Located: Southern of Laos (Southern Provinces)
Champasak is the third largest province in Lao PDR
Total area: 15,415 square kilometers
10 Districts: Pakse, Sanasomboun, Bachieng Chaleunsouk, Pakxong, Pathoumphone, Champasack, Sukhuma, Mounlapamok & Khong
Capital of the province: Pakse
- Pakse City
- Pakse is the Capital of Champasak Province which is situated in the Southern part of the country, sharing borders with Thailand to the West, Salavan, Sekong and Attapeu provinces to its north and east, and Cambodia to the south. Pakse is the 2nd most populous in the country, serving as a major transport and commerce hub for southern Laos
- Hotels in Pakse
- Most of the hotels in Pakse are located within 3 km from the airport and the main downtown area is just 2 km away. Tuk-tuks and motorcycle taxis transfer from airport to accommodation in town costs around US$1-3. Alternatively, airport pickup arrangement can be made ahead with hotel booking.
- Pakse Tourism Attractions
- Pakse is an ideal base to visit:
Bolaven Plateau, an elevated region with coffee plantations, ethnic villages and off beaten tracks
Khon PahPheng Waterfall which is over 10km wide and the biggest waterfall in the world,
Vat Phou Temple a UNESCO World Heritage Site,
Si Phan Don (4,000 Islands) Wetland Area,
the Xe Pian National Protected Area.
In the Pakse area, there are about 62 tourist sites comprises of natural, historical and cultural sites. There are many French colonial style buildings remaining in the city. From Sedon Bridge, often called 'old bridge' by the people of Champasak, one can walk around to see the old French style quarter.
- The Lao – Japan Mekong River Bridge was constructed in 2002 and is a route to Thailand. Wat Poratana Sadsadaram (Wat Luang Temple) is located in the centre of Pakse district. It is a temple that consists of traditional and new style constructions. There is a library, which was built in the last decade and a shrine with amazing wall paintings and excellent sculpturs .There are also interesting temples located close to the city including Wat Phabat, one called 'Wat Tamfai temple' and Wat Chomphet.
- The climate in Champasak province is typically warmer than Vientiane, with temperatures ranging from 16C to 38C (in May from 34 – 38C) Laos generally enjoys a mild tropical climate, but it can get quite chilly in the cool season. Generally temperatures range from 10 - 40 degrees Celsius in the Mekong Valley. There are three distinct seasons: cool from November-February; hot from March-May and rainy from June -October. Most people visit from October to February, however the rainy season offers lush green landscapes, and is crowned by the colorful Lao New Year's festival in April.
- The national currency in Laos is the Kip. The banknote of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000 are available, Thai Baht and US dollars are commonly accepted in Pakse, but less so in rural areas. There is a number of ATM machines in Pakse, which are from BCEL, Phongsavanh, Lao-Viet and STB Banks and dispense Lao Kip only. Cash advances on credit cards can also be made at major Banks.
Major travelers checks can be cashed at banks.
Credit cards are accepted in major hotels and a limited number of upscale shopping establishments in big cities such as such as Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Champasack. ATMs accept Visa, Mastercard and several cards with inter-bank access, and dispense kip notes. Thai baht and US dollars are generally accepted in larger urban centres.
The best currencies to use when exchanging money are: US Dollars, Euros and Thai Baht. Currency exchange can be done at the bank, airport, or at a foreign currency exchange office. The exchange rate is around 8,000-9,000 to US$1.
Tipping is not customary in Laos except in tourist-oriented restaurants, where 10% of the bill is appreciated, but only if a service charge hasn't already been added.
- Working Hours
- Government offices and banks are generally open Monday to Friday from 8:00-12:00 and from 13:30-16:00. Shops and private business usually are open longer.
- Flight & Overland
- Daily flights from Bangkok-Ubon (then travel by land from Ubon to Pakse, 1 hour and 40 minutes) operated by:
Thai Smile: 2 times a day
Nok Air: 6 times a day
Thai Air Asia: 2 times a day
Thai Lion Air: 4 times a day
- From Vientiane to Pakse ( crossing Friendship Bridge from Nongkhai to Vientiane, then VTE –Pakse 9-10 Hours ), VIP bus from Vientiane to Pakse costs 200,000 Kip per person.
