Thakhek is the capital of Khammouan province in central Laos, Khammouane is a region of rugged landscapes and has some of the most fertile land in Laos. As well as producing rice, sugar cane, cabbages and bananas, Khammouane also has two protected areas of biodiversity, the Khammouane Limestone Park and the Nakai-Namtheun Park. The population is multi-ethnic and composed of Phuan, Tahoy, Kri, Katang, Maling and Hmong peoples. on the banks of the Mekong River, opposite Nakhon Phanom in Thailand. Formerly known as Sri Gotabura, Thakhek was the outpost of the my-Khmer kingdoms of Funan and Chenla. Its name dates from the colonial French, it means "mooring point for guests". Thakhek has a number of French colonial government buildings, villas and shop-houses.