Many historians believe Khammouane, meaning “happy gold”, was named after the gold deposits found in the area hundreds of years ago. The province’s history dates back as early as the 6th to 8th centuries, when the region was part of the Sikhottabong Kingdom. Remnants of the ancient civilization include the Great Wall (Kampeng Nyak), Phone Stupa, and Sikhottabong Stupa, one of the most sacred religious sites in Laos.
The province has many buildings that date to the French colonial period, especially in the provincial capital of Thakaek. There is an abandoned railway track that was originally planned to connect Laos with Vietnam but was never finished. Today the only evidence of this endeavour is an old railway bridge over the Nam Don River.
Khammouane is a land of rugged karst mountains which were once the refuge of a succession of ethnic groups fleeing Haw invasions from the north during the 19th century. The famed Mu Gia pass at the end of Route 12 was one of the main transit points of the Ho Chi Minh Trail during the Indochina Wars.
Source: Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism