Savannakhet is located in the south of Laos on the banks of the Mekong River, neighboring Thailand and Vietnam. 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 from Mukdahan, Thailand.
Kaysone Phomvihane, the capital province, was named to honour the greatest leader of Laos (its former name was Khanthabouli). Savannakhet 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 Ing Hang 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. The National Provincial Protected Area at Dong Natad is one of the 20 national protected land parcels in this province. A large tract of tropical monsoon forest hosting many ethnic minority groups, this area has a diverse wildlife population and offers eco-tours for Nature lovers.
Although, Savannakhet and its surrounding areas have not developed as rapidly and prosperously as Vientiane and Luang Prabang, it is one of the country’s most popular provinces for communication and commerce. The province acts as a commercial buffer zone between Thailand and Vietnam and is a very active location for trade between neighboring countries. Moreover, Savannakhet represents Laos’ only Special Economic Zone (SEZ) or the Savan-Seno.