Just a short direct flight from Siem Reap and the Angkor complex is the town of Pakse, the gateway to southern Laos and just a short drive from the province of Champasak.
Dominated by the vast expanse of the Mekong River, this sleepy tropical region is home to the temple ruins of Wat Phou, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.
Set on the hillside at the base of Mount Phu Kao, it is estimated that the enigmatic, tumbledown remains of the temple complex date back as far as the pre-Angkorian Chenla kingdom which ruled the area in the 6th to 8th centuries.
More recent work to finish the structures was undertaken during the Angkor period, a testimony to the Khmer empire that went on to build the iconic temples in Cambodia.
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