Savannakhet

Savannakhet Province is situated in the middle of the country and the largest province (21,774 square kilometers), being bordered by Vietnam to the East, Thailand to the West, Khammouane Province to the North and Salavanh Province to the South. 60% of land is covered by forests. A wide variety of ethnic groups are found in the province: Lowland Lao, Phoutai, Thai Dam, Katang, Mangkong, Vali, Lava, Soui, Kapo, Kaleung and Ta-Oi. In addition, many Vietnamese and Chinese descendants live in the province as well. This fact makes the province rich in cultural and gastronomic diversity.

Savannakhet has long been a center of trade and power. The province is well noted as the birthplace of the Honorable Kaisone Phomvihan, first Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and co-founder of the Lao PDR. His house and a museum documenting his life achievements can be visited in Savannakhet Town. The province's history, however, goes back long before the time of man. The area was once inhabited by dinosaurs as evidenced by the bones found in Bang Tang Wai Village and the giant footprints found in Phalanxay, which are documented in the Savannakhet Dinosaur Museum. Remnants of an ancient civilization can be seen at the Stone temple, "Heuan Hin" a pre-Angkorian building located 40km down stream from town along the Mekong. That Ing Hang Stupa, originally built more than 1.000 years ago and later rebuilt by King Saysethathirath in the 16th century, is the province's most important religious site. Also of interest is the historic library, Hortay Pidok, which is believed to have been built in the 18th century and was traditionally used to house old "Bai Lan" Buddhist scriptures. Of more recent history is the section of the Ho Chi Minh Trail which passes through Savannakhet. Old tanks, guns and other war equipment left behind on the trail can be seen near villages on Route 9 near the Vietnam border.

The Phouthai ethnic group, known for its unique silk and cotton weaving, claimsits origin in the province's Vilabouly District. The Katang ethnic group, which is loved for its famous folk song, Lam Tang Wai, also has traditional lands in Savannakhet. For nature enthusiasts, trekking in Dong Phou ViengNational Protected Area (NPA) provides an opportunity to see rare Douc and Silvered Langurs. Phou Xang Hae NPA has a population of wild elephants as well as distinctive rocky outcrops and vistas. The Eld's deer, once considered to be extinct in Laos, were rediscovered in 2002 in Xonbouly District and are revered by local villagers. The Province is a hot spot for crocodiles, which inhabit the confluence of the Champhone and Xe Bang Hieng Rivers. Hundreds of stump-tailed macaques, considered sacred by locals, are easily spotted in the 4-hectare Monkey Forest. Giant Asian soft shelled turtles, also considered sacred, can be easily seen in Ban Done Daeng. In Dong Na Tad Provincial Forest, snakes, monkeys and old-growth forest are well protected by the villagers for spiritual reasons. Locally guided tours to the area are available.

Savannakhet is most noted for its weavings, especially Phouthai silk and cotton weaving in Vilabouly District, and ethnic Katang weaving in the Dong Phou Vieng area. The favorite national meat, "sin savanh", a flat, sweet dried beef sprinkled with sesame seeds, originates from Savannakhet and can be purchased in local markets.

The That Ing Hang Festival is the largest festival of the year and is typically celebrated in December at the time of the full moon.

The area of Savannakhet Province was under influence of the Champa Kingdom from 7th to 10th century, followed by the Khmer Kingdom until 13th century. Heun Hin (Stone House) along the Mekong River and some ornaments of That Ing Hang (Ing Hang Stupa) prove this historical fact. Then, the Lane Xang Kingdom established in 14th century covered Savannakhet. Savannakhet Province, especially its capital town, had been developed significantly as the administrative and commercial center of Southern Laos during the French era in 19th century.

The name of Savannakhet Province derives from old Pali language, meaning "a land of gold". The area of Savannakhet Province has been inhabited since ancient times, being benefited from the Mekong River and its tributaries. People here has cultivated rice in the largest plain in the country, and fostered rich arts and culture.

