Pakse (The Bolaven Plateau Loop)

 I Continue From Here – 4000 Islands

Backpacking Laos: Day 005 (11-Feb-2020) & Day 006 (12-Feb-2020), Day 007 (13-Feb,2020)

Pakse / The Bolaven Plateau Loop

I came back to Pakse and as planned, stayed at Pakse Backpacker (Ban Thaluang, Pakse, Laos). I went to the Bike rental office below the hostel to check the prices. I also enquired at a place called Miss Noy Motorbike. All prices are comparable. I finally booked a bike at the office near the hostel. They also handed me a map of Pakse loop with important places marked. I could do it in 2,3 or 4 days. As I had less time, I chose to do the 2-day loop. 

That evening I decided to explore Pakse. I went to Wat Luang temple by the Mekong river. 

I also visited the Pakse market. Finally, I stopped at Champady By Dao Coffee restaurant for some tasty food - Pad thai, Mango sticky rice and Lemon grass juice. Those were delicious. 

I also got some time to finish my sketch of Patuxai. 


Next morning (12th Feb), I left Pakse at around 8AM. My 2-day Bolaven Plateau loop had begun. Here is a map of the loop that you could do in 2, 3 or 4 days. I did the smaller loop - Pakse-Tateng-Paksong-Pakse.

My first stop was Tad Pasuam waterfall. Early in the morning, this place was deserted. There were just five other bikers along with me. The rectangular rock formation here is interesting. 

I continued my journey and stopped at Mr.Vieng Coffee homestay and coffee. I ordered some black coffee that came with roasted peanuts. The coffee tasted great. 

Just as you get back to the main road from homestay, you arrive at the village centre. On your right, you will find two huge huts. Here you shall find local women weaving. They have a small store to buy these handmade products. 


At the top of Tad lo falls, there was only one other guy who was sitting at the edge of the waterfall and fishing. After he left, I had the waterfall for myself. I enjoyed a nice bath in the river. The place is amazing. 


Next stop - Captain hook homestay near Thateng. This is a tribal village. At entry, they collected a nominal fee. When I went in, Captain hook had left for a village tour with other tourists who had arrived before me. I ordered some egg fried rice and lemon juice for lunch. A middle-aged man had a baby girl tied around his back. He was walking around smoking a bong. I got my cellphone charged while waiting for food. Meanwhile, I enquired about the stay there. 


I was served  juice in a bamboo cup and straw. The egg fried rice was a lot and I struggled to finish it. By then, Captain hook and the tourists arrived. There was a Spanish couple who stayed back to chat with me. When I mentioned that I would stay here, the woman made a face that indicated a disapproval to the idea. She asked me – “You want to stay here?” The man had the same expression. I figured they weren’t happy about it. I wondered why, but did not bother to ask them. Even I had not found the village very welcoming. The reason behind their reaction, I was to learn only later. It was anyway early to end the day, so I  decided to continue my journey. 


I drove to Paksong. I looked for a good homestay and found Savanna guesthouse. It is on the road to Market but further ahead. This is a very nice place to stay. My room was opposite a beautiful pond. 

I walked to the market but finding nothing interesting returned back to the room. 


It rained heavily that night. Next morning, I had some tea and left Paksong. My first stop was Tad Yuang waterfall. You walk down a set of stairs to reach this beautiful warterfall. 

A little distance from here is Tad Champi waterfall. There are so many waterfalls that you might choose to skip a few. But do not miss this one. It’s one of a kind. Not only is it beautiful but you can actually cross the river and walk behind the waterfall. It was a great experience. 


Tad fan waterfall was the last waterfall I visited on the trip. Zipline and other adventure activities are available here. 

Here I met a group of American tourists. An old lady asked me if I had visited Captain Hook’s homestay. She told me that the tribe had migrated from eastern part of India. They had weird practices. For example, if someone in the family died an unnatural death, for example, by an accident, the entire family had to live in forest for a month or so. They could not come out of the house and the food would be supplied to them by other villagers. She told me that there were more such weird practices. I recollected how the Spanish couple had disapproved of my idea of staying there. It made sense now. 


From here, you can drive back to Pakse and complete the loop. But I chose to take a slight deviation and go south to Wat Phu historic site. After checking on google maps, I found a shortcut. But I did not realise until I got there that this shortcut involved a river crossing. I had to cross the river by a boat.


At the museum entrance, you can leave your motorbike and buy the ticket. A shuttle service takes you to the Wat Phu site. At the museum, I met Youy, a friendly curator. He was curious to know about Indian culture and lifestyle. 


Wat Phu is a tenth century Khmer temple. The temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva. In the 13th century it was converted to Buddhist monastery. 


I walked up the hill to visit the temple there. The view from the summit is definitely wonderful. 

From Wat Phu, I rode directly back to Pakse. 

Here is my Vlog on this experience: