The Bolaven Plateau: Coffee, Waterfalls and Wonderful Wat Phou
The Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos’ Champasak Province gets its name from the Laven ethnic tribe. It’s a spectacular natural area of Laos, 1,300 meters above sea-level, with waterfalls, vast forests, canyons, and is an important agricultural region where 95 percent of the country’s famous Lao coffee is produced.
Here is a peek at just some of the great activities you can do, while visiting this amazing part of Laos.
Breakfast at Tad Fane Waterfalls
One of the highlights of a trip to the Bolaven Plateau is to visit the Tad Fane Waterfall, an icon twin-stream cascade that plummets more than 100 meters down a steep cliff into a giant gorge. The falls are situated in a beautiful area of dense jungle where there is an abundance of wildlife. Visitors to the falls can enjoy breakfast and excellent Lao coffee at nearby facilities, and listen to the immense roar of the cascade as it drops down into the gorge’s cavernous depths.
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 this huge waterfall. Seeing it tower above you as your raft wobbles to and fro, and feeling your body vibrate from the sheer power of the tumbling water, is one of the coolest experiences of the day!
Sinouk Coffee Resort
Credit photo: Sinouk Coffee Resort’s Facebook
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 hiking paths in brilliant unison. Enjoy a great cup of espresso here, before continuing your adventure.
Ban Lak 38
Many of the ethnic tribes in Laos have very little in terms of material wealth. Ban Lak, named after its location 38 kilometers outside of Pakse, is an ethnic village that is slowly beginning to attract tourists. Khiri Reach, an outreach arm of Khiri Travel, supports the local school in the village and contributes school supplies that help make learning more fun and motivating. Despite their impoverished circumstances, people here are very friendly, and the children are all smiles as they run and play around the village.
Roadside Coffee Shops
Exploring the Bolaven Plateau and taking in all the different sights is without doubt exciting, but also energy-draining! Luckily there are plenty of roadside coffee shops in Champasak, with their own home-grown, freshly roasted coffee. They’re a great reason to pull over and enjoy a freshly brewed pick-me-up!
Pakse and Massage
On your way south to Si Phan Don – a riverine archipelago on the Mekong River in southern Champasak – take a break in Pakse to enjoy a cold Beerlao and a soothing traditional Lao massage. Tried and tested by Khiri Travel Laos staff, Champa Massage offers great value for money. Their aromatherapy oils give off a fantastic scent as you walk through their door. To find them, just go to the Pakse Hotel and look across the road.
This beautiful ancient Khmer-Hindu temple complex in southern Champasak, below Mount Phu Kao, marks the start of an energetic hike to a holy site at the base of a cliff. The trek is both a workout and a religious pilgrimage that many local people undertake once a year. On your ascent to the temple, you can look back and marvel at the astounding panoramic view of the Mekong River floodplains.
The Bolaven Plateau is a short drive from Pakse and is easy to reach from Ubon Ratchathani in Thailand via the Chong Mek border crossing. It’s also accessible from Kratie in Cambodia’s Rattanakhiri Province via the Dom Kralor border crossing.
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