Outdoor Activities

Trekking

  • Dong Na Tad Forest Treks & Homestays: Select from four treks in Dong Na Tad Forest around Savannakhet, visit the province's sacred That Ing Hang Stupa, experience forest life and spend the night in a village home stay.
  • Trekking in Dong Phou Vieng NPA: Discover rural Lao life on a three day trek around Savannakhet, and visit villages with overnight stays, learn about the forest, cook with gathered food and take a boat ride to rapids.
  • Phou Xang Hae Trek: Embark on a rugged five day expedition through Savannakhet's remote Phou Xang Hai conservation area to isolated Phou Thai villages for oversnight stays or mountain campouts on the path to legendary rock formations and rarely seen caves.

Cave

Tham Phaseng (Phaseng Cave)

The legend of Tham Phaseng tells battles of tigers and snakes. Tiger footprints have been seen and there are also many caves inhabited by bats. A stone statue of Buddha was also found in one of the caves, proving the place to be one of the most sacred sites in the region. A rocket festival accompanied by local dancing is held annually in May (exact date varies according to the lunar calendar). To reach Tham Phaseng, 19 km south from Song Khon town along Route13.

Cultural Visit

That Ing Hang (Ing Hang Stupa)

This is a sacred stupa and reportedly the burial site for one of Buddha's bones. It is an important place for Buddhists and is registered as a National Treasure of Lao PDR. It was built about 450 years ago by the King Marukhanakhone to commemorate the Buddha's visit to the site in the past. Buddha is believed to have delivered a sermon to people at the site and later took a rest under the "Hang" tree. This is the reason why the stupa is called That Ing Hang. the annual festival is held every November (exact date varies according to the lunar calendar. See event and festival page). That Ing Hang is located in Ban that (That village). The easiest way to get there is to head out along Route 9 for about 12km and lelt by a police box, and then drive straight for about another 3km and you will come directly to That Ing Hang. There is a slightly shorter way along back-roads and this is sign-posted from the outskirts of Savannakhet.

Wat Xayaphoum (Xayaphoum Temple)

The old city pagoda was built at the same time as Tha Hae village in 1542 BC and has been substantially improved since the beginning of the 20th century. Located in the center of the city along the bank of the Mekong River in Ban Xayaphoum, it is a beautiful building built in the original Savannakhet style. The temple area includes the monks' living quarters and the monastery. Pi Mai Lao (The Lao New Year Celebration) and Boun Suang Huea (Boat Racing Festival) following Buddhist Lent are held here. It open daily from 08:00AM-06:00PM.

Wat Lattanalangsy (Lattanalangsy Temple)

Wat Lattanalangsy was built on a former rice field, hence villagers also refer it as Wat Thong (Rice Field Temple).

The old temple at Ban That

This temple forms the basis of a valuable archaeological site. The pit, well and temple are made of ancient bricks, each measuring 23cm x 11cm x 6cm. This old temple is situated at That village, Kok Thong and Na Tue village. Stone artifacts such as jars and axes, earthen pipes and bowls, copper knives, pots have been excavated from here and are now national treasures. From Vilabouly town, head east on Route 28A for about 4km, before turn left and go another 2km.

Wat Taleo Kao (Old Taleo Temple)

This temple is named Taleo Kao, meaning ‘eagle eye', as local people have seen a mystery circle resembling an eagle eye appearing near by. This temple is very different from normal Lao temples in terms of French colonial style architecture. The sculpture at the front of the chapel was heavily destroyed by US bombing on the 20th November 1969.

That Oumoung (Oumoung Stupa)

This is a beautiful square-shaped stupa, located in Ban Lahakok and was built between 1940 and 1950. While in general it resembles That Ing Hang, the top of the stupa is unique with its banana flower ornamentation. The stupa is a worthwhile stop for some interesting photographs. There is a festival held annually in February (exact date varies according to the lunar calendar). From Savannakhet City, take Route 13 south for about 70km, turn left at Ban Pakxong, and after 5km turn left at the T-shaped intersection. The stupa is on the left after another 2km.

That Phonh (Phonh Stupa)

This stupa is said to date back to the 16th century and has sacred links with That Phanom in Thailand. An annual festival is held during the full moon days in February. From Savannakhet city take Route 9B south to Ban Lak 35 and continue on for another 3km before turning right. Continue onwards for 18km before turning left. The Stupa is 3km down this road.

