The provincial capital of Bolikhamsai province in central Laos, Paksan or Pakxan is a blip of a town that sits at the confluence of the Nam San and Mekong rivers, almost opposite the small Thai town of Bueng Kan.

More on Paksan

Browse hotels in Paksan on Agoda

Provided by Travelfish partner Agoda.

It’s little more than a pivot point; traffic from Vientiane actually has to go north before heading south on Route 13 and Paksan is on the arc of the downward turn. For travellers, the only likely reason to find yourself setting foot here is as a pitstop before swivelling north up to Xieng Khouang province and Phonsavan, or heading into Thailand via the little used border crossing.

Paksan is an adequate rest stop, with backpacker-friendly BK Guesthouse, a poky bus station, market and tourism office, though there really isn’t anything to see or do in town. The locals here are friendly and a couple of restaurants along the Nam San, like Saiynamsun at the bridge, provide the perfect opportunity to interact over a bottle of beer.

Paksan is about as low key as a provincial capital can get. : Adam Poskitt.
Paksan is about as low key as a provincial capital can get. Photo: Adam Poskitt

If you do decide to drop into the tourism office, which is inconveniently located on 4B two kilometres north of Route 13, be prepared to learn the phrase “bor mi” which means “don’t have”. Tours? Bor mi. Treks? Bor mi. Unlike its southern neighbour Khammouane, there are no tours, treks or guides available. English posters, free pamphlets and maps give some general information but the staff don’t speak English and the absence of tourist infrastructure means that Paksan actually isn’t the best jumping off point for exploring the province: Tha Khaek and ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 800 words.)

Log in to Travelfish

Please sign in to read the rest of this page. The full text is around 800 words.

Log in now
Become a Travelfish member

Choose from a free two-day pass right through to a lifetime membership.

Find out more

13 other destinations in Southern Laos

Learn more about Don Khon
Don Khon

Charming island getaway

Learn more about Champasak

All about Wat Phu

Learn more about Tad Lo
Tad Lo

Waterfalls and chilling out

Learn more about Don Khong
Don Khong

Real Lao life

Learn more about Don Dhet
Don Dhet

The land of the lotus-eaters

Learn more about Ban Khiet Ngong
Ban Khiet Ngong

Village living

Learn more about Tha Khaek Loop
Tha Khaek Loop

Get a bike and go

Learn more about Attapeu

Vietnamese boom town

Learn more about Pakse

The southern hub

Learn more about Tha Khaek
Tha Khaek

The launching point for that loop

Learn more about Savannakhet

A low-key riverside city

Learn more about Salavan

The Broken Bridge

Learn more about Sekong

Well off the radar