The Champassak province is one of the greatest cultural, political and economic centers in southern Laos. Its geographical position, near Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, assigns the city a strategic role.
Champasak is one of the three largest rice baskets in Laos. The capital of Champasak is Pakse (pakse means an estuary in Lao). The city was built by the French in 1905 and now is one of the most crowded cities in Laos.
The Kingdom of Champasak (1713–1946), in southern Laos, broke away from the Lan Xang kingdom in 1713. The Kingdom of Champasak prospered at the beginning the 18th century, but it was reduced to a vassal state of Siam before the century had passed. Under French rule the kingdom became an administrative block with its royalty stripped of many of its privileges. The Kingdom of Champasak was abolished in 1946 when the Kingdom of Laos was formed.
Champasak, is a fairly dense residential area, with lush rice fields nourished by the water and sediment of Mekong River. Champasak has many beautiful attractions such as Khone Phapheng Falls and Wat Phu which has been recognized as a world cultural heritage.
Former royal palace of the pre-Angkor period, Wat Phu or "mountain temple" is a jewel of Laos. It is part of an extensive restoration program undertaken by UNESCO and was recently listed World Heritage Site. In order to reach Wat Phu from Pakse, you have to take a ferry trip across the Mekong River.