Savannakhet translates as ‘Golden Land’ and this old French trading post is located on one of the most important trade routes in South-east Asia. Shophouses of ochre-coloured stucco line narrow streets and tall trees shade French colonial buildings. This riverside town’s air of faded French colonial grandeur is embodied by its wonderful but crumbling architecture.
Savannahket offers low-key nightlife, and only a kilometre or two from town the paved roads become dirt paths meandering through traditional Laotian villages. Sleepy Savannahket’s appeal lies chiefly in its growing eco-tourism holiday options; trekking and mountain-biking are both popular for travellers here.