The Bolaven Plateau: Caffeine, Waterfalls and Wonderful Wat Phou

August 8, 2013 by | Filed Under: Adventure Travel, Culinary, Laos, News

The Bolaven Plateau gets it name from the Laven ethnic tribe. It is a spectacular natural area of Laos with waterfalls, vast forests, canyons and coffee plantations.

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Breakfast at Tad Fane Waterfalls
Having just come out of the world-of-dreams and still unsure if you are fully awake as you sit on the second story terrace of a charming café. While enjoying a hearty breakfast and coffee, you can listen to the rhythmic sound of the water from the adjacent twin waterfalls plummeting downwards. As you slowly become more aware of the world around, it’s time to get excited about a day of natural beauty ahead.

Tad Champee Waterfalls
A relatively precarious set of stairs leads you down to a small raft that’s attached to a rope. Sitting on the raft, you can pull yourself along the rope up the river to the bottom of the wide waterfall. Seeing it tower above you as your raft wobbles to and fro, and feeling your body vibrate from the sheer power of water hitting water, is one of the coolest experiences of the day.

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Sinouk Coffee Resort
Enjoy one of the best lunches you can have in Laos in a picturesque setting where a genius landscaper has brought together flowers, coffee bushes, streams, mini waterfalls and walking paths in brilliant unison. Also enjoy a cup of great espresso before heading back out into the Bolaven Plateau.

Ban Lak 38
The ethnic tribes in Laos are poor. Ban Lak, named after its location 38 kilometers outside of Pakse, is one of those poor villages. Only starting to attract tourists, you’ll see people sitting around smoking bamboo pipes and watching you go by. Khiri Reach, an outreach arm of Khiri Travel Laos supports the local school in the village and contributes school supplies that help make learning more fun and motivating. Despite their impoverished circumstances, we see smiles on the faces of the children as they run and play.

Roadside Coffee Shops
Driving around taking in the different sights and doing some trekking can be a tiring experience. Luckily there are lots of coffee shops along the sides of the main road, most selling their self-grown and freshly roasted coffee. This is the perfect way to get that extra bit of energy.

Pakse and Massage
On your way south to the Four Thousand Islands in the Mekong River (Si Phan Don), take a break in Pakse to enjoy a beer or cold beverage and have a traditional Lao massage. Tried and tested by the Khiri Travel Laos staff, Champa Massage offers great value for the money. Their aromatherapy smells are fantastic when you walk in their door. To find their shop, just go to the Pakse Hotel and look across the road.

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Wat Phou
This site absolutely justifies the stiff entrance fee to an ancient Khmer palace and temple. Situated at the base of a mountain, engraved stone structures mark the start of an arduous upwards hike to the holy site at the base of a cliff. The trek is both a work out and a religious pilgrimage that local people undertake once a year. On your ascent to the temple, take a break to catch your breath. Turn around for an astounding panoramic view of the wide-open floodplain of the Mekong River.

The Bolaven Plateau is a short drive from Pakse and easy to reach from Ubon Ratchathani in Thailand via the Chong Mek border crossing. This destination in southern Laos is also accessible from Kratie in Cambodia’s Rattanakhiri Province via the Dom Kralor border crossing.

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