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