That Nang Lao (Nang Lao Stupa)

This stupa was built during the reign of Nang Lao, the serving girl of the last king of Vientiane. Nang Lao was the governor of Muong Vang. The stupa area extends to 8 square km, the stupa is 13 m high and 12 meters wide at the base. Built of brick, it has been abandoned for more than 300 years. Villagers regard it as a magic stupa.

Hortay Pidok (Ancient Buddhist Scripts Library)

This is an impressive old structure originally built in the 17th century. It is the most important repository of palm leaf books written in Burmese Pali, Khmer and ancient Lao alphabets in Laos. There are currently 4,000 books containing 361 different stories. The books are maintained in good condition by monks and novices, as well as the local people.

Heun Hin (Stone House)

Hean Hin literally means "Stone House" and is believed to have been one of the 121 rest houses constructed by King Jayavarman VII (1181-1218) along the roads which once connected every corner of the Khmer Empire. Therefore, it shares similar characteristics with Wat Phou in Champasak and Phimai Temple in Thailand. An annual festival is held in the full moon night in April.

Ban Sepon Kao (Old Sepon Village)

This name literally means "Old Sepon Village" and is located a few kilometres east of Sepon town. The village is located on the riverside and retains a sense of the past. The destroyed bank entrance is eloquent testimony of the past war.

The Savannakhet Dinosaur Museum

This is a houses of dinosaur fossils or big lizard bones' as called in Lao. They were excavated from Ban Tang Vay (Tang Vay Village), in Xonbuly District. Three kinds of dinosaur bones have been discovered; pode, Iguanodon and Sauropode.

Savannakhet Provincial Museum

This is a typical administration building during the French colonial period. It has recently been renovated to be the New Provincial Museum. There are many interesting items such as archaeological selics, war selated itens iacluding big guus, dombs, etc, and historical photos.

Memorial Persident Kaysone Phomvihanh

This is the house of former President Kaisone Phomvihanh who was born in Savannakhet in 1920. He served as the first Prime Minister of Lao PDR from 1975-1991, and then as the second President until his death in 1992. While the building is not open to the public, it can be viewed from the outside.

French Colonial Architecture

Legacies of the French colonial period can be found all over Laos, including great tasting baguettes and cheese, good wine, Catholicism and the mark of all colonial powers-architecture. The city of Savannakhet in Southern Laos is full of fine, if crumbling, examples of French colonial architecture. Most of these buildings have deteriorated over the years due to neglect, war and poverty but they still retain a sense of romance and history. The most popular and well known examples of French architecture in Savannakhet include St. Theresa's Catholic Church and the numerous colonial shop houses.

Muangkao Phonesim (Phonesim Village and The Old Ruins)

According to legend, an old town was founded here in current Phonesim in 1577 during the reign of the King Fa Ngum who later united the Lane Xang Kingdom. Migrating south-eastwards from Northern Vietnam, Savannakhet's ancestors settled here and named the town in Ban Luang Phonsim "Phonsim village" after the name of their leader Luang and his wife Sim. The name of the village has been shortened to Ban Phonsim. The ruins of the original settlement can still been atop a hill surrounded by bamboo forest. You can see the foundations of a pagoda and the old phonsim town wall.

Lao-Vietnamese Monument

This War Memorial was built in 1990 to commemorate the Lao and Vietnamese soldiers who fought in the battle for the national democratic revolution of Laos. Situated in Ban Dong, close to the Phin city on the Route No.9, the war memorial is approximately 161km from Savannakhet City. However you can only see the memorial from outside of the fences.

Lamson Battle Field and War Museum

The historic Ho Chi Minh Trail ran through Dong Village, on Route No.9, close to the Lao-Bao border checkpoint to Vietnam. Here remnants of American tanks and warplanes from the famous battle of "Lamson 719" (1971) can be seen. Bomb craters are also a common sight in Sepon alongside Route 9. At Dong village a war museum is being constructed. To get to Dong village head east from Sepon town on Route 9 and about 22km away on your right side.

Nature

Waterfalls

Sepon Waterfall

There are three waterfalls located close to each other. Salene Waterfall is the highest (80m) and the most easily accessible. The other 2 waterfalls are Sadee Waterfall and Sakhoe Waterfall. Head along Route 9, 22km east of Sepon District, turn left at Ban Dong Noy, onto a laterite road through the jungle and streams and after about 25km you come across them.

