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Published: February 18th 2019
Pakse is the second largest city in Laos - for visitors it is most known for being close to the Bolaven Plateau (full of waterfalls, traditional villages and coffee plantations), Wat Phu (a temple that pre-dates Angkor Watt), and the 4000 islands (laid back...at the time traditional...islands in the Mekong along the border with Cambodia). I first visited Pakse 8 years ago, and was surprised how much I loved it. At the time, it wasn't on the backpacker/tourist trail - there was one hostel, a couple of big hotels, and not much else - I walked around and saw a lot of temples and folks living normal life, and absolutely no one tried to sell me a thing - it was the best.
Fast forward a few years and the backpacker trail has changed - Vang Vieng, once a partying mecca further north in the country, has been essentially shut down from a partying perspective - and the 4000 Islands seem to have taken its place. Given this shift, Pakse is full of hostels/hotels/tourist agencies/etc. - it still has quite a bit of charm, but I turned into a grumpy old person grumbling about how things used to be (eek!).
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