After Laos became a French protectorate, Pakse, previously the capital of the rival Champasak kingdom, was taken by French forces and designated a regional administrative center. Throughout the intervening decades, Pakse saw its share of turmoil, falling first to Thai invaders and later to Laotian communists.

Today, Pakse has managed to overcome its difficult past, and is now the third most populous city in the country at 87,000. The capital of Champasak Province, Pakse is thriving, crowded city framed by the swift waters of the Mekong River and the looming mountains in the distance. Because of its location, Pakse is a transportation hub for the whole of southern Laos, complete with an airport that offers international flights to destinations throughout southeast Asia.


A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

4,000 Islands

One of the least visited places in all of Laos, or indeed Southeast Asia, the 4,000 Islands stretch of the lower Mekong is a remote, unspoiled destination. Best explored on foot or bicycle, it is a landscape of waterfalls, rapids, long and creaky wooden bridges, French colonial structures, and quaint restaurants.

Ban Katua

Stop at Ban Katua, a village with a scenic coffee plantation. Get a firsthand glimpse into the production process of Laos’ world-renowned coffees, and enjoy a private tasting of that very day’s product here. Afterwards, stop by the local market at Paksong, the Lao coffee capital and the place for connoisseurs to pick up their own supply.

Champasak Provincial Museum

Explore the Champasak Provincial Museum, which contains such artifacts as lintels and statues from Khmer temples in the province, as well as traditional costumes, musical instruments, pottery, and farming tools, detailing the history of the province. Stop in the adjacent, recently opened Provincial Library, which houses some 20,000 books.

Hill Tribes

Drive through the Champasak region, which lies at an altitude of about 4,000 feet (1,219 meters), and is home to around a dozen quite obscure ethnic minorities who are Mon-Khmer in origin, among them the Suay, known for being elephant herders or mahouts, and the Katu, known for their elaborate funerary rites. Chat with these people through your guide/interpreter who will share with you their unique way of life in Laos.

Talat Dao Heung

Visit Talat Dao Heung, one of the biggest markets in Laos and a good place to purchase the local take on Arabica coffee.


Visit the landmark Tad Fane waterfall, where the roaring waters tumble and crash from a height of 800 feet. After absorbing the sights and surroundings of Tad Fane, drive to the Tad Yeung waterfall and plunge into its gorgeous swimming area.

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