Paksan (ປາກຊັນ) is in Bolikhamsai Province, in Central Laos. It is not a particularly appealing town but has become a busy place (by Lao standards) due to the ever increasing traffic on Hwy 13.
There are regular buses in both directions of Hwy 13, i.e., to Vientiane and Pakse (US$10, 10-15 hr depending on the bus) and everywhere in between. Buses going to Vietnam via the Cau Treo border crossing also pass through here. The most popular boarding place is in front of the market (on the other side of the bridge from the Paksan Hotel). Just flag anything down you like.
For buses to more local destinations, there's a bus terminal next to the market.
There are a number of waterfalls to be seen in the Phou Khao Kuai National Park. One is Tad Xay, another Tad Leuk.
Noodle soup and sometimes also a bit more variety in dishes can be found at and opposite the market and also on the east side of the bridge.
There are a few guesthouses around town, particularly at the east and west ends of town along Hwy 13. The following options are within a reasonable distance of the market and the main bus terminal.
- B.K. Guesthouse (about 500 m south of the crossing with the Paksan Hotel). Run by a very welcoming family. The daughter speaks some English, the mother speaks some French. The setting in the garden is very nice and the rooms are cosy, although a bit small and dark. US$5/room..
- Paksan Hotel (on Hwy 13 next to the bridge). Nice clean rooms with TV, fan and optional air-con. Don't be put off by the soulless entrance hall. Double rooms from US$12..