Thursday, October 20, 2005


Savannakhet (officially known as Muang Khanthabouli, but more commonly called Savan or Muang Savan) was established in 1642 by Lao prince "Thao Keosimphali"

He brought many families from Ban Phonsim (18 kms east of the present Savannakhet town) to settle down along the bank of the Mekong river and named his small town 'Ban Thahae'

Some crossed the Mekong river to settle down along its bank and named their town 'Ban HuayMuk' (it's known today as Mukdahan or Muang Muk).

The original name of the town was "Souvannaphoum". In 1883, the year of the French colonization, the province's name was changed by the French to Savannakhet. It's a second largest city and the most populated province in Laos - (2005 census: 824,662 people).

It is located just across the Mekong river from Mukdahan, Thailand.

Savan has twelve different ethnic groups, the city is mixed of Lao, Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese communities. Savan is also a major trading route in the southern part of Laos. Lao, Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese-made goods pass through this city daily.

Like many cities in Laos, Savannakhet has a number of French colonial and Franco-Chinese buildings. Savannakhet is home to the dinosaur remains discovered by the French geologist in 1936 at Ban Namo. There is an excellent museum containing many fossilised remains (5,000 kip)

Getting there


About 50m west of the bus station is the market and songthaew stand where songthaews leave regularly in the morning and very irregularly in the afternoon to destinations throughout the province. Best to get here at around 07:00 to be sure of a prompt departure, though better still to check estimated departure times the day before.

At the bus station, the station manager speaks English and timetable information is displayed in English as well, though again, best to check the day before as timetables may fluctuate. Try to get on the bus about 30 minutes before departure to be sure of a seat.

The bus to Vientiane picks up and drops of at Tha Khaek, Paksan, Pakading, Nam Thone and just about everywhere else. Other buses opereate to Pakse and Xephon


Places to consider are the
Nong Soda Guesthouse on the riverside and the very popular centrally located Saisouk Guesthouse.

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