When we first passed through Pakse in 2011 we didn’t give the town a chance as we were part of the crowd just stopping through on the way to Vientiane.
On our return to Paske in 2013, we spent a lot longer here planning various motorbike adventures around the Bolaven Plateau visiting waterfalls at Tat Lo and exploring Bolaven Plateau coffee plantation tours! We decided to give Pakse more of a chance and explore what’s on offer.
Pakse is a lovely little place which deserves more credit than it’s given. I say little, but it’s Laos second most populated town! But as the same as the rest of Laos – Life moves slowly at its own pace.
The main tourist area in Pakse is located at the west of town near the mouth of the Mekong River, with most of the cafes, restaurants and hotels situated around the main road.
View Pakse Mini Guide in a larger map
This map shows all the cafes and restaurants mentioned below and some points of interest!
Our Favourite Coffee Shops in Pakse
Run by a flamboyant Thai woman and her falang husband, the Bolaven Cafe really has the whole western friendly cafe culture vibe nailed. Fresh airy decor, huge mug sized Americanos and lightning quick Wi-Fi and charge points.
They have loads of cakes and other goodies on offer too! All the coffee sold here comes from their own fair-trade plantation up on the Bolavan Plateau.
A little walk out of the main tourist area, Delta Coffee seems to cater more to the local Lao crowd. This isn’t a bad thing! The Wi-Fi wasn’t as good, and we couldn’t see charge points – But the coffee was excellent. Try the iced latte!
Cafe Sinouk Coffee
We were regulars at Cafe Sinouk in Vientiane so were glad to see another branch down in Pakse! Priced a bit higher than the other branches in town, it makes up for it with fresh cakes and treats, fast Wi-Fi and French colonial charm. The iced mocha was amazing!
Our Favourite Restaurants in Pakse
It’s all in the name. Pizzas! Plus pasta, chips and other western treats. And Pakse’s BEST tasting shakes! The service can be a bit off, but I don’t think it’s intentional. Pizza Boy is still our favourite restaurant in Pakse, with great Wi-Fi, charge points and the fluffiest, most ridiculous dog of all time called ‘Jif’.
Typical Indian cuisine, makes a change from Laap and Pho if you want a change. The jolly fat Indian man knocks up amazing vegan banana filled rotis. Worth a visit for this alone!
Hidden down a quiet lane off the main street, Champady is lovely find. Always quiet and run by very friendly staff, they whipped up a great pad Thai and an amazing passion fruit and strawberry shakes. Wi-Fi and quality Bolaven coffee seal the deal!
Things to do in Pakse
- Wide Boulevard block style streets means getting around Pakse by foot is a breeze. Or alternatively grab a motorbike or a bicycle from any one of the hotels on the main street and get exploring!
- Walk west along the old French bridge over the Xe Dong river. A great sunset spot, the view across the Xe River and out to the Mekong is stunning. Someone should build some river-side bars here (hint-hint)!
- Overlooked by guidebooks, there’s a whole selection of riverside restaurants and cafes overlooking the wide stretch of the Mekong river directly south of the main tourist area. These places are very popular with the locals in the evening, but it’s still a great spot for a Beer Lao, and a perfect place to enjoy the river view away from other tourists!
I hope you enjoy Pakse as much as well did! We’d love to know your favourite coffee shops and restaurants in Pakse!