From Mukdahane ( Thailand ) – Savannakhet-Pakse ( crossing Friendship Bridge II ), 3.5 Hours
From Vietnam –Dan Savanh border –Pakse, 5.6 Hours
From Vietnam –Attapeu border –Pakse, 5 Hours
From Ubon-Pakse 1,5 Hours
From Siem Reap-Pakse 6-7 Hours
- Airports & Airlines
- There are four international airports in Laos: Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, Luang Prabang International Airport, Savannakhet International Airport and Pakse International Airport. Lao Airlines is the national carrier and monopolises the majority of flights in and out of the country.
Air Asia: Flies from Vientiane to Kuala Lumpur several times per week.
Bangkok Airways: Connects Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Pakse to Bangkok, plus Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai.
China Eastern Airlines: Flies daily to Kunming and Nanning from Vientiane.
Lao Airlines National carrier: The extensive international flight network includes Vientiane to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Danan, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Kunming, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Singapore; Luang Prabang to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hanoi and Siem Reap; Pakse to Bangkok, Danang, Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap; and Savannakhet to Bangkok and Danang.
Thai Airways International: Vientiane to Bangkok connections twice daily.
Vietnam Airlines: Connects Vientiane with Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Phnom Penh, plus Luang Prabang with Hanoi and Siem Reap.
- Visa Arrangement
- To enter the country, visitors need a passport with at least six months validity. Thirty-day visas are available from Lao Embassies and consulates abroad. Tourist visas are readily available at airports and most land borders for between US$30 and US$42 for one month. Some nationalities, notably ASEAN members, may get a visa-free stay -- check with a Lao consulate or embassy for the very latest information (Visit https://www.laoairlines.com/?contentkey=pages&id=67 for more info).
- Visa Extensions
- The 30-day tourist visa is extendable an additional 90 days at a cost of US$2 per day, although this can only be done in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. There will be a fine of US$10 per day for overstaying.
- Customs Regulations
- Laos custom prohibits entrance to the country with more than 500g of tobacco or 1L of distilled spirits. All the usual prohibitions on drugs, weapons and pornography apply. (Refer http://laocustoms.laopdr.net)
- Laos has only basic health care and visitors should check with their physicians regarding which vaccinations and health precautions to take before coming. The World Health Organization recommends the following vaccinations for Southeast Asia: diphtheria and tetanus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella, polio and typhoid. For those taking special medications, be sure to bring along an adequate supply to last the length of your trip. Precautionary measures like eating only well-cooked food, drinking bottled water, staying hydrated, avoiding being bitten by mosquitoes and wearing protective clothing will help prevent most common ailments.
- Laos' main geographic features are low mountains, the Xieng Khouang and Bolaven plateau and the Mekong River Valley. Of the country's 237,000 sq km, about 70% is mountainous, with the highest peak, Phou Bia, reaching just over 2,800 m.
- The national language is Lao as it is spoken in Vientiane, but English is commonly used in major tourist centres. Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai are widely understood. French, German, Russian and a number of other European languages are also spoken by many educated Lao as several received university training in Eastern Europe during the 1970s-1990s. In addition, there are over 220 indigenous languages spoken by Laos' 47 ethnic groups.
- Post and Internet Access
- There are post offices in all provincial capitals, from which to send letters and parcels to your home country. Both DHL and FedEx have offices in the capital. Internet access is widely available in all major tourism centres, and all but the most remote population centres. Internet access is available in many hotels, guesthouses, and restaurants in big cities. Although internet cafes are often available in provincial capitals, it is difficult to connect to the internet in rural areas.
- Phone and Fax Services
- International Direct Dial is widely available and travellers can send and receive faxes from all post offices and many private businesses. You can also purchase a local SIM card for your mobile phone.
- 24-hour electricity is now available in all major population centers and many district capitals. Laos uses 220 volt AC. The 2 round pin adapter or 2 flat pin adapter is used in Laos.
- Business Hours
- Government offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30-12:00 and from 1pm to about 4:30. Private businesses are generally open later, especially restaurants and entertainment venues. Except for restaurants, most businesses are closed on Sunday.
- Local Culture
- All visitors should avoid wearing sleeveless shirts and short skirts/pants when visit temples (call "Wat"). Visitors should also remove their shoes when entering a Wat or a private home. Upon entering private home, guests may be served fruit or tea. These gestures of hospitality should not be refused. Since the head is considered the most sacred part of the body and the soles of feet the least, it is considered rude to neither touch a person’s head nor use one’s foot to point at a person or any object. In Laos, men and women rarely show affection in public. It is also forbidden for a woman to touch a Buddhist monk.