Thakhek is a former trading port city in central Laos, situated on Mekong river and bordering Thailand. Town as many other towns inside the country is marked with French colonial architecture from early 20th century. Wandering around town square reveals many crumbling French villas surrounded by overgrown gardens. In south of the city stands one of the holiest pilgrimage sites around whole country – Wat Pha That Sikhottabong. And in the north a massive Kampaeng Yark sandstone wall which most likely was built as a defensive structure. Still majority of the travelers who arrive here are determined to do the famous Thakhek loop!

Even though city is not a major tourist attraction itself, most of the visitors are drawn to it due to this exact reason and trapped-in-time atmosphere. On the other hand, city acts as a perfect base of operations while visiting the nearby Mahaxai Caves, karst formations, nature sanctuaries or preparing for the Thakhek loop. Thakhek loop is one of the major attractions in central Laos. Renting a motorbike and going on a trip, wandering around in caves, visiting lagoons, glowing rice fields and karst formations is amazing way to experience central Laos.

Helpful tips

Restaurants. There are multiple places in the city where you can find descent food. In most of the local restaurants you will find price and quality ratio alright and fresh food. Stop by and try local food in a night or street markets, look for a cleaner place and enjoy!

We enjoyed our meals most in restaurants found around fountain square which are right in the middle of the center!

Markets. In Thakhek as in almost every other city in Laos you will not easily find a lot of cheap souvenirs to put on your fridge. However, we encourage to walk around and look for hand made goods in local markets. Here they will charge you more if you look like a tourist. In shops all over city prices vary around same level, thus, choose a more convenient for you. We did not find any shops which would accept card payment, town is full of small shops and markets who loves cash, so be prepared and have some cash with you!

Transportation. To get to Thakhek you can use car, bus or boat as it is not for a big city it has quite developed infrastructure and accessibility. We traveled to Thakhek using hitchhiking from Savannakhet. The road quality is good. Currently, the roads are not massive but well maintained. We got lucky and reached Thakhek in the middle of the day. Either way you choose, be aware that infrastructure is not bad but clearly not the best, roads are small and sometimes two-line road (one line each direction) is already considered as a highway. So, do not forget to enjoy the trip not only the destination.

Inside the city you will find yourself using local Tuk Tuk’s, bikes or mopeds which are one of the most convenient transportation devices used to get around. To explore the Thakhek loop you will must definitely need a motorbike. However, if it is just the city exploration is doable on foot if you decide to skip on bike.

Best of luck planning your holidays in Laos!

Is there anything else you would like to visit while in Laos?

If you have anything in mind, please let us know and let’s discuss it.

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