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Champasak and Wat Phu

A visit to south Laos is not complete without visiting Champasak and Wat Phu. This page will tell you how to reach both places.

Wat Phu, south Laos

Khmer Outpost: Wat Phu

From Pakse, Champasak is only 38 km away. There are four ways to reach Champasak. First, the usual, by bus. Second, take a boat, it's a nice ride on the Mekong to Champasak, I've done that in 1999. There are two roads connecting Pakse with Champasak which I have cycled in 2001, 2010 and 2013.

The junction to Wat Phu and Champasak
The junction to Wat Phu, which some travelers simply oversee

You can use the National Road 13 leading south out of Pakse city center. The road is hilly though not very difficult. After about 30 km you will find the junction to Wat Phu and Champasak. It's from here a 7 km to the ferry and a nother km or 2 to Champasak which will be your base to visit Wat Phu, another 10 km further south.

Crossing the Mekong with a small private boat, cost me 30.000 kip.
Crossing the Mekong with a small private boat, cost me 30.000 kip.

Alternatively you can cross the bridge at Pakse which leads to Chong Mek and take the first junction on your left (right if you come from Chong Mek). This is nowadays a nice asphalt road and sees hardly (if any) traffic.

Champasak village center
Champasak village center


Champasak has a few cheap guesthouses. You may want to spend a night or 2 here as it is a good base to explore Wat Phu.

Expect prices from US $5-10. Nothing fancy but clean and friendly.

Road 13 near the junction with Wat Phu

Road 13 near the junction with Wat Phu

Wat Phu

The reason to visit Champasak is the Khmer temple Wat Phu. The temple dates from the 11th to 13th century.

Wat Phu, Champasak

Although much has been destroyed in time, there's still quite a lot to explore.

Wat Phu South Laos Khmer temple Wat Phu
Left: Wat Phu near Champasak, south Laos
Right: Wat Phu temple

Wat Phu was originally dedicated to Shiva, but in later times it was (and still is) in use as a Buddhist shrine.

View from Wat Phu to the surrounding flat lands

ou will arrive at a basin, which used to be a city. Passing the basin, there are the remains of two palaces. The walls contain some amazing stone carving work. Unfortunately most of the palaces are in such a state you can not enter.

Wat Phu, Champasak, south Laos
Detail of Wat Phu

Leading further uphill you will come to the best preserved temple. Here too is some amazing carving to be seen as a nice overview of the surrounding lower flat lands. Wat Phu is certainly worth a visit.

Wat Phu entrance

Other pages about Laos:

North Laos Central Laos South Laos

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