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Savannakhet – The City of Paradise in Southern Laos

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Savannakhet is a town in Southern Laos and the capital of the province of the same name.  It is situated on the banks of the Mekong River, overlooking Mukdahan Province in Thailand.  Savannakhet derives from the province’s original name of Savanh Nakone, which means city of paradise.  Savannakhet is also an active center for trade with Thailand as well as other neighboring countries.

The Second Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, which started construction on March 21st 2004 and opened on January 9th 2007, connects Savannakhet with Mukdahan Province in the Isaan region of Thailand.  It is 1600 meters long and 12 meters wide, with two traffic lanes.  Traffic on the bridge is on the right side of the road (as in Laos).  In Thailand, traffic is on the left side of the road with the changeover done on the Thai side of the bridge.  Many visitors to Isaan make the easy journey over the bridge and extend their trip with a stay at Savannakhet.

With a population of over 120,000, Savannakhet is Laos’ second largest city.  The town is easily explored by foot.  Much of Savannakhet’s architecture consists of French colonial buildings, which adds to the charming nature of the town.

Savannakhet is also home to some interesting temples and stupas.  That Ing Hang is one of the most impressive and sacred Buddhist sites in the Laos/Isaan region.  The temple was built in the mid 1500’s and is home to many Buddha images.

Another sacred stupa in Savannakhet is That Phone.  After 143 years, the construction of the stupa was completed in the year 700.  There is an annual celebration by the stupa during the full moon in February to honor the temple’s history when it served as a shrine for offerings to the Hindu god Shiva.

Wat Xayaphoum, built in the middle of the 16th century, is one of the oldest temples in Savannakhet.  It is a beautiful temple where visitors can see local villagers craft Buddha images by hand at a workshop. The temple also hosts an annual boat race every October.

There is also a dinosaur museum in Savannakhet.  Over at this exhibition, visitors can see collections of fossils excavated in the area from the 1930’s to the present day.  Several dinosaurs and an early mammalian estimated to be 200 million years old are on display here.  Fragments of a 100 million year old meteorite are also kept at the museum.

With its laid back life-style, beautiful temples and colonial atmosphere, Laos is quickly becoming one of Southeast Asia’s more popular tourist destinations.  Exotissimo’s Laos in Depth tour offers you a chance to discover the country in detail as we take you to the country’s must-see sites and beyond.  Discover glittering temples, flow on the Mekong, experience the varied landscape and meet friendly locals on this enlightening Laos journey.  You can also see our Laos tours page for other memorable trips into this delightful country or contact us if you any questions.

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