Champasak - Wat Phu

Right: Wat Phu

I arrived in Laos on the international bus from Ubon Ratchathani. The service is designed for those wanting visa on arrival as the bus waits until all formalities are completed before continuing the journey to Pakse. Not wishing to linger in Pakse I immediately headed south for Champasak by sangthaew.

Guesthouses line the river in Champasak and the main attraction for tourists is the nearby Angkor period relic of Wat Phu.

Wat Phu

While Wat Phu is an Angkor period site, inscriptions in Sanskrit as well as Chinese sources indicate that it has been used as a place of worship since at least the 5th century. Southeast Asia's oldest Sanskrit inscription refers to a city called Kuruksera which was founded by a King Devanika and was the capital of the Mon-Chenla kingdom. Today the site is known as Muang Kao (old city) and aerial photography clearly shows the outline of the ancient city.

Below Left: Champasak   Right: Ferry across the Mekong