With a population of 70000 people, Pakse (also known as Pakxe) is a relatively new city, having been founded by the French in 1905. The city is the capital of Champasak province and the main gateway in Southern Laos, and gives access to the Bolaven plateau to the east and to the Si Phan Don region to the south. Since the construction of a bridge over the Mekong (built with Japanese aid), which improves the traffic flow to Ubon Ratchathani in neighbouring Thailand, Pakse has become the commercial centre of southern Laos.
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