20/03/2018 – 24/03/2018
A few words on Pakse
Pakse is a small town in the South of Laos famous for the Bolavens Plateau close by. You can explore it by motorbike or organised tours. Located 10km from town, the Plateau is home to lots of waterfalls and typical villages.
Road are here in good shape (in opposition with Oudomxay) and it’s safer to ride. Count 100km a day to get to Tad Lo village, 60km from Tad Lo to Paksong and 40km from Paksong back to Pakse.
However, we were rather unfortunate to be there while the entire road from Paksong to Paske (40km) was under construction. A two exhausting hours drive on gravels and dust where we even landed off on our asses… We we were so fed up that we skipped the last two waterfalls and coffee plantation.
How to get from Ventiane to Pakse?
Any Hostel and Guesthouse sells bus tickets to the major cities in Laos and surrounding countries. We paid 150.000 LAK/pp for a night bus. Starting at 6-8 PM (a tuk-tuk will pick you up for free at your GH and get you to the bus station), you will get to Pakse 12 hours later, around 7AM. Arrived at the bus station, you will have to convert the ticket that was given to you at the GH to an official bus ticket.
Beds are quite small, but comfy and power sockets are available at each bed!
All of the cheap guesthouses (7-10€/night for a private room with bathroom) are located in the north, close to the travel agency « Laos Adventurer Tour ». That’s also the cheapest place to rent a motorbike by the way (50.000 LAK/day – 5€). Count 32.000 LAK for a full tank.
Pakse in itself is not really worth seeing. There is only a few pics to take of the Mekong river and a temple besides just chilling out at your guesthouse.
The Bolavens Plateau is really the big thing here. Maps are available in any GH in town and they are quite accurate. You have got a few options to go there and see the waterfalls, depending on your budget and the time you have at your disposal.
There is a small and a big loop, but we heard that the big one was more dangerous because roads were not in good shape and there is even a waterfall that you are strongly advised not to go to (« criminal zone » written on the map!!). I summarized hereunder your options with the costs:
Option 1: 1 Day tour (Car/minivan)
- 150.000-180.000 LAK/ pp (15-18€/pp)
- Petrol cost included
- Parking cost included
- No need to book any hotel on the way
- One day
- 45 minutes stop at each spot (waterfalls, villages and local tribes)
- No trekking
- Relaxing trip
Option 2: Several days tour (Motorbike)
- Motorbike rental: 50.000 LAK/day (5€) – 150.000 LAK (15€) for the three days)
- Tank (32.000 LAK/ full tank (3,2€) – 47.000 LAK (4,7€) to fill it up 1,5 times)
- Parking fees (2000 LAK/waterfall or you park far from it and you walk :p)
- Two nights on the way (30.000 LAK/night (3€) in Tad Lo and 70.000 LAK/night (7€) in Paksong)
- Three days
- Trekking between Tad Yuang and Tad Fane waterfall
- Exhausting drive
As a conclusion, I would say that both options are similar. Personnaly, we enjoyed taking our time at the different stops but driving was a pain in the ass. From Tad Lo to Paksong, there is nothing to see and we drove 40km on a road under construction from Paksong to Pakse. Would we have to do it all again, I think we would take option 1 instead 😀
Here are the major waterfalls along the way:
- Tad Phasuam, Bachieng village (10.000 LAK/pp)
- 1000 years old trees, Phopoum village
- Tad Suong, San-Dong village
- Tad Huang (4000 LAK/pp) and Tad Lo (6000 LAK/pp), Tad Lo village
- Tad Yuang, at km 40 (10.000 LAK/pp)
- Tad Fane, at km 40 (free if you trek from Tad Yuang; 3km)
- Coffee plantations and Thamchampy waterfall (we didn’t go there)
- E-Tu Waterfall, a bit further on the road (we didn’t go there either)
A few pics of Pakse
Pics on the road in the Bolavens Plateau
Our next step is going to be the 4000 islands before heading to Cambodia.