Thakaek, the provincial centre, offers plenty of options for getting around on your own, as well as tours run by operators and the Provincial Visitor Centre. More hotels and guesthouses are opening in key destinations, matched with better restaurants.
From Vientiane Capital’s Southern Bus Terminal, VIP (LAK80,000) and Express (LAK70,000) coaches depart for Thakaek at 04: 00, 05:00, 06:00, 12:00, 13:00, and 17.15 for the 5-hour ride. Busses are also available to Kong Lor (10:00) and Nakai (17:00).
Busses to Thakaek leave from Savannakhet, Pakse, Attapeu, Salavan, and Sekong. You can enter Thakaek from Thailand’s Nakhon Phanom Province via the Friendship Bridge. Visas on arrival are available.
Tuk tuks are readily available for sightseeing around Old Thakaek, while some sawng taew drivers can be hired by the day for tourists who want to visit specific attractions around Thakaek and into Cave Alley. Prices are negotiable.
A few local busses stop at district stations, mostly in the morning and late afternoon. Sawng taews (Pickup trucks with benches) and mini-busses travel between Khammouane’s district centres.
Motorbike and bicycle rentals are available in Thakaek, and most travellers tackling The Loop go by motor scooter. You can also hire vehicles with drivers and riverboats with captains at guesthouses, hotels, and tour operators.
Accommodation is readily available at or near most major attractions and bases for activities. The province offers some 20 hotels, three resorts, and more than 90 guesthouses in Thakaek, Ban Na Hin, Kong Lor, and the Nakai Plateau. Prices range from $10-300 per night to suit all budgets and types of travellers.
Khammouane has more than 130 restaurants throughout the province. In Thakaek, the Mekong is lined with restaurants serving local dishes such as grilled chicken, fish, and rice noodle meals. There are some eateries that offer Western menus at the Night Market and a few destinations throughout the province. Otherwise, you’ll mostly be dining on local dishes, and rice noodles will play a big part.