GoNOMAD DESTINATION MINI GUIDE
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.
WHEN TO GO
Anytime. Summer: hot. Winter: hot. Fall: hot and wet.
GETTING THERE AND AROUND
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.
Savannakhets best attraction is the town itself. Well off the beaten track, Savannakhets lovely tree-lined streets of ochre and turquoise row houses see few other travelers. For a few days, its easy to forget youre a falang.
Its 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.
Few restaurants have English menus, so theres a lot of pointing and nodding required. Right off the riverfront is the simple "French Food" restaurant, which offers equally simple French fare. Theres 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.
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