submit to reddit GoNOMAD Travel          Instagram


Savannakhet, Laos

By Monk Media


The best colonial architecture in Laos, near the borders of Thailand and Vietnam, and, best of all, hardly any other tourists. Savannakhet is a quiet town, despite being the second largest in Laos.


Anytime. Summer: hot. Winter: hot. Fall: hot and wet.



Take a smooth nine-hour bus ride from Vientiane (50,000 kip -- by far the most pleasant bus ride in Laos), or endure a brutal, 12-hour, back-breaking, teeth-rattling, but colorful ferry ride across the Mekong from Thailand.


Savannakhet’s best attraction is the town itself. Well off the beaten track, Savannakhet’s lovely tree-lined streets of ochre and turquoise row houses see few other travelers. For a few days, it’s easy to forget you’re a falang.

It’s also a convenient staging ground for further exploration of southern Laos, including remote Khmer ruins, the Ho Chi Min Trail (a network of dirt paths and trails that begin just of town) and the islands in the lower Mekong.


Accommodations are few and spare.

  • The Mekong Hotel is the most plush (for what little that’s worth), but there is a sketchy border-crossing-smuggler-vibe in the lobby.
  • A short walk away is the Ninh Guest House -- cavernous, quiet, cheap, and not particularly clean. Rarely have I seen spiders that large in my bathroom.


Few restaurants have English menus, so there’s a lot of pointing and nodding required. Right off the riverfront is the simple "French Food" restaurant, which offers equally simple French fare. There’s also an open-air café in the middle of the main church square that offers typical Lao fare, including chicken fetus in the shell and fried larvae.



Read more GoNOMAD stories about Laos




. Sleeping with Akha Hill Tribes in Northern Laos By Holly Cave I was getting more tenacious after
GoNOMAD Destination Guide: Vientiane, Laos By John P. Seely We cross the Mekong
GoNOMAD DESTINATION MINI GUIDE Savannakhet, Laos By Monk Media WHY GO The best
Hiking to the rock climbing area near Vang Vieng, Laos.
I was a lunatic for coming all the way to Laos, a landlocked nation without any beaches, for a A
by S. Michael Scadron Northwest Laos: Cruising the Mekong By S. Michael Scadron Waking
A Taste of Laos Survival in Laos. Stacy Dixon photos. By Stacy K. Dixon Traveling to Laos from
Luang Prabang, Laos: A Slice of Heaven? By Paige Stringer "Happiness only multiplies, never
on photo to enlarge. Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang Laos: Kayaking and Rock Climbing By Christine
Micro-Lending Programs Help the Forgotten Women of Laos By Charlotte Halligan [Scratch
. Arriving at Muang Ngoi on the Nam Ou River in Laos Discovering Muang Ngoi, Laos
On the way to Oudomxai - photos by Matthew Kadey Cycling Northern Laos: A Pedaler's
Across the Friendship Bridge: A An Alternative Way to get from Thailand to Laos By Jack Clontz
The Buddha Park in Vientiane Read More About Laos on GoNOMAD Vang Vieng and Luang
festival near Buddha park in Vientiane, Laos. Photo by Kenton Molloy. Click on photo to return to Kenton

Tags: storySection: Destinations
Location: Asia, Laos
New Travel Articles
amazon ad300x250