East of Attepeu
See the Russian missile
What we say:
It has a couple of interesting wats with a pretty setting on the bank of the Se Khaman River -- the locals seem to spend all day lolling around in the river, fishing, swimming and chatting. You can get out here by tuk tuk from the riverside market at the base of the bridge -- costs 10,000 kip.
While you're there, ask for Wat Phang Daeng -- two blocks past the Huay Phateun bridge -- which is a good starting point for a stroll around the village. It's a nice wat with a Khmer-style prang built in 1935 and the small chapel contains a large seated Buddha. In recent years the whole temple complex has been modernised and some new buildings have been added. It's still a beautiful place on the edge of the Se Khaman River.
Walking through the village towards the east you'll see some ruined French colonial buildings and a smaller wat painted an unusual turquoise with some pretty wooden carvings.
Heading down to the river, search for a boatman to take you across to the other side. You'll be in the village of Muang Khao on the opposite bank. The highlight here is Wat Luang, a very old, very prestigious wat that looks like it will fall down at any minute. There is a huge Buddha inside.
For those on motorbike, getting here is simple by following the sealed road three kilometres to the east, crossing the river and then heading back west along the southern side of the river. There are a number of other wats over here worth checking out if you have the time.
Further afield in the village of Paam is a piece of fascinating old war junk. At the turn off to Sanxai district three kilometres east of Xaysettha, keep left and follow the road for a further 16 kilometres. At the town of Paam in a park at the crossroads is a huge Russian-made, Vietnamese missile. It has a long history of being moved around the country during the war years and ended up in this remote village near the Ho Chi Minh trail in 1974 where it has remained since. The missile still has Russian and Vietnamese markings on it and the whole thing is mounted on its original launcher. If you're into war junk, this is a good one to check out.
Getting here by tuk tuk should be straightforward from the market in the east of Attapeu or from Xaysettha, but leave early so that you have enough time to catch the last tuk tuk back from Paam to Attapeu.
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