Languid, time-trapped and somnolent during the sweltering days that batter the old city's plasterwork, Savannakhet (ສະຫວັນນະເຂດ) is a charming blend of past and present Laos. The highlight is the historic quarter with its impressive display of decaying early-20th-century architecture. There's little to do in town but wander the riverfront and cool off in one of a clutch of stylish restaurants and bijou cafes that are steadily growing in number.
That said, there's plenty to do outside of town and outfits such as Marvelaos can help you plan intrepid trips into the nearby countryside and NPAs.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Savannakhet.