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Laos >> Savannakhet Travel Guides
Savannakhet Province is the most populous province in Laos, and stretches from the Mekong River bordering Thailand in the west, to the border with Vietnam in the east. It has become an important trade route between these two neighbors. With the opening of the third Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge between Mukdahan and Savannakhet, there is even more traffic through the province. There are three national protected areas in the province.
The capital city of the province is Savannakhet, but it is officially called Muang Khanthabuli. Located on the Mekong River, it is the second largest city in Laos, and is across the river from the Thai city of Mukdahan. During colonial times it was a large business and administrative center for the French, and they left their mark on the city, with many old French colonial buildings, especially in the city center. Unfortunately, most of these buildings are in a sad state of disrepair.
The town is laid out in a north-south orientation, and it is easy enough to get around on foot. Getting around by bicycle is a good option, and many guesthouses offer them for rent. You can rent a motorbike, but you do so at your own risk.
There are a few things to see in town, and perhaps the most interesting is Wat Sayaphum with its tranquil grounds. The original temple is said to have built in the 1500s, but most of what you see today is from the 19th or 20th century. There is a large population of resident monks and novices, and it also provides education for day students. Other places of interest are the Provincial Museum (dedicated to President Kaysone), a Dinosaur Museum (yes, there were dinosaurs here), and, and Wat Rattanalangsi (1950s).
Thailand Border Crossing The Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River means that you do not take the ferry across the river any more. Evidently the boats from Mukdahan are now only used by Thai and Lao nationals. There are regular buses from Mukdahan during the day, with the fare being around 50 Baht one way. 30-day visas on arrival are available at Laos Immigration.
Vietnam Border Crossing The road from the border with Vietnam has been greatly improved and there are buses to Savannakhet from Dong Ha, and other cities in Vietnam. The border crossing is called Dansavanh on the Lao side, and Lao Bao on the Vietnam side. Laos Immigration issues 30-day visas on arrival, but Vietnam visas are NOT available at the border.