Phalong Waterfall

Located in the Phou Xang Hae National Protected Area. The waterfall is beautiful and easily accessible. the tourists can access by road number 9, turn left then continue by road number 28A then arrived 39km then turn left 2,5 km you can hear sound of the voice of waterfall, this waterfall from the top 35 mats.


National Protected Areas

Dong Natad Provincial Protected Area

Dong Natad Provincial Protected Area extends to 8,300 hectares. In the centre of the forest, there is a beautiful lake called Nong Lom where you can observe wild birds like teal, butterflies and rare plants. Parking spaces are provided at the entrance to the forest along the road to That Ing Hang. To get there, head towards That Ing Hang and you will see a sign-posts on your left-hand side approximately 1km before reaching That Ing Hang. One of the best way to see both the protected area and Nong Lom Lake is on an Eco-Guides trekking.

Dong Phou Vieng
  • Location: Savanakhet Province
  • Area: 1,970 sq. km
  • Eco-tourism Activities Available: Trekking
  • Key Species: Douc and Francois's langur, elephants, cattle, tigers, pangolin, Oriental pied hornbill, great hornbill, wreathed hornbill and the white-rumped and red-headed vultures.
  • Habitat: Forest types include evergreen, mixed deciduous, dry dipterocarp forest. Elevation ranges from 200 - 600 m with peaks up to 1,254 m.
  • Access: Dong Phou Vieng is accessible from National Route 9.
Phou Xang Hae
  • Location: Savanakhet Province
  • Area: 1,060 sq. km
  • Eco-tourism Activities Available: Trekking
  • Key Species: Douc and Francois's langur, elephants, tigers and other big cats, bears and the bar-bellied pitta.
  • Habitat: Forest types include evergreen, mixed deciduous, dry dipterocarp. The PhuXangHae range is dominated by a steep sandstone escarpment, while slopes to the south and the west rise more gently to the plateau. Sandstone outcrops occurhroughout the NPA and can be quite extensive.
  • Access: Ph ou Xang Hae is accessible from National Route 9.
Xe Bang Nouan
  • Location: Salavanh & Savanakhet Province
  • Area: 1,260 sq. km
  • Eco-tourism Activities Available: None yet
  • Key Species: No detailed survey information available.
  • Habitat: Evergreen, dry dipterocarp and mixed deciduous forest. The eastern portion of the NPA is flat to gently rolling terrain under 400 m north and south of the Bang Nouanriver. The flats are bounded by low hills to the north and the south. In the central portion the river breaks through a large block of steep hills. East from the hills the river flows in a wide valley rising north, south, and east to hills the crest of which demarcates the edge of the Bang Nouan catchment. Elevation is from 200 -1,000 m.
  • Access: Not easily accessible.

Other Natural Sites

Mekong River Bank

Mekong River Bank will give you a great view of local life. From the fishermen bringing in the daily catch, to market gardens and local restaurants selling a wide variety of foods and drinks, there are plenty of things to see. With Thailand just across the river a stroll along the Mekong banks, especially around sunset.

Dong Ling (Monkey Forest)

This is a sacred forest located in Ban Dong Muong - covering more than 3 hectares. It is a monkey kingdom! The monkeys can be divided into three groups. The first group are used to humans and might even ask for food from people passing by The second group usually stays in the spirit houses, while the third group generally gets food at the temple. Why not try to spot the three different groups! It's best to visit the Monkey Forest in the dry season.

Bung Va (Va Lake)

This is the largest lake lying in the outskirts of the Savannakhet City. Along the lake shore, several restaurants have opened up and some provide gazebos (small covered platforms) where you can enjoy lunch or a cold beer Lao while enjoying beautiful scenery or even rent pedalos to get out onto the lake. The lake is a perfect stop before or after visiting That Ing Hang (Ing Hang Stupa).

Nong Tao (Turtle Lake)

This lake was originally constructed for rice paddy irrigation and is now home to beautiful lotus blooms, bathing water buffalos, migratory birds and local people working in the paddy fields. Unfortunately, the lake no longer contains turtles though.

Nong Papha (Turtle Lake)

This is a natural lake in Ban Done Deng (Done Deng Village). It is believed that ghosts in the spiritual house protect the turtles in the lake. There are many turtles of different sizes and ages living in the lake and they can easily be seen. Local residents also sell food that you can feed the turtles with. Also locally made turtle-shaped key holders are sold in front of the entrance.

