Our visit to Champasak was brief but exciting. The city itself has not much to offer but it is located in a pretty emerald green scenery. We arrived in the early afternoon, after crossing the Mekong river with a local ferry, and were ready to start exploring the town in almost an hour, the time which took us to find by foot a convenient guest house for our one night stay. There we rented brand new bicycles (never again with a hired old bike!!) and went to the nearby ancient Angkor style temple ruins.
The ancient Khmer religious complex spreads over the lower slopes of Phu Pasak, a sacred mountain for the local people. The archaeological site is divided into three levels joined by a long, stepped promenade flanked by statues of lions and nagas (mythical water serpent common in Thai and Lao legends and art). The lower level consists in the long causeway promenade flanked either side by ceremonial ponds that once was the entrance to the temple complex. The middle level comprises the sandstone Khmer pavilions with fine sculpture and reliefs. On the uppermost level is the main temple sanctuary itself.
The crumbling pavilions, the Shiva ligam sanctuary, the enigmatic crocodile stone, the stairs covered with grass and moss, and the surrounding dense vegetation give Wat Phu an almost mystical atmosphere. It was great up there, sitting among old ruins, an impressive cliff and the emerald green nature, but we could not enjoy our visit properly because it was the closing time and it was pouring rain like in the peaks of the rainy season.