The provincial capital of Khammouane Province, Thakhaek, is located on the Banks of the Mekong River. Much of its architecture can be traced to French colonial construction in the early 20th century. The town's name in Lao means "guest landing" ("khaek" literally meaning guest), a reference to its earlier role as a boat landing for foreign traders. The center of the old town can be found around the fountain square near the river where many old building remain. During the French colonial period, Thakhaek was an important city, both for trade along the Mekong as well as a defensive out post on the front lines, with the Siamese, who weren’t too happy about giving up “their” territory. As a result of the strong French presence, there are a lot of French colonial style buildings around town from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, so if you’re interested in such things, a stroll around the old city area can be a pleasant way to pass some time. The old city was centered on a broad median plaza that stretched away from the river for a couple of blocks. Most of the interesting buildings are within five or six blocks of the plaza in either direction. You can easily make a loop walking down the riverfront, or better, one block away from the river, until you get to the end, then heading over one block further in and walking back.

Most of the buildings right along the riverfront are not that interesting, and it would seem that many of them have already been replaced by newer buildings. Few of the buildings have been restored to any degree, although some have been modernized with aluminum doors and windows.

  The Giant Wall

  Sikhottabong Stupa

  Old Thakhaek Town

  Muang Phone Stupa

  Tin Mines

  Historic Railway

  Ho Chi Minh Trail




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