Champasak

Bordered by Thailand and Cambodia, Champasak Province is named after an ancient kingdom that once ruled the area - itself a successor to an even older, grander Empire. A land of swift rivers, emerald rice paddies, and tropical highlands wreathed in mist and fog, Champasak is a unique destination in a country that is already far off the beaten path. Today, Champasak is best-known for the Wat Phu complex, a series of intricate Khmer ruins which were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.

Visitors should note that, due to Champasak's subtropical climate, the best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from November to March.

Bordered by Thailand and Cambodia, Champasak Province is named after an ancient kingdom that once ruled the area - itself a successor to an even older, grander Empire. A land of swift rivers, emerald rice paddies, and tropical highlands wreathed in mist and fog, Champasak is a unique destination in a country that is already far off the beaten path. Today, Champasak is best-known for the Wat Phu complex, a series of intricate Khmer ruins which were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.

Visitors should note that, due to Champasak's subtropical climate, the best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from November to March.

Experiences

Don Daeng

Adventurous travelers can opt for a home stay in Don Daeng, a small island that is one of 4,000 in the lower Mekong River (each dry season, when the Mekong water level recedes, thousands of tiny islets are revealed).

Don Daeng is very rustic and traditional: stay with the warm, friendly family of a local fisherman. Meet the village elders, tour the local school, and help out with the daily chores. At dinner time, see a cooking demonstration of some of the traditional foods such as som tam (papaya salad), served with grilled fish and sticky rice.

Wat Phu

The jewel of Champasak Province, the Khmer religious complex at Wat Phu was recognized with official World Heritage status by UNESCO in 2001. The oldest of these temples pre-date the much more famous (and popular) Angkor Wat ruins in Cambodia by nearly 500 years. The temples are still seldom visited - you might find yourself the only visitor on any given day - but they won't remain so for long.

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