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Getting There

By Plane -- Pakse Airport is situated 2km (1 1/4 miles) from town heading north up Rd. 13. Lao Airlines (Rd. 1.; tel. 031/212-252; open 8am-11:30pm and 1:30-4:30pm Mon-Fri) has daily flights to Vientiane and twice weekly to Luang Prabang. A one-way flight to Vientiane costs $129. There are also international flights to Siem Reap and Bangkok. A jumbo from the center of town costs about $1. Departure tax on international flights is $10.

By Bus -- Hotels, restaurants, and travel agents lining Rd. 13 sell bus tickets with an inclusive shuttle to the terminal or pickup point. The VIP bus to Vientiane (you can't miss it -- it's huge, luridly decorated, and costs 150,000 kip) picks up in town. The Northern Bus Terminal is located 8km (5 miles) to the north of the airport. Regular buses to Vientiane cost 100,000 kip. We recommend you take the VIP sleeper bus. It's a long way. This is the place to get transport to Vientiane and all towns along the route. It is also the terminal for buses to Vietnam via the Lao Bao and Lak Xao crossings. For excursions to the Bolaven Plateau, all destinations south, and to the remote east of the country head to the Southern Bus terminal 13km (8 miles) out of town heading south. Tickets to Champasak cost 10,000 kip and the bus to Don Kong (the drop-off point for Four Thousand Islands) costs 40,000 kip. The VIP Bus Terminal is along Rte. 11 heading near the BCEL Bank, although the buses pick up and drop off in town as well.

By Car -- Pakse marks the junction between the main north-south Rd. 13 and Rte. 16 crossing west to east from Thailand to the Bolaven Plateau.

Getting Around

Plenty of tuk-tuks ply the streets of Pakse, although you will need to haggle. On a shared ride reckon to pay about 50ยข to most places around town. You can rent step-through motorcycles at many hotels, restaurants, and travel agents around the central area along Rte. 13. The price is about $10 and some machines are certainly better than others. The Lankham hotel also has a few 250cc dirt bikes if you want something more serious. They cost $25 per day. If you want to travel engineless, bicycles are also available along the same drag for $1 a day (the ones at the Sang Aroun Hotel look good and they have gears). The Lao Chaleun hotel rents a minivan with a driver for $100 a day, which works if there are several of you.

Visitor Information & Tours

Pretty much all hotels and guesthouses have an affiliated travel agency on-site and they all run similar tours. Good travel agents dealing with tours in the south include:

  • Green Discovery (Unit 47, 13 Rd. 13; tel. 031/252-908; www.greendiscoverylaos.com) runs a host of activity and sightseeing tours of all kinds around southern Laos. The staff is friendly and helpful and their English is good.

  • Remote Asia (Rte. 13 Km 4, Vientiane; tel. 020/202-2139; www.remoteasia.com). Remote Asia is based in Vientiane but runs a whole variety of motorcycle and adventure tours around southern Laos, which you can book in advance online. They can offer you standard itineraries or you can be in touch with them by e-mail before your trip and they will assemble something individual for your needs.

  • Xplore-Asia (129 Rd. 13; tel. 031/212-893; wwwxplore-asia.com) can show you everything in the vicinity. For coffee aficionados they have a special coffee tour up on the Bolaven Plateau. You won't only drink it -- you will see how it is created and meet the villagers who make their living producing it.

  • Diethelm Travel (Thaluang Rd. opposite the Thaluang Hotel on the road running parallel to Rd. 13 btw. Rd. 13 and the Se Don River; tel. 031/212-596; www.diethelmtravel.com). This upmarket travel agency has a small Pakse branch.

Fast Facts

Banks & Currency Exchange -- BCEL (Rd. 11 along the river south of the old French Bridge; tel. 031/212-770; open Mon-Fri 8am-3:30pm) has a currency exchange counter outside at the entrance that changes cash and traveler's checks and can give advances on both Visa and MasterCard. There is also an ATM, which takes Visa and MasterCard. BCEL has three other ATMs scattered around town including one situated on Rd. 13 right in the center of the hotel and restaurant district. They only issue local currency up to a limit of 700,000 kip. They also apply hefty charges. You are better off using the exchange kiosk. The Lao Development Bank (Rd. 13; tel. 031/212-168; open Mon-Fri 8am-4pm) changes cash and traveler's checks and gives cash advances on Visa and MasterCard.

Hospitals -- The Hospital (tel. 031/212-018) is situated on the corner of Rd. 10 and Rd. 46.

Internet Access -- There are many Internet cafes lining Rd. 13. Some of the machines are in serious need of technical support and a complete system reinstall.

Post Office -- The Post Office is south of the town center at the corner of Rd. 1 and Rd. 8.

Telephone -- The city code is 031.

Tourism Information -- The Tourism Information Office (Rd. 11, 20m/66 ft. toward the river from the BCEL Bank; tel. 031/212-021; open 8am-noon and 1:30-4:30pm). This is a good place to find out about tours and onward transportation.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.