Nong Lom Lake

Dong Natad Provincial Protected Area extends to 8,300 hectares. In the centre of the forest, there is a beautiful lake called Nong Lom where you can observe wild birds like teal, butterflies and rare plants. Parking spaces are provided at the entrance to the forest along the road to That Ing Hang.

Fay Soui (Irrigation)

This is a large irrigation lake used in the dry season to enable additional rice cultivation, as well as the growing of vegetables and other food plants. Since its dam is stair-shaped, it resembles a small waterfall when the rainy season starts. There are many islands in the lake and it is rich in beautiful lotus blooms, fish, animals and migratory birds (such as the white stork). In the dry season, local people catch fish and snails to offer visitors, and you can taste these and other local foods on the lakeside.

Dinosaur Footprints

The "Kaeng Luang" Rapids are a branch of the Mekong River and lie just a few hundred metres from Phalanxay Town. During the dry season you can see more than 10 dinosaur footprints that have been preserved in the rock that makes up the riverbed. Phalanxay town is about 100km from Savannakhet City along Route No.9.

Tad Hai Bridge

Over the Xe Bang Hieng (Bang Hieng River), the bridge was built in 1942. It was designed by Mr. Souphanouvong who became the first President of Lao PDR in 1975. It was destroyed by the American bombing in 1967. You can still see the huge broken bridge lying on the riverbed. From Phin District, go south on the Route 23 for about 30km.

Kaeng Sammataek (Sammataek Rapids)

These beautiful rapids on the Xe Bang Hieng are a popular recreation ground in dry season. Along the riverside, you can see many craters left from the air bombardment by the Americans during the Indochina.

Kaeng Kong Phanang (Kong Phanang Rapid)

This is one of the natural wonders of the Mekong River featuring huge stones and natural caves. A walking path is provided for visitors during the dry season. From Savannakhet City, take Route 13 south about 70km, turn right at Ban Pakxong, and continue for another 25km. The site located 500m from the road by the Mekong River.

Shopping & Relaxing

Savanxay Market

This is the main market of Savannakhet City. There is a wide variety of goods on sale including local products as well as imported Thai and Vietnamese foods, along with a wide selection of souvenirs. The market is open daily from 6 a.m to about 5 p.m everyday. Songtheaws (Local buses using pick-up trucks with 2 benches in the back) use this market as the focal point for arrivals and departures to neighbouring towns and provinces.

One District One Product (ODOP) Handicraft Shop

This is located at 6 KM post along rout No 9. This shop is a showcase of products from the One District One Product (ODOP) project and includes a wide variety of handicrafts made from bamboo, hardwood, cotton and silver from around the country and this is a great place to look for souvenirs.

Ban Nateuy (Nateuy Village) and Salt Factory

Ban Nateuy is a typical village on the outskirts of Savannakhet City. Local people cultivate various fruits, vegetables and other crops. They also raise livestock and collect forest products. In the village, a salt factory has been in operation since 1978. The salt is made from the pure underground water whose salt content is even higher than sea water. Since hygiene and safety controls are in place, you can only visit the factory by prior appointment. To reach Nateuy village from Savannakhet City, head south-east on Route No.9, turning left after 15 km and proceeding another 3 km. If you would like to make an appointment to see the factory, please contact the Iodized Table Salt Company +856-41-212255.

Lao Silk-Cotton Weaving Centre

Lao Silk- Cotton Weaving Centre located in Ban Nongkadeang, Vilabouly District; This centre has a lot of products such as bags, shirt, Lao skirt and Lao silk. The center has a training centre where they like how to mix indigo, weaving, spining, and tailor. They export their products to Japan. This centre is supported by Sepon Copper Mine Company.

Laha Cotton Weaving in Ban Laha Num

In Ban Laha Num ("Laha Num Village"), traditional Phoutai cotton weaving is practiced and every household in the village has a loom. Some workshops produce naturally-dyed cotton by using materials such as bark and leaves. Most of the woven products are sent to Savannakhet City and Vientiane Capital for sale. However, you can purchase the products at several shops and houses in the village. From Savannakhet City, take Route 13 south for about 70km, turn left at Ban Pakxong, and after 5km turn left at the T-shaped intersection. The village is on the right 4km along the road.

