Savannakhet or Kaysone Phomvihane (population 120,000) is a city in western Laos and the capital of the Savannakhet Province, previously known as Khanthabouli. This is the second-largest city in Laos, after Vientiane. The city is birthtown of Kaysone Phomvihane, former president of Laos, and was named after him in 2005. Although the old French colonial quarter of the town, along the Mekong River-front, is depressed and crumbling, the town's proximity to Thailand's booming economy has brought about new commercial development in the northern part of the town, near both the river crossing and the bus terminal.
Like all Lao cities, Kaysone Phomvihane has a mixed population of Lao, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese, as well as minority peoples from the Lao interior. It has a large 15th century Buddhist temple, Wat Sainyaphum, a Chinese temple, a Catholic church and a mosque. The Second Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge over the Mekong connects to Mukdahan Province in Thailand. The two-lane, 12-metre (39 ft) wide, 1,600-metre (5,250 ft) long bridge, opened to the general public on January 9, 2007. The city is served by Savannakhet Airport.
Savannakhet features a tropical wet and dry climate, with generally very warm weather throughout the year. The city does feature warmer and cooler periods of the year, with average temperatures ranging from 22 C in January, to 29 C in March. Savannakhet has discernable wet and dry seasons, with the wet season covering April through October and the dry season covering the remaining five months. The city sees on average roughly 1500 mm of precipitation per year.