It's hard to imagine Champasak (ຈຳປາສັກ) as a seat of royalty, but until only 30 years ago it was just that. These days the town is a somnolent place, the fountain circle in the middle of the main street alluding to a grandeur long since departed with the former royal family. The remaining French colonial-era buildings, including one that once belonged to Chao Boun Oum na Champasak and another to his father Chao Ratsadanai, share space with traditional Lao wooden houses. The few vehicles that venture down the narrow main street share it with buffaloes and cows who seem relaxed even by Lao standards.
With a surprisingly good range of accommodation and several worthwhile attractions in the vicinity – most notably the Angkor-period ruins of Wat Phu Champasak – it's easy to see why many visitors to the region prefer staying in Champasak over comparatively bustling Pakse.
Just about everything in Champasak is spread along the riverside road, either side of the fountain circle.