Following directions and advice from Niko at Vivanouk Guesthouse, we went for a walk to see the historic sights of Savannakhet, mostly found along the riverfront.
There is a Buddhist temple and monastery called Sainyaphum or Xayaphoum Temple, erected in 1542 and outside you will find this Buddha head in the tree roots. We had paid to see something similar in Ayutthaya, Thailand, several years ago so it was good to see this similar one for free.
Just stay outside the temple grounds and you will find it in a huge tree on the corner.
The monastery has teenage novice monks from surrounding districts who come here to study English and mathematics and they were happy to practice their English with us.
French Colonial Hospital
The Savannakhet Hospital consists of a new building built in 2004 and an old part built in the 1920’s. We met some friendly staff who spoke perfect English and told us to feel free to walk around. We enjoyed seeing the old part of the hospital, it is still in operation, so please be respectful when taking photos. Very beautiful French Colonial design added to that the decay of time and lack of maintenance made for beautiful photos but also a sad feeling for the people who need to be in hospital.
This hospital is directly across from the river and there are a lot of seating areas beside the river in this area which would be nice for the visitors and sick ones to have a water view.
Old Government House / Former Provincial Museum
Built in 1895 is this former government house, apparently it was at one time turned into a provincial museum but now it stands empty right next to Daosavanh Resort along the Mekong River. The garden contains beautiful 100 year old frangipani trees. It is very beautiful to look at from the road but the guard wouldn’t let us go in any closer.
Art Deco (style moderne) Cinemas
There are two cinema buildings in town, one built in the 1930’s and the other in the 1960’s. The ‘newer’ building is still running as a cinema but they are both very interesting buildings to see from the outside and are on the same street as each other, a street back from the river.
River & Nature
The nicest thing to do here is to just relax and enjoy the surroundings. People are friendly but laidback, no one is in your face but they are happy to say ‘hello’ or ‘sabaidee’ to you as you walk past.
There are many dogs and cats around and we saw some cattle near the river.
We even saw a beautiful parrot in the tree which may be someone’s escaped pet but we would like to think it’s a native bird!!!
If you get to visit Savannakhet please tell us about it in the comments below