|Tours can be arranged by hotels and travel agents
in Vientiane and in most provincial districts. Diethelm
Travel and government-owned SODETOUR are amongst the leading
companies. In the heart of the country, Vientiane is an ideal departure place
for exploring almost everywhere in Laos.
Go south to the once war torn province of Savannakhet,
where the North Vietnamese transported men and supplies through Laos to
Vietnam along a network of trails, known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Presently, there is not much to see, even though a host of war debris
and chunks of American planes retain. Even so it is still something
of a hit-and-miss affair. The best places to seek directions and a guide are Savannakhet and Xepon on the Vietnamese
Savannakhet town itself is something of an underrated gem.
The town is so quiet and relaxed that you could be forgiven for wondering if anyone
was there. Most houses are only 2 to 3-storey buildings,
and a number of them display strong traces of French architecture. The large market
is perfect for looking around and eating local food.
Beyond Savannakhet is the Bolavens tableland, an agriculturally
rich region growing fruits, coffee and tea. A
good way to see the nature left along with the wonderful
animals is an elephant trek.
Cambodia’s famed Angkor civilisation expanded into Champassak
province, contributing to Wat Phu, a Hindu temple with its
roots in pre-Angkor civilisations, which presently lies in ruins. Fortunately,
there is more than just a pile of stones, as much of the temple
remains intact, it stretches across quite a large, refreshing area.
River dolphins live towards the south of the Cambodian
border, especially around the islands of Si Phan Don. They
are found along the Mekong River and also occasionally
the tributary Se Kong River.