Total area: 21,774 km2
Savannakhet Province is located at the crossroads between the North, South, East and West of Laos and has long been a center of trade and power. The Province is well noted as the birthplace of the Honorable Kaysone Phomvihane, first Secretary of the Lao Communist Party and co-founder Savannakhet town. His house and a museum documenting his life achievements can be visited in area was once inhabited by dinosaurs as evidenced by the bones found in Ban Tang Wai Village and the giant footprints found in Phalanxai, which are documented in the Savannakhet Dinosaur Museum. Remnants of an ancient civilization can be seen at the Stone House, a pre-Angkorian building located 40km down stream from town along the Mekong. That Ing Hang stupa, originally built more than 1,000 years ago and later rebuilt by King Saysethathirath in the 16th century, is the province’s most important religious site. Also of interest is the history library, Ho Tai Pi Dok, which is believed to have been built in the 18th century and was traditional used to house old bail an Buddhist scriptures, of more recent history is the section of the Ho Chi Minh Trail which passes through Savannakhet. Old tanks, guns and other war equipment left behind in the trail can be seen near villages on Route 9 near the Vietnam border.
The Phuthai ethnic group , known for its unique silk and cotton weaving, claims its origin in the province’s Villaboury District. The Katang ethnic group, which is loved for its famous folk song, Lam Dtang Wai, also has traditional lands in Savannakhet. For nature enthusiasts, trekking in Dong Phou Vieng National Protected Area (NPA) provides an opportunity to see rare Douc and Silvered Langurs. Phou Xang Hae NPA has a population of wild elephants as well as distinctive rocky outcrops and vistas. The Eld’s deer, once considered to be extinct in Laos, were rediscovered in 2002 in Xoubouly District and are revered by local villagers. The province is a hot spot for crocodiles, which inhabit the confluence of the Champone and Xe Bang Hieng rivers. Hundreds of stump-tailed macaques, considered sacred by locals, are easily spotted in the 4-hectare Monkey Forest. Giant Asian soft shelled turtles, also considered sacred, can be easily seen in Ban Don Daeng. In Dong Natad Provincial Forest, snakes, monkeys and old-growth forest are well protected by the villagers for spiritual reasons. Locally guided tours to the area are available.
Savannakhet is most notes for its weavings, especially Phuthai silk and cotton weaving in Villaboury district, and ethnic Katang weaving in the Dong Phou Vieng area. The favorite national meat, sin savanh, a flat, sweet dried beef sprinkled with sesame seeds, originates from Savannakhet and can be purchased in local markets.
The That Ing Hang festival is the largest festival of the year and is typically celebrates in December at the time of the full moon.