Thakhek is the largest town in the province of Khammouane, and the sight of an important boarding crossing between Thailand and central Laos.
The Third Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge spans the Mekong River that flows beside the city of Thakhek. Opened in 2011, the bridge connects Laos to Thailand’s Nakhon Phanom Province. Visa on arrival services are available on both sides of the bridge.
The broad lanes and sleepy colonial architecture left by the French are still intact, giving the small town a considerable amount of charm that meshes with the lazy pace of life along the Mekong River. That Sikhottabong overlooks the Mekong River, and the 15th century Buddhist stupa shrine is said to contain bone relics left from Lord Buddha’s cremation.
The main draw for travelers to the area is the stunning, and rarely visited karst formations and caves that riddle the lopping hills of Khammouane Province. The Phou Hin Boun National Biodiversity Conservation Area protects a 700-square-mile swathe of forests and hills, and the state park has become a favored destination in central Laos in recent years. Tham Kong Lo (Kong Lor) cave is a winding limestone passage navigated by boat that opens into a hidden valley. The natural wonder is the most popular destination within the protected area.
Best Time to Visit Thakhek:
The best weather to explore Khammouane Province’s stunning natural scenery falls between November and May during the dry season in Laos. Warmer temperatures come through the region in June, which continue into October. The second half of the year also sees increased rainfall, but the extra precipitation means the forests and rivers are at their fullest during this period.
How to get to Thakhek:
Thakhek is the capital of the Khammouane Province in Laos. A private vehicle departing from Vientiane to the north is the best way for our guests to reach the area.
Thakhek’s easy pace of life and beautiful colonial architecture make for an excellent excursion on a luxury tour of Laos, but the real draw for travelers touring Laos is the towering karst formations and caves in the Phou Hin Boun National Park.
Western-style clothing options are fine to wear while exploring town. If you’re planning to visit any of the Buddhist shrines or temples in the area, it’s best to dress modestly in clothing that covers at least your shoulders and thighs while on holy ground. If you’re planning on visiting the Phou Hin Boun National Biodiversity Conservation Area, dress for a hike with a stout pair of shoes for the excursion.