Savannakhet (commonly abbreviated to ‘Savan’) and more officially known as ‘Kaysone Phomvihane’ (district name), is the capital of Savannakhet Province in Southern Laos and is located alongside the Mekong River. With an estimated population of 120,000 it is the second largest city of Laos. The small but blossoming tourist sector offers various eco trekking programs to the outskirts of town and to preserved forests and other places of interest in neighbouring districts (such as Champhone). The welcoming and generous character of the local people makes you easily feel part of the community. Although recently a large casino was established, Savannakhet has no touristic night life scene. Over the last two decades dinosaurs have become a theme of Savannakhet, with a Dinosaur Museum and decorations in the streets.
Savannakhet probably was founded in the 17th century by forty families who immigrated from Phonsim village around twenty km to the east. It is said that the settlement at the Mekong riverside was called Tahae village, and researchers assume that Buddhist Temple ‘Vat Xaiyaphoum’ is an important remainder of that era.
France expanded Indochina by obtaining the eastern bank of the Mekong after a border dispute in 1893. Initially the French used the Mekong river as the main street of transport. Soon afterwards a network of water transportation, post telecommunication facilities and a railway were completed. A road, connecting Savannakhet with Quang Tri (Vietnam), was also established. In the 1920s and 1930s Vietnamese and Chinese people started to settle in Savannakhet. Nowadays, the Chinese and Vietnamese still live in the same parts of the city, while other parts are still redolent of the French administration that was located at the Southern part of town.
Recently an important chapter was added to the history of Savannakhet, with the opening of the 1600 metre Lao Thai Friendship Bridge II in 2007. The bridge connects Savannakhet (and Vietnam) to Mukdahan (Thailand). Foreign investors and NGOs are considered to be crucial for the development of the town and province.
Get inSavannakhet has an airport. Lao Airlines is the only domestic carrier, and provides direct flights from and to Vientiane. Alternatively, Vientiane can be reached by flying via Pakse, a trip that takes two and half hours. One way to Vientiane costs around $US110, and round trips around double.
The only domestic direct flight is to Pakse. It leaves Savannakhet at 15:00 and arrives at 15:35 three days a week: Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. At the same days there are flights from Pakse to Savannakhet, leaving 09:25 and arriving 10:00. As schedules might change suddenly it is recommended to contact Lao Airlines in advance.
On Wednesday, Friday louis vuitton mens and Sunday, Lao Airlines also offers direct flights from/to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, taking 2 hours and 20 minutes. Leaving Savannakhet at 10:40. Flights from Bangkok leave at 13:00. One way trip costs around US$115, with a round trip twice that.
There is bus service from Vientiane to Savannakhet. It is a 9 hour paved road bus ride. While a long journey, it click here is an excellent way to see the local villages and lush country side of Laos. Buses from Vientiane to Pakse, stop either in Savannakhet or Seno. There are two different types of buses that service the route from/to Vientiane:
Local Bus The public bus leaves Vientiane and Savannakhet throughout the morning, and make lots of stops to for both passengers and goods. Takes approximately 9 hours, costs 75,000 Kip one way. A genuine experience of Laos.
VIP Bus much like the local bus, but there are less stops, assigned seats, there is a toilet and all important air conditioning. Less frequent and costs more, but it’s worth it. The journey takes approximately louis vuitton womens 8 hours. There are two types of night buses: one with bunk beds (120,000 kip) and one with seats (110,000 kip). Each bunk bed accommodates two people it’s recommend to buy the space next to you if you are traveling alone or traveling in odd numbered groups as you will be sleeping next to a stranger in a twin sized bed.
There are also local buses from and to:
Thakhek (30,000 kip, 2 3 hours)
Si Phan Don (75,000 kip, 7 hours)
There are direct local buses from and to less traveled domestic destinations, such as Sekong (60,000 kip, 5 hours),louis vuitton mens wallets uk Salavan (via Pakse, 60,000 kip, 8 hours), Attapeu (70,000 kip, 10 hours) and Sepon (40,000 kip, 4 5 hours).
For locals, a tuk tuk to the bus station from the town centre costs 5,000 kip, for foreigners it’s more likely to cost between 10,000 and 15,000 kip.
The Savannakhet bus station is located 2 north of the old town centre (16.5752 104.7525). 50b for a tuk tuk rider into the city.
The Second Thai Lao Friendship Bridge across the Mekong to Mukdahan, Thailand opened to the public in January 2007. There is a regular bus service between Mukdahan and Savannakhet, with departures approximately twice an hour. A one way trip between Savannaket and Mukdahan costs 50 baht or 14,000 kip. If you have to obtain a tourist visa at the Laos immigration, ask the bus driver to wait as otherwise they won’t.
Daily buses make the five hour trip (35,000 kip) from / to the Lao Bao border in Vietnam via Sepon. Local bus 07:30am, 09:00 and 12:00.
VIP buses to Dong Ha in Vietnam go via Lao Bao, and are only available on weekdays at 10:00. The 350 km trip takes around seven hours and costs 90,000 Kip. Local buses leave every day at 10:00 80,000 kip) and take seven hours.
VIP buses to Hue (Vietnam) leave on weekdays only at 9am. The 410 km journey takes eight hours and costs 110,000 kip. Get information and your reservation at Savanbanhao hotel. The local daily bus to Hue (leaving 10:00, 90,000 kip) is not recommended as you need to wait at the border checkpoint from 03:00 until the checkpoints opens at 08:00, which will lead to insufficient night rest due to immigration officials, vendors and beggars trying to get your money. Tuk tuks are also available around the city and are an easy way to get quickly to a specific location. Be cautious about the fee for the tuk tuk, and always set the price in advance. Because the minor roads of the districts around Savannakhet are often badly paved, a reliable cheap motorbike for rent in Savannakhet town might be hard to find.
The Tourist Information office is located between the Mekong riverside and the ‘Plaza’, the central square of the French historical town. A must visit for those wishing to see the city/area. The office offers many different local walking tours as well as a wide variety of eco tours. They also have a comprehensive free map of the city (extremely important). The staff is attentive and speaks English well. Lin’s caf (100m north of the same Plaza) is connected to the Tourist Information and offers the same service.
That Ing Hang Stupa This 16th century stupa is one of the most revered in the country of Laos. Each year in December, many Buddhists travel to this holy site for the annual ‘Boun Pha’ ceremony. It is located 13 km north east of Savannakhet. There are two roads that lead to the stupa: the first one is the busy main road to Seno. Tuk Tuk rides should cost 70,000 kip for a round trip. Far more recommended is the alternative road through the green rural outskirts, passing the Beung Va lake, which is best experienced by bicycle or motorbike.