place of great religious significance to the Lao, and is second only in importance in Southern Lao to the amazing Wat Phou (see tip in Champasak section). The importance of the site is attested to by the large number of Lao wanting to have their photo taken by the resident photographer there. Strangely, though, for such an...more
Sorry about the use of the poetic line (was it Rupert Brooke?) but it aptly describes one of the best things to do in Savannakhet, indeed just about anywhere in Southeast Asia. I have lost count of the sunset images I have taken over the years, and more specifically of sunsets over the Mekong. It really is a favourite subject of mine. Although the...more
If you are missing your VT, want to catch up on the sports results or your stockmarket portfolio, or even just need to get online to check your e-mail, this is the place for you. It is the Sikonet internet cafe on Rattsavongseuk Road. Having used the internet all over Lao, I knew that prices can range from about 6,000 kip per hour up to about...more
If you have read my previous tip on Wat Sounantha, you will have read that I was somewhat dazed by the actions of some of the monks there, and it was in a state of some bewilderment that I approached Wat Chomkeo which occupies a pleasant site at the North of town on the banks of the Mekong. Order was quickly restored. No cigarette smoking monks...more
I went to visit Wat Sounantha at the Northern end of town, and it provided me with several insights into various aspects of of Buddhist religious thinking. Entering the main gate of the comples, my eye was taken by a striking building to the left, which looked modern and was hugely impressive. On reading the bi-lingual sign, I discovered that it...more
On a day of quite intense temple visiting, I went to Wat Rattanalangsi, and I greatly enjoyed it. I have heard travellers complaining before of being "templed out" but I could easily spend all day in the magnificent places. Having watched a couple of small boys knocking nuts out of the trees with a long stick and being undoubtedly the butt of the...more
Chua Bao Quang temple.I mentioned in my Savannakhet introduction that the city is at the beginning of a major trade route to Vietnam and there is a large Vietnamese community here. Whilst Buddhist, the Vietnamese generally practice a different form of Buddhism to the neighbouring Lao (Mahayana as opposed to Theravada, I believe although I am no...more
I don't often have occasion to write tips about places I have not been but I submit this to prevent any other VTer's making the slightly embarrassing mistake I did.I had my guidebook map suggesting the town museum was just South of the General Hospital. I can navigate pretty reasonably, so when I saw where the museum was supposed to be located,...more
.....apparently they roamed about Savannakhet! There is a small dinosaur museum (one room only) in Savannakhet with some quite interesting relics of dinosaurs and a lump of an ancient meteorite. It is certainly not a huge exhibition, but the English-speaking man who curates the place is extremely keen to talk you through it and is very enthusiastic...more
The street market is a good place to entertain yourself, as well as feed yourself some street foods. The market goes for a couple blocks and is mostly of food produce.There are fresh farm vegetables, but there are also a few food stalls. You can get some soups, curries, and even BBQ chicken on a stick for less than a dollar!more
Nongdune Village, Kaisonephomvihanh District, Savannakhet, Laos
Good for: Families
Basic accomodation - fan in room, crapper/cold shower down the hall. Lots of geckos. Beer available...more
Phetsarath Rd., Savannakhet, Laos
Good for: Couples
Located 100 steps north of the Plaza (the old French colonial downtown), in a cute quiet street, you might hear some water falling down. It's the small waterfall inside Lin's cafe, with a few carps swimming there. Lin prepares healthy drinks, tasty Lao coffee, western (baguette, omelette and so on) and local food. The drinks and foods are prepared...more
Tourist guidebooks about Laos usually don't give much hope to the vegetarian people among us. Laos people are often presented as people who eat sticky rice, noodles, chillies, fish, chicken, eggs and frogs. And yes, most restaurants in Savannakhet town don't serve much vegetables. Sometimes you get some slides of cucumber or tiny carrot strips.But...more
Whilst a restaurant should always stand or fall principally on the merits of it's food, the dining experience is always better if you know it is in a good cause. The condoms and cabbages chain in Thailand is a good example. If that sounds like an odd name for a restaurant, look it up on the net. Cafe Anakot is much in the same vein, anakot...more
