The Sala Savanh is a former colonial building pleasantly converted into an atmospheric small hotel, with time-darkened wooden floors and chairs on balconies round the upper-floor rooms. I stayed two nights here in September 2008.
There’s also a surprisingly good choice of restaurants in the town, perhaps a legacy from the French colonial period: we ate at a charming restaurant on the main square one night and on the next at a floating restaurant on the Mekong, outlined in coloured lights and bobbing gently with the swell of the river.
Savannakhet itself is one of the former ports along the mighty Mekong, which flows north to south through Laos. These provincial towns are just emerging from the somnolence of post-colonialism and the economic straitjacket of Communism, and – as with Luang Prabang – retain many of their fine, French-era buildings.
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