Savannakhet: In some ways the Jurassic Park themed sentence “The Lost World” can be used to describe Savannakhet. French archeologists discovered dinosaur remains in the area around Savannakhet and left these bones and their famous French signature (their distinct architecture) in this city. Although there are only a few streets worth walking through, it still has a very interesting twist. Being right up against its neighbouring friend Thailand, many people cross over the river to work in this place as there are many large factories right outside the center.
The city gives a Great Gatsby feeling with art deco buildings scattered through town and the way the French architecture is preserved here (even though the buildings are enormously weathered) with scattered pots filled with flowers, plants or small trees the setting will make you want to stay just a little longer.
Savan Phatthana Guesthouse: It was really clean and super comfortable plus this place was around $10 which for two isn’t that much. The owners are really friendly and the thing I liked about this guesthouse is that it was all new and fresh even though I think it used to be an old school building. Cute thing was that they had a small container filled with laundry detergent which I haven’t seen anywhere yet: super nice!
Must See 1
Dinosaur Bones: The highlight of this place would be the dino bones in the museum found near the city center. We were lucky to be on time as the museum would close at 16:00 and that meant we had a small 30 minutes. Before we arrived we thought we might not have enough time as we read in the Lonely Planet that you could walk around for an hour. Only thing was we weren’t French which made the visit a bit more difficult and thus disappointing. The museum was really small and all the descriptions were in French or in Lao so 30 minutes ended up being more than enough time. However the impact of seeing the huge fossils and bones that are millions of years old, does make it worth your while. One tip is to bring a French dictionary.
Must See 2
Walkman Village: To be or not to be… this place will keep you wondering. Are the products here real or fake? Some brands like Hollister or Abercrombie & Fitch would let you believe to be real yet the other extremely fancy brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci or Burberry will let you think otherwise. We even found a beautiful PING golf club set but quickly reassured ourselves that this had to be replica’s as the price was incomparable to the originals as it was 10 times cheaper. Thus, you be the one to decide! Check it out near the river and ferry dock and be confused.
Cafe Chez Bonne: On our way to the dino museum we got a sudden crave in pasta and we found a place that makes a pretty mean plate of goodness. Inside the restaurant walls are covered with a warm wood yet the coolness of the ac will make you want to stay inside forever. The carbonara wouldn’t be accepted by a real italian as they used cream for the sauce but the flavour was just as good.
Sook Savan Bar & Sook Savan Café and Bistro: Both places are owned by a group of 5 Thai friends who know how to create a trendy stylish hipster happening. The Bar in the center looking out on the night market square and combines the French influences and style perfectly with old vintage furniture.
At night the place is filled with great live music and young locals playing cards outside on the upcycled metal scrap tables. Absolutely a highlight and hip place to have a beer while looking out over the night market while watching the sun set behind the huge cathedral church located on the square.
The Café and Bistro located next to the abandoned art deco styled cinema is a great place to start your day while enjoying a strong cup of heavenly coffee. The combination of the blue painted shutters, broken brick wall and weathered metal chairs make this an ideal trendy setting to make you believe you’re actually in France instead of Laos.
‘Banana-Mango’: Is it a banana? Nope, they’re not the only things being pealed down in Laos. These Mango’s are so ripe and delicious that their skin can be pealed off for an on the go snack attack. I can tell you one thing, try doing this with the European mango’s and you’ll end up crying.