Thong Laha Sinh Co., LTD

The corporate mission is to support the sustainable development of locals while preserving culture and also eradicating poverty. As the sole distributor of Phuthai fabrics in the Savannakeht City, the Laha Boutique is able to meet your needs such as clothing, handbags, scarves, and shawls as well as household and kitchen accessories produced from phuthai fabrics.

Ban Lao Massage & Spa

The massage menus cater to both body and soul to create balance, generate heath & real inner beauty. Enjoy the benefits from nature blended with expertise in this aromatic atmosphere.

Dok Champa Khao

Dok Champa Khao Massage is located at the center of town. It offers several kinds of massages; herbal massage, facial massage and body scrubs. An excellent place for relaxation and beauty.

Thanida Spa

Lao style massage. Located away from the heart of the city where one can return to nature. For healing and nourishment of mind, body and spirit. They offer a wide variety of unique massage styles with the scent of aromatic all-natural Lao herbs.

Style Massage

Style massage is located opposite of Lao Mobile Group at the city It offers several kinds of massages, aromatherapy (normal oil), body scrub, aromatherapy (special oil), foot spa , foot massage, herbal+massage, oil massage and sauna+aromatherapy.

Douang Deune Massage

Douang Deune Massage is located at the center of the town. It offers several kinds of massages, herbal massage, foot massage, oil massage and body massage.

Fasay Massage

Fasay Massage is located near Savan Houng Heuang Trading at the town. It offers several kinds of massages, herbal massage, herbal steam, body scrubs. and facial massage.

Main event Schedule

January
  • Boun Pha That Ing Hang (Ing Hang Festival)
February
  • Boun Pha That Phonh (That Phon Festival)
On 14th -16th April
  • Boun Pi Mai Lao (Lao New Year Festival)
May-June
  • Boun Phavet-Elephant Parade and Boun Bang Fai (Rocket Festival)
October-November
  • Boun Suang Heua (Boat Racing Festival)
  • Boun Heuan Hin (Heuan Hin Festival)
August
  • Boun Khao Padabdin
September
  • Boun Khao Salak
October
  • Boun Ok Phansa (End of Buddhist Lent)
December
  • Kin Chiang (Hmong New Year)
  • Boun Pot Py or Boun Kreu (Khmu New Year)
Boun Pha That Ing Hang (Ing Hang Festival)

The ritual ceremony is annually performed in the That Ing Hang ("Ing Hang Stupa"), one of the most sacred stupa in Southern Laos. It is said there are some Buddha born inside the stupa. In December, people organize a festival to show their respects to Buddhism and to the people who built this stupa. Many people, including the old and young, come to the festival from South and North of Laos as well as from Thailand.

People make offerings of "Khan Markbeng", a small green tower-like offering goods made by banana leaves, and flowers around the stupa. People ask nuns who are around the stupa for blessing them. The nuns give blessing to people by tying cotton strings to their wrists. Local people bring forest products like honey and traditional foods for the offerings.

Boun Pha That Phonh (That Phonh Festival)

This festival is performed for 3 days and 3 nights. There are different exhibitions of traditional goods, sports events, folk songs etc. Local people will bring baked rice balls in front of the stupa and made alms to the spirits of people who built this stupa. The number of rice balls will be about 400 pieces in total. Also each family who is producing rice needs to bring raw rice and cooked food trays to monks. The Monks made alms to the spirits too. The raw rice will be around 12 kg and number of trays will reach to 166.

Boun Pi Mai Lao (Lao New Year Festival)

For the Lao New Year, there are festivals in all over Laos. The festival aims at farewelling an old year and welcoming a new year. In Savannakhet province, the biggest festivals are held in the Savannakhet City. One of festival activities celebrating New Year is Nang Sangkhan (Miss Lao New Year): The most beautiful girl will be selected as a Miss Lao New Year. Miss Lao New Year parades around the Savannakhet city on the back of artificial mock-up of an animal. Animal is changed in every year based on the historical story.

Some families organize "baci" ceremonies; big arches made by rice plants in order to show their respects to the earth and sky as well as to the land spirits who facilitate rice production. People splash or pour fragrant water with flowers to other people passed by to wash bad things out from their bodies.

