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Central Laos is rarely at the top of anyone's list of most desired destinations and is often simply flown over or driven through on a night bus. That does not mean it is devoid of attractions. Both Savannakhet and Tha Khek are atmospheric towns strung out lazily along the Mekong facing, respectively, Mukdahan and Nakhon Phanom in Thailand. East of Tha Khek you'll find wild scenery featuring karst outcrops and some beautiful lakes. It is an area increasingly popular for trekking and ecothemed tours.