Meandering for 4km along the right bank of the Mekong and bordered by Thailand
, Champasak is a sleepy town sandwiched between the river and mountains; and of wooden shophouses and recently paved roads, with a pace so decidedly leisurely that it’s difficult to imagine it as a seat of royalty from 1713 until 1946 and the capital of a once bustling kingdom, whose territory stretched from the Annamite Mountains into present-day Thailand.
These days, Champasak is a somnolent place best-known for the Wat Phu complex, a series of intricate Khmer ruins which were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 and and several other archaeological sites that are slowly being unearthed. A land of swift rivers, emerald rice paddies, and tropical highlands wreathed in mist and fog, Champasak is a unique destination in a country that is already far off the beaten path. There are also several delightful riverside restaurants, a few shops and several scattered French colonial-era buildings sharing space with traditional Lao wooden stilt houses.