This place seems to be one of the most popular in town in the evenings, predominantly patronised by local people but with a good smattering of tourists. It is, in a typically Lao way, a conglomeration of bar, restaurant, karaoke venue, disco and meeting place. Whilst deciding what category to put it in, I decided on restaurant as the food I had the...more
Firstly, let me say this place is not difficult to find. It is, I can say with absolute certainty, the only restaurant in Savannakhet to feature a six foot tall penguin outside! This completely incongruous beast stand guard over what is one of the more upmarket places in town, and very pleasant it is too. Everything about it is one step up from the...more
I have no doubt the lady who runs this place is not called Natalie, and I have no idea where the name comes from but it is of little import. What matters is that it is a homely place for a meal, with superbly friendly staff and excellent food, both Western and local. It is sort of like going to your favourite Aunt's for a bite to eat. It is a small...more
Well if you are looking for the nightlife. This is the place to be. Very popular with the locals, who will welcome you and will have a drink with you. Also very popular with the Ladyboys. We stayed for one drink, glad we experienced it though. Shuts at 12.15am
Dress Code: No dress code.
Took local bus from Savannakhet to Pakse.
Departure times from Savannakhet are 7am ; 9am ; 1030am
Price is 35, 000 kip. Bus was about 4 hours.
Price does not include tuk-tuk to get to the local bus terminal. Should pay no more than 10,000 kip for the bus station.
The bus will stop at least once on the way and allow some hawkers on to sell some food/drink.
One of the legacies of the French colonial era in Lao is the great love of pastries, cakes and the ubiquitous baguette. No self-respecting Lao town is without it's selection of bakeries and patisseries and Savan is no exception. I found a particularly good example in the form of the Phounin Bakerry (sic) on Ratsavongseuk Road. Delicious small pastries can be had for 2,000 kip per piece and, should you want such a thing a wonderful looking fully decorated cake can be had for 30,000 kip. I particularly recommend the coconut tartlet. Although she does not speak English, the lady here is extremely friendly.
What to buy: The cakes and pastries which are excellent.
What to pay: The pastries are 2,000 kip each, cakes vary in price but are not expensive.
The main street of Savannakhet city must be the most dangerous street in entire Laos. Severe traffic accidents happen almost daily. The danger comes especially from teenagers (usually without helmet) on tuned two-stroke mopeds and four-stroke scooters. Especially after sunset, when the traffic isn't that high any more, they dominate this concrete road. Speeds of 90 to 100 km/h are not exceptional. The street is wide and straight and has many junctions. Except for parked and slowly passing cars, there are no obstacles that will slow down these irresponsible racing drivers. When you are driving a motorbike, beware of overtaking people, even at your right side. When crossing a junction by foot, beware! Take care at the parallel one-way streets at night as well. In these one-way streets closer to the Mekong, car drivers are speeding too.
After staying several months in Savannakhet, I could say the traffic is the most dangerous thing of this town.
This tip is about Phonsim Turlte Lake, so readers of my tips knowing the way my mind works, will already have divined that it is completely devoid of turtles. Not a one. What it does have are a host of fishermen, a few grazing beasts and a lot of wonderful views. It is a man-made construction, instituted for the purpose of irrigating the...more
If you have visited That Ing Hang (see seperate tip) the chances are you will head straight back to the main road but I would urge you to do otherwise and carry on along the unpaved road past the That. There are two reasons for this, one is Turtle Lake and the other, the small village of Phonsim. I say small, and it is by my standards, but this is,...more
The very pleasant and tranquil Bungva (Boungva) Lake lies a mere few kilometres from Savannakhet and yet it seems a million mles away. This is truly rural Central Lao and is remarkably beautiful. Water buffalo quietly graze the lake floor, pigs rummage about on the shore and the only sound was the rather incongruous and slightly eerie sound of an...more