Savannakhet, 470 km (290 miles) south of Vientiane, is a former French colonial provincial center. This pleasant riverside town is today the urban hub of a vast rice-growing plain. It's distinguished by some fine examples of French-colonial architecture. One of Savannakhet's curiosities is a dinosaur museum, which displays fossils discovered in the area. There are some options for eco-trekking north of Savannakhet in Tha Kaek at the fantastic Khong Lor Cave, but given the distances and slow transport down here, this will take a lot of extra time. That said, the town itself is worth a daylong visit tops, and most visitors on a timetable bypass it for the more interesting options farther south.
Khantaburi Rd., Savannakhet, Laos