Our 2 day motorbike adventure in Pakse & the surrounding Bolaven Plateau - Laos
10.12.2008 - 12.12.2008 28 °C
Coming to the end of our overnight journey from Vientiane, we watched the sunrise and the sky awake from our bus window. After covering 750kms and travelling for over 10hrs, we reached Pakse bleary eyed and in need of a good stretch. Not being too sure what Pakse had in store for us, first thing first we thought was to find a guest house. Thankfully we found the Saibadee 2 which opened its doors to us even though it was just after 6am. The place turned out to be a godsend as they helped us put together an unforgettable two day adventure.
Struggling to function at that time in the morning, we ordered some strong black coffee and a toasted baguette to fuel us. After speaking to the reception staff, we spontaneously decided to skip checking in and instead hire a motorbike and pack an overnight bag so we could head straight into the highlands. The guesthouse provided us with some essentials and agreed to secure our other belongings until we returned.
By 8am we were on the bike, starting off slowly until Nathan got the knack of the gears and driving on the opposite side of the road. Within time we were cruising the country roads, admiring the thick green forest and agriculture plantations along the way.
The Bolaven Plateau is a beautiful region rising above the Mekong by 1500m providing the perfect ground to grow coffee and tea. It's also blessed with beautiful waterfalls and rivers. The environment is very much untouched by commercial development with only ethnic villages of thatched huts and a handful of guesthouses to shelter the few tourists who venture and stay in this area.
The sun was beaming down on us all day long. As it was so hot we stopped off at two waterfalls along the way to cool down. By 3pm we reached the most famous waterfall Tad Lo which is truely amazing. We found a great restaurant which we could enjoy some food and view the waterfall and river from afar. After finishing our food, we got that wave of tiredness you know get after a good feed. Considering we'd already rode 85kms, we decided to quit whilst we were ahead and stay put for the night.
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring on foot the waterfall and ending the day drinking cold beers on the terrace of our guesthouse.
Guesthouse we stayed at Tad Lo (closest to bridge)
Local boy fishing infront of our guesthouse
The next morning we woke up bright and early, fully charged for another day on the road. We had 120kms to cover so as soon as we finished brekkie, we packed up and jumped on the bike. For 45kms we drove on a dusty unsealed road. Even though we ended up being covered from head to toe in dirt, we really loved this leg of the journey as we passed many small villages with hundreds of children, squealing & waving at us with their adorable beaming faces.
Local School Kids
For lunch we stopped off at the twin waterfalls which you can hear its thunderous fall of water from across the valley.
Throughout the last 20 kms, the smell of coffee wafted around us as the local farmers were drying out their coffee beans alongside the road.
Coffee beans drying
We came across a bit of bad luck when the back tyre on our back went flat due to a puncture. However we were so fortunate as we were only 2kms away from Pakse and we literally only had to push the bike 50m to a repair shop. A young and eager Lao man whipped off the tyre and repaired the puncture within a matter of mins. We thanked & paid him before jumping back on the back and cruising the last couple of kms back to Saibadee 2 in Pakse.
At the roadside repair hut
It was an incredible two days on the road which we felt very proud of ourselves for being so spontaneous and for Nathan (after never riding a manual bike before) controlling the bike brilliantly.