Angkor Heritage in Laos

Champassak Travel Blog

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I started my morning at Champassak with a trip to Don Daeng, a decent sized island in the middle of the Mekhong. I had to catch a ferry (2 small boats held together with a plank of wood) in order to cross to the island on my motorbike.

Here I whizzed around the countryside on my rented moto, where I met villages doing their everyday thing. I witnessed some blacksmiths at work, as they heated up the metal rod and hammered it into shape. Country life is so simple, so rugged yet so peaceful.

At the centre of the island is an old stupa that doesnt seem to have an origin. It was interesting as it was the only one on the island. After making a quick stop at the stupa, I continued riding to the opposite side of the island, where I caught another ferry across the river to the other side of the Mekhong.


Here I continued my journey along a dirt road which seemed to lead to nowhere and I was very confused as there were a few turns, but I continued going straight in the hope that I was going in the right direction. After a while I decided I'd ask for directions to Prasat Om Muong. Thankfully I was heading in the right direction, and soon I reached a bitumen road.

On the so called highway I continued south a fair bit at about 90km/hour (I didn't dare go any faster as I didn't have a helmet, and I only went this fast when I knew the road was straight and flat, and had no other vehicles... I know I am stupid in the first place to even ride that fast *weak smile*)
It wasn't long when I saw the turnoff to head to Prasat Om Muong. Yet again it was another dirt road that seemed to lead to nowhere, until I saw a large group of pilgrims heading back towards the highway.
Prasat Wat Phu
I asked them and they said just continue ahead and you'll see the site on the right hand side.

Om Muong compound was fairly large, but what's left is fairly small. Set in a mystical looking forested area, I roamed around the vicinity taking a few snap happy photos and continued back to Champassak, as I was really anticipating Prasat Wat Phu.

I caught a ferry back at the end of the highway turnoff and returned to Champassak for lunch. After lunch I continued my ride to Prasat Wat Phu where I was greeted with a fairly large compound that was just as impressive at the Khmer ruins in Angkor.

I paid my $3 entry fee and visited the museum, that had some very high quality Khmer statues and carvings.
Prasat Wat Phu
Wat Phu is located at the base of the mountain, spanning a fairly large area as it also contained 3 massive barays. The causeway up the mountain was all layed with sandstone and along the causeway were pillars in different states of disrepair.

The hike up to the top was a very daunting and tiring task. But at the very top you were greeted with some magnificent views of the base of the mountain. At the very top of the Wat Phu vicinity, lay the ruins of a sandstone and brick sanctuary, which contained some very high quality lintels and basreliefs. At the rear end on a boulder were the 3 hindu gods in immaculate shape. Further to the right of the compound were boulder carvings of a large elephant, snake and crocodile.

I spent a few hours admiring the scenery and just relaxing at the very top.
Prasat Wat Phu
When I headed down, I popped back into the museum to purchase a VCD about the site, and had a talk with one of the curators about the other Khmer sites located in Southern Laos. He of course only knew of the 2 immediate nearby ones and had never heard of any others. We were talking for a while and I managed to persuade him to take me around as my guide and also as a translator in search of the ruins that neither of us have been to. I also organised an early morning at Wat Phu for the sunrise, as the site opens at 7:30 I think it was, which is too late for the sunrise.
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Prasat Wat Phu
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Champassak
photo by: droonsta