Pakse, the capital of Champasak province in southern Laos, is known for the produce grown by ethnic minority groups on the nearby Bolaven Plateau and sold in colorful central markets. The town is also the gateway to the Khmer archaeological site of Wat Phou, which stretches over the lower slopes of the sacred mountain, Mount Phu Ka. They are predecessors of the mountain temples recently found in Cambodia and Thailand. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was built by the founder of the first Khmer empire, is smaller than the more well-known Angkor Wat but equally mystical with its tumbled-down pavilions and tall trees. Visitors to Champasak province can also hike up to the Phou Salao Viewpoint, where you can find a giant golden Buddha Statue and visit the iconic twin 120m-high Tad Fane Waterfalls.