Also at temples, Buddha statues are brought outside from the temples and people come to pour water on the statues. It is said that if people pour water in 9 temples, people can get good luck for the year.

Boun Phavet-Elephant Parade and Boun Bang Fai (Rocket Festival)

Boun Phavet festival of Keng Kok village Champhone District. There are many activities. A traditional dance named "Sualakhang (traditional dance)" is performed in circle. Men wear Lao traditional women's clothes and cosmetics. They tie their clothes each other. In the afternoon, people take artificial elephant and horse mock-ups around the city. Also in the afternoon, each village prepares rockets and rocket competition is held. The village which launched its rocket to the highest up in the sky will be the winner. The rocket competition is held for showing their appreciation to "Payathan" who lives in the paradise and gives people rains for agricultures. The village is about 56 km from Savannakhet City. You can go there by hiring motorbike or car in about 1 hour.

Boun Suang Heua (Boat Racing Festival)

This festival is annually organized to express people's appreciation to the Mekong River for supporting their life. The ceremonies are taken place at the Mekong river bank and each temple. Xayaphoum temple is the main temple which organizes boat racing.

On the first day in the early morning Buddhists gather at each temple and give alms to monks and in return monks bless people. Then, in the morning, people organize traditional dances like "Lao Soung", "Lao Therng", and "Pouthai". Each group enjoy with diffident clothes in different dance styles.

On the same day in the evening people gather again to temples and parade around the temple three times following monks with candles. After the parade, some groups prepare "Lay Huapi", long boats made by bamboo and banana trees, and put them on the river.  In the boats, people put cakes, foods, flowers, and many colored candles for decoration. Also some people prepare "Katthong", smaller boats made by banana trees, and put candles on them. On the first day at around 11:00AM, a boat racing ceremony starts at the river bank. First, Lao side and Thailand side invite boats from other banks each other. Then boat racing starts. The boats from other districts of Savannakhet race each other. Only winners can race on the next day.

Boun Heuan Hin (Heuan Hin Festival)

The festival is held in Heuan Hin ("Stone House"), another important sacred place date back to the Khmer Empire. People organize the festival to show their respects to ancesters. In the morning, there is a Buddhism ceremony. In the ceremony, monks do offerings to a person that built this building. So many people gather to the place from neighboring areas and Savannakhet city.

People also enjoy shopping of local products. At night, they have a traditional dance called "lamvong", men and women make a big circle and dance together until a song is finished.

From Vientiane: From the Vientiane capital, there are two types of buses to Savannaakhet; seven public buses and one VIP bus with toilet and air condition. Both types depart from the Southern Bus Station in Vientiane every day. It may take about 8-9 hours to Savannakhet Bus Station.

From Thailand to Savannakhet: Buses depart from the Mukdahan Bus Station. The bus will stop at the border check point to stamp your visa/passport. You can ride from the border checkpoint too.It may take about 1 hour including immigration to Savannakhet Bus Station.

From Vietnam to Savannakhet: Buses depart from the Lao Bao border, Dong Ha (on even day only), Quang Tri, Hue (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), Danang and Hanoi (Saturday and Sunday only). It may take about 5 hour from the Loa Bao border to Savannakhet Bus Station

Travel to Savannakhet by Air

From Vientiane: Three flights fly to Savannakhet in a week; Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. It takes about 1 hour to Savannakhet. Airline in Vientiane and from Luang Prabang: Two flights fly to Savannakhet in a week; Thursday and Sunday. It takes about 1 hour and 30 min to Savannakhet. Airline in Vientiane and from Bangkok: Three flights fly to Savannakhet in a week; Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. It takes about 1 hour and 20 min to Savannakhet. Airline in Vientiane (021) 212 051-54.

Located:
Central Laos (Central Provinces)
Total area:
21,774 square kilometers
Population:
906,440
Districts:
  • Kaisone Phomvihan
  • Outhoumphone
  • Atsaphangthong
  • Phine
  • Sepone
  • Nong
  • Thapangthong
  • Songkhone
  • Champhon
  • Xonnabouly
  • Xaybouly
  • Vilabouly
  • Atsaphone
  • Xayphouthong
  • Phalanxay
Capital:
Kaisone Phomvihan