Like neighbouring Salavan, Sekong is very little visited, thanks to its poor road network and close to non-existent tourist infrastructure. A province of high mountains and deep river valleys, it is reputed to have stunning scenery -- but we haven't been able to see anything except the most accessible so far.
If you're planning to explore Sekong using locally-available transportation, be prepared to spend a lot of time and a lot of money. With your own motorbike or 4WD, your options are better, but still not fantastic.
A fairly recent addition to the Lao landscape, Sekong town was cut out of the forest and laid out on a wide, map-easy grid spread across an area about ten times the size it needs to be. It seems the urban planners had high hopes for the future development of the town, but as things currently stand,aside from the admittedly very scenic Sekong River, there is just about nothing whatsoever to see in town and everything is a bit of a walk away from everything else.
But Sekong hasn't given up on its 'if we build it they will come' philosophy.' On our first visit in 2004 we found many of the guesthouses closed up, seemingly due to low patronage. On a more recent visit, we found staff available at every place in town, and despite only a smattering of potential guests showing up daily seeking rooms, several new, ambitious hotels had sprung up, ready and waiting to receive the throngs, if and when they ever decide to show up.
In the meantime, though, the place still has a bit of the feeling of a ghost town (and, in the case of the Sekong Souk Samlane Hotel, even a few ghosts).
The most exciting thing to do in town is to get up at 05:00 and watch the locals fishing in the river, then walk along the river road, as the Buddhist faithful line up with donations of food for the monks who make a long slow promenade in their orange robes to receive their morning meal in begging bowls.
For some, though, that is the attraction. As the expansive menu is Phantip Restaurant reads: If... you can imagine just being, without the pretensions of always finding the most fantastic and remarkable things, and not running around expecting to see something unique and utterly picturesque around each and every corner. If you can endure a place with virtually no action whatsoever apart from the public radio broadcasting the local and national news in the mornings and evenings. Then Sekong town, or Muang Lamman as the locals say, is a place for you.
Further afield, Tha Teng is a small town without much going on -- really just a pit-stop along the road to Sekong or Salavan. But those looking for an off-the-beaten-track experience will find it, like nearby Paksong and Lao Ngam, utterly free of any pretensions towards being a part of the tourist industry.
A stop-over in Tha Teng is a good way to get in the right mindset for a trip through the rest of southeastern Laos, and the dirt road from Tha Teng to Ban Beng passes through many road-side villages with no electricity or running water, offering a picturesque and easy-to-access look at traditional Laotian life.
Koky Guesthouse | Pysaxay Guesthouse | Sack Da Guesthouse | Sekong Souk Samlane Hotel | Somchay Guesthouse | Vangxang Savanh Sekong Hotel | Woman Fever Kosmet Centre Guesthouse |
Text and/or map last updated on 10th August, 2009.
Get orientated with a map of Sekong, Laos
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