One day in Champasak

One day in Champasak

In a rush? Here's a cheatsheet.

More on Champasak

The majority of travellers only spend a day in Champasak and while rushing through is completely out of sync with this somnambulant town, here is how to pack it into one day by motorbike.

Travelfish says:

Wat Phu is Champasak’s main draw and we suggest tackling it first thing to beat both the heat and the crowds. Allow for around two hours to cover it. Keep in mind that the site opens at 06:00 while the museum, shops and services open at 08:00.

Wat Phu is a must see. : Cindy Fan.
Wat Phu is a must see. Photo: Cindy Fan

Ride east back to the Mekong. If making good time, squeeze in a trip to Wat Muang Kang. The signposted turn off is just before where the road swings left and heads north towards town. Follow the dirt road two kilometres to find Champasak’s oldest active temple. The photogenic wat has a fascinating blend of architectural styles and a lovely position on the banks of the river.

Back on the the main road, the road swings left and north towards town and there’s an almost impossible to find secondary pier. We’ll do our best to describe the location: as the road curves, you’ll pass the entrance to Wat Louang Kao, cross a bridge and then a few metres on the right hand side, just before a concrete building with an orange metal roof is a dirt drive leading past a shop to a parking area/junk yard. At the rear is a dirt trail down to a small boat landing. Ask the people for a boat (heua) to Don Daeng and they’ll call someone (this could take 15-20 minutes of waiting). It’s 20,000-25,000 kip for you and your motorbike, depositing you on the southwestern end of the island.

You'll be needing one of these to cover all this in a day. : Cindy Fan.
You'll be needing one of these to cover all this in a day. Photo: Cindy Fan

Don Daeng is a fairly sizeable island—the western edge is nine kilometres long tip to tip and the dirt/sand trail is slow going. You need at least two hours of daylight to enjoy Don Daeng, much more if it has rained within the last few days. We suggest riding north along the western banks until the mid-point at Wat Si Mongkon. Cut across the island on the road through the rice paddies to the eastern edge, then ride north—this is our favourite stretch as part of the path runs through a magnificent towering forest.

In the northwestern side of the island, grab a refreshment in Ban Hua Don village or La Folie Lodge’s restaurant—the lodge allows outside guests to use the swimming pool for US$10.

You've earned it. : Cindy Fan.
You've earned it. Photo: Cindy Fan

Boats can usually be found at the tip, close to the “community lodge”, or ask around at the village, most families have a boat; ours was captained by a very capable 12-year old boy. You’ll want to be crossing before nightfall. Expect to pay 50,000 kip for a transfer back to Champasak.

Exhausted? Maybe you’ll make it back to town in time for a sundowner on the Mekong or for a pre-booked massage at Champasak Spa, grabbing the last slot of the day. End the day with a delicious dinner.

Reviewed by

Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you’ll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.

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These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.


Our top 6 other sights and activities in and around Champasak

Wat Phu
Wat Phu

A must see

Don Daeng
Don Daeng

Sail back in time

Champasak Spa
Champasak Spa

Heavenly pampering

Wat Muang Kang
Wat Muang Kang

Underrated temple

Ban Nong Bueng woodcarving village
Ban Nong Bueng woodcarving village

Traditional handicrafts

Um Tomo
Um Tomo

Small