Introducing Savannakhet Province
Savannakhet is the country's most populous province and is home to about 15% of all Lao citizens. Stretching between the Mekong and Thailand in the west and the Annamite mountains and Vietnam in the east, it has in recent years become an increasingly important trade corridor between these two bigger neighbours. With the luxuriously smooth tarmac of Rte 9 now complemented by yet another Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge, opened in December 2006, the province is witnessing even more traffic.
The population of approximately 926,000 includes Lowland Lao, Tai Dam, several small Mon-Khmer groups and long-established communities of Vietnamese and Chinese.
There are three NPAs wholly or partly in the province: Dong Phu Vieng to the south of Rte 9, Phu Xang Hae to the north and Se Ban Nuan straddling the border with Salavan Province. Eastern Savannakhet is a good place to see remnants of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the primary supply route to South Vietnam for the North Vietnamese Army during the Second Indochina War. It is also a major gateway for visitors arriving from Vietnam via Lao Bao.