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Savannakhet

Orientation

South-to-north running Phetsarat Road turns into Makhasavan Road when it turns northwest in the northern part of town. The bus station and Savannakhet's largest market -- Savansai -- are two kilometres up this road, and Friendship Bridge 2 is another three kilometres in the same direction.

To the west, Tha Hae Road runs along the Mekong River and there's an easily noticeable immigration office at the ferry terminal where Thai and Lao citizens can cross the river by boat. The office is due west of Talaat Yen plaza and is another landmark that's helpful for keeping your bearings.

Although road signs are still practically non-existent in Savannakhet, it's a small enough city that you can get around fairly easily on foot, though it's especially conducive to bicycles.

If needing to pick up a visa while in Savannakhet, the Thai consulate is, at time of writing, still located in a large green building on the corner of Tha Hae Road and Chaymuang Road, a stone's throw from the river and opposite the Dinosaur Museum on the north side of town. However a new consulate building is being constructed a good three or four kilometres outside of town on the way to the Friendship Bridge 2. Only a concrete frame had been finished in late 2012 so you'll probably have until well into 2013 or longer before you'll need to go there for a Thai visa. The Vietnamese consulate is out in the city's east-central reaches near the corner of Sisavangvong and Chao Kim Roads. If you can't find either of them, a skylab (the Lao word for 'tuk tuk') will be happy to take you.

A tourist information centre directly west of Talaat Yen plaza is a good place to begin your visit as they offer a solid range of maps and information on the area. Around the corner on Latsaphanit Road just south of Talaat Yen, the eco-guide centre is also extremely helpful not only for arranging treks to the NBCAs but also for info on Savannakhet and Laos in general.

Internet cafes aren't hard to come by, especially on Latsavongseuk Road. SIM cards for cell phones are also widely available at convenience and phone shops on Latsavongseuk and elsewhere. The police station is at the southern end of town near the river on Khaluang Road. The provincial hospital is just south of that near Daosavan Resort.

A small number of ATMs accepting major foreign cards have popped up in recent years, including at BCEL bank on Latsavongseuk Road between Udomsin and Chaymuang Roads. The classic currency exchange booths are also scattered around town, including near the immigration checkpoint by the river, around the bus station and more than a few on Latsavongseuk Road.

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