Bridge over the Mekong at Pakxe
Photo by: Migikata, Creative Commons

Pakxe, Laos was founded in 1905 by the French when they made it as an administrative outpost. It’s interestingly located in the convergence point of the Se Don (Don River) and the Mekong River. Pakxe (sometimes spelled as Pakse) is the capital of Champasak Province. This was where the King of the former Kingdom of Champasak resided. In 1946, the palace was abolished when the Kingdom of Laos was established.

Although not a town you would call highly advanced, it has grown so much since the Lao-Japanese Bridge was built and opened in 2002. The bridge runs across the Mekong River and it plays a very important role in performing brisk trades between Laos and Thailand. Thailand is to the west of the town.

In Pakxe, some colonial architecture can be found and one of the most popular is the Chinese Society building in the town’s center. It is well- known for its Franco-Chinese design. If you want to try their market and feel how it’s like to shop around, you can go to Talat Dao Heung. It is just near the Lao-Japanese Bridge and is one of the largest markets in the country. People go there especially those who love to shop for fresh produce and those who are patrons of the coffee from the very fertile Plateau of Bolaven. On the other hand, if you are interested to learn about their weaving industry, you can take a short day trip to Don Kho and Ban Saphai. They are just about 15 km north of the town.

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