What to See in Savannakhet
Savannakhet is easy to explore on foot but tuk-tuks are also available around the city, taking you quickly to attractive sites. Savannakhet’s Vietnamese temples and Catholic churches located around the city are worth visiting. Some more fascinating sites to check out include: The That Ing Hang Stupa, the ruins of Khmer at Heuan Hinh (Stone House), Wat Xayaphoum, and the Dinosaur Museum. All are highly recommended and not-to-be-missed sites.
Visitors are recommended to drop by the Savannakhet Tourist Office. In addition to picking up a free map of the city and getting help from the efficient English-speaking staff, the Tourist Office also offers a wide variety of local walking tours and eco-tours. The office is located on Khantabuli Road, just before the Post Office.
Other Attractions in Savannakhet
A decent museum where one can discover more about the Savannakhet prehistoric period. It is the latest addition to tourist sites here and is situated south of the stadium on Khantabouli Road. The hall displays a massive collection of fossils excavated from 1930 to the present. Four different dinosaurs and early mammalian remains from 200 million years ago are on display; even some fragments of a meteorite that fell to earth over 100 million years ago are kept here. Don't worry if all the labels are in Laos and French; local staff next to the admission box will be pleased to translate for English-speaking visitors.
Heuan Hinh (Stone House)
A 1,000-year old outpost of the Khmer civilization, Heuan Hinh, is one of the most interesting Khmer ruins in Savannakhet. Unfortunately, like many other other historical sites, most of the original carvings have been lost and the structure is in poor condition. Heuan Hinh is a shrine built by the ancient Khmer to the glory of their Empire. Located in Ban Dong, Dokmay Songkhone district, some 65 kilometres south of Savannakhet.
That Phone Stupa
Another sacred stupa in Savannakhet, That Phone was constructed over a long period between 557 and 700. The stupa's annual celebration festival is held during the full moon period in February, celebrating the day when the temple served as a shrine for offerings made to Shiva and other Hindu Gods.
This temple sits on the banks of the Mekong River in Ban Xayaphoum Village. Wat Xayaphoum is perhaps the most beautiful temple in Kaysone Phomvihane. The temple was built in 1542 and is considered one of the oldest in Savannakhet. It is an important centre for local Buddhism. At Wat Xayaphoum, visitors will find a Buddhhist workshop where local villagers craft new Buddha images by hand. Wat Xayaphoum hosts major festival and ceremonies such as Pimai Laos and an annual Boat Racing Festival, held during October each year.
Other interesting attractions that are located on the main street in Kaysone Phomvihan which can be easily reached on foot or by a tuk-tuk taxi ride include: the Hor Tai Pitok Ancient Library; a wooden house containing a number of stunning palm scripts; the Lam Seun 719 Battlefield and the area's Catholic Churches with their French colonial design.
Alternatively, nature lovers can visit Tad Salaen Waterfall and Don Daeng Turtle Lake. This is around a 15-kilometre drive from the city. All are worth visiting..
Although tourist attractions in Savannakhet are not as widespread as in Luang Prabang, Vientiane, or Pakse, the charm of most attractions is that they are surrounded by local villages, French Colonial architecture and the incredible scenery that stretches along the Mekong River and this makes the city such a unique destination.