The Savannakhet Loop

Lone Rider

Blokes Who Can
Jan 29, 2011
4 Wheels
The Savannakhet Loop

Most people who are a bit familiar with Laos know about the Thakhaek Loop - a 2 or multi day round trip from Thakhaek to caves like the Buddha Cave, Konglor Cave etc. the Songsou waterfall and waterfalls near Ban Nahin, etc. and return to Thakhaek.

However, near Savannakhet there is another loop which is known as the "Savannakhet Loop" but which very few people know about. During my last trip to Laos I made a one-day trip to do this loop which starts in Savannakhet and goes to the Turtle Lake, the old Taleo Budhist Wat which was partly destroyed during the war, the Hotay Pidok Buddhist library and the Monkey Forest and return to Savannaket along the same way or alternatively, taking another way which can include That Ing Hang and at the end a stop at the Boeng Va lake east of Savannakhet for a bite to eat or just enjoy the surroundings.

Quite a few changes had taken place since the last time I was in that area and The Monkey Forest and the Hotay Pidok Buddhist Library can now be reached along paved roads as the road from Rd. 9 south to the Monkey Forest and onwards to Champhone District has now been paved.

I started from Rd. 9 (turnof at N16.70188 E105.22576P and took the road to the south to the Monkey Forest (coordinates N16.53983 E105.25289)

From here it was an easy ride to Ban Lamchanh (east of the Monkey Forest) to see the Hotay Phidok (coordinates N16.54891 E105.27966).


Photo Copyright ID Reisewelt, Germany


Picture and video: copyright The Bigfella

From here you can go to the Turtle Lake and the old Taleo Buddhist Temple by heading east till the first junction and then head south (coordinates N16.54099 E105.28964) along a 16 km. long dirt road to Ban Taleo (coordinates N16.41872 E105.25160) and another 4.5 km further south to Ban Don Daeng and the Turtle Lake also known as Nong Luang (coordinates N16.38310 E105.25907).

However, as I wanted to map the new road I back tracked a bit and followed the new paved road to Rd. 6312 and Rd. 6303 to Champhone (coordinates N16.44977 E105.19422). This road runs along the Soui Reservoir where food and drinks are available. From Champhone it is about 8 km along a partly paved road (Rd. 6303) to Ban Taleo.

Wat Ban Taleo (the old wat at N16.42282 E105.24857) - the whole background info on this temple and more pictures can be found here:

and the Turtle Lake (coordinates N16.38310 E105.25909) - the locals say that there are several turtles in the lake but in the 4 visits to the lake I have only once seen a single turtle

In case you are still in the mood to see more on the way back, a visit to That Ing Hang stupa east of Savannakhet


Picture copyright

This is a sacred stupa and reportedly the burial site for one of Buddha's bones. It was built about 450 years ago by the King Marukhanakhone to commemorate the Buddha's visit to the site in the past. Buddha is believed to have delivered a sermon to people at the site and later took a rest under the "Hang" tree. This is the reason why the stupa is called That Ing Hang. That Ing Hang is located in Ban That. There are several ways to get to the stupa so bring your map.

Note: Women are required to wear a traditional Sin (Lao Skirt) in order to enter the site. These are available next to the entrance. You need to pay for entry fee.

From here you can head back to Savannakhet along a now paved road which runs along Boeng Va Lake - the latter is a place where quite a lot of people go to in the afternoon to eat and drink and watch the sunset.

Thanks Auke. I remember that loop well from 2 years ago, when I did it on a scooter.
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