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Savannakhet (Kaysone Phomvihane)

Population: 120.000
Province: Savannakhet

How to get there: by bus and airplane (domestic flights) 

Savannakhet is located 500km south of Vientiane on the banks of the Mekong River. Its name originally comes from Savanh Nakhone, meaning ‘City of Paradise’.
Savannakhet is approximately a six to seven-hour drive from Vientiane. The road trip is an opportunity to view the Mekong River scenery and the spectacular hills along the way.
On the other hand, the city can also be reached via the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge (2007) from Mukdahan, Thailand.
It is the second largest city of Laos and home to various ethnic groups including Laotian, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese and more.
The city features a number of tourist attractions like the famous sacred Buddhist site – That Inhang Stupa and most the town's architecture is French Colonial.
There are some small restaurants and cafés alongside the Mekong River downtown, and even in smaller villages upriver.
Savannakhet is easy to explore on foot but tuk-tuks are also available around the city.
Savannakhet’s Vietnamese temples and Catholic churches located around the city are worth visiting.
Some more fascinating sites to check out include: The That Inhang Stupa, the ruins of Khmer at Heuan Hinh (Stone House), Wat Xayaphoum, and the Dinosaur Museum.

Heuan Hinh (Stone House)
A 1,000-year old outpost of the Khmer civilization, Heuan Hinh, is one of the most interesting Khmer ruins in Savannakhet.
Unfortunately, like many other other historical sites, most of the original carvings have been lost and the structure is in poor condition.
Heuan Hinh is a shrine built by the ancient Khmer to the glory of their Empire. Located in Ban Dong, Dokmay Songkhone district, some 65 kilometres south of Savannakhet.

That Inhang Stupa
About 15km outside Svannakhet. That Inhang is about nine metres high with beautiful carving and decoration. It’s reported to house a relic of Buddha’s spine.
Savannakhet itself is famous as the birthplace of Laos’ popular former leader, Kaysone Phomvihane.
That Inhang  is one of the most besutiful stupa’s on Laos.

That Phone Stupa
Another sacred stupa in Savannakhet, That Phone was constructed over a long period between 557 and 700.
The stupa's annual celebration festival is held during the full moon period in February, celebrating the day when the temple served as a shrine for offerings made to Shiva and other Hindu Gods.

Dinosaur Museum
A decent museum where one can discover more about the Savannakhet prehistoric period.
It is the latest addition to tourist sites here and is situated south of the stadium on Khantabouli Road.
The hall displays a massive collection of fossils excavated from 1930 to the present.
Four different dinosaurs and early mammalian remains from 200 million years ago are on display; even some fragments of a meteorite that fell to earth over 100 million years ago are kept here.