Pakse and the road to Savannakhet, south Laos
Pakse is a small provincial town. The town has a big and busy market just outside the town which is the central market for the whole south of Laos. If you cycle from (or to) Thailand you will pass it.
Pakse is located 40 km east of the Thailand border Chong Mek and 30 km north of Champasak. Savannakhet is still another 248 or so km's north.
Should you come from either Chong Mek, Champasak or Don Det, don't be fooled. Pakse is a long stretched city. The bus stations marks more or less the most southern part of Pakse. However, the city center is still about 7 km further north!
Accommodation in Pakse
On arrival in Pakse, several km before the city center, you will find many guesthouses. There is however no need to stay here as in the city center there are several options.
The nicer and cheaper places to stay are at the old part of town, which is close to the river at the north side. This area has also some good and cheap restaurants.
You may want to find out more hotel options in though in reality it's just as easy to show up and have a look at a few places yourself. But in case you want to book in advance or want to check what is available:
Most travelers do not spend more than a night here and many immediately leave the town on arrival. That is because the town has very little to offer. Even the riverside is hardly worth a visit.
There are a few temples and a palace in town. Still, I wouldn't recommend more than a night in town before cycling/traveling north in the direction of Savannakhet or south to Champasak and Wat Phu
Cycling north to Savannakhet
Savannakhet is 248 km north of Pakse and there are (in 2010) no alternative roads, you have to use the National Road 13. The first time I cycled it, there were no guesthouses along the road, nowadays it's different.
Here is a list of villages with guesthouses. It's not totally complete but will do.
The road is mostly flat but there are little climbs here and there. It's never steep, nor long climbs but it can be a little tiring. The scenery is not spectacular though pleasant. You will pass plenty of villages where you can get basic food and water.
Other pages about Laos:
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Map of Laos
North East Thailand
Another part of Thailand which is much ignored by travelers is the north east. Admitted, there's not a whole lot to see but it's great cycling here: