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Savannakhet Attractions: That Phonh and Stone House


Savannakhet has several of it's own attractions. The most interesting are the dinosaur museum and two archeological sites: That Phonh and Stone House.

The Dinosaur Museum

The little museum is situated in the Ministery of Science and Technology. It contains 2 rooms with findings in the Savannakhet province of dinosaur fossils. Most of these fossils are found around 100km east of the city.

Dinosaur Museum in Savannakhet

The entry for foreigners is K10.000. Explanations are in Lao and some in English. Bones shown contain of some of the massive dinosaurs living in this part of the world.

The museum is located at Ratsaphanit Road not far from the Mekong.

Around the city: That Phonh and Stone House

There are some interesting sites to visit when in staying in Savannakhet. To me the most interesting site to visit were 2 ancient Khmer sites: the 6th century stupa That Phonh and the 12th century Stone House.

Stone House

These 2 sites are to be visited in a day trip from Savannakhet by motorbike, tuk tuk or taxi but if you are on bicycle and you consider coming or going to Savannakhet, I recommend visiting by bicycle.

From Pakse
Take the junction at Paksong to Kong Panong, this road is paved until you reach Kong Phavong. Continue from here to Stone House and take the junction to That Phonh at Xiapoutong (this is a dirt road). The road to That Phonh is excellent. After visiting the stupa, go back to the junction passing Wat Sisaket and Palm Garden to Ban Lak 35 and Savannakhet or go back to Xiaphoutong and do the last 35 km following the Mekong on mostly dirt roads.

On the road to Stone House and That Phonh
Village near Stone House

If you do not want to visit Kong Panong (a series of strange rock formations in the Mekong, continue to road market Savannakhet 61km and turn right. Follow this dirt road 16 km. It leads directly to Stone House.

From Savannakhet
Take the road out of the city following directions to Pakse. Take the SECOND asphalt road to your right (opposite the hospital). Soon you will pass several little villages as Ban Pakkha. The road turns after several km's into a dirt road but it's good cycling as there is no further traffic.

You can find accommodation in Paksong so there is no need to go back to Savannakhet.

Road to Stone House
The road to Stone House

That Phonh

The stupa was build in the period 557-700AD. The stupa is quite worn out but there are still traces left to see that show the characteristics of the Khmer civilization.

That Phonh stupa That Phonh stupa

The site is very active with local pilgrims and every year during the full moon in February there is a festival.

That Phonh is located 45 km south of Savannakhet.

That Phonh Stupa

Wat Sisaket and Palm Gardens

A few km away you can find Wat Sisaket. I didn't find the temple too much of interest but the palm gardens are beautiful. Their actually ordinary paddifields but the scenery is beautiful.

Palm Gardens near Wat Sisaket

Stone House

Stone House is a Khmer ruin which was build in the 12th century. It was one of the 121 resthouses build by Jayavarman VII. It shares similar characteristics with the further south constructed Wat Phu and despite it has been restored 3 times, including in the days of the Khmer kings themselves, there isn't a whole lot left.

Stone House

That said, the ruins are worth a visit. The temple itself was a Hindu complex but contains nowadays Buddha statues from later stages. Despite the state of the temple, there is an annual festival held in the full moon night in April.

Stone House

It's not a big complex, basically a temple at the Mekong riverside but I think it's worth the effort to visit.

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