Motorbike excursion to the Bolaven Plateau
Trip Start Jan 17, 2010
40Trip End Jul 17, 2010
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Where I stayed
It started when we got to Laos
We hired a motorbike from the Lankham hotel in Pakse four days ago, reluctantly parting with a passport by way of a deposit, took a number of snaps of the bike to evidence the condition we hired it in and set off on the long and winding road to Tat Lo, taking in some beautiful waterfalls along the way. Having covered about 90 kilometers we pulled up at the picturesque Tat Lo Waterfall and neighbouring village with a burgeoning backpacker infrastructure - also the site of the "stenchalo". Having decided to stay a day in Tat Lo and give our aching backsides a bit of a blow, we booked a trip on an elephant to see the best of the waterfall
After more treks and waterfalls we set off from Tat Lo with the intention of travelling through the mountains to Sekong. About 60km in we faced a crossroads and with thick can't-see-your-own-hands mist hanging over the road to Sekong we picked the stunningly scenic but slightly less adventurous road to Paksong, less misty and a bit closer on the road back to Pakse (the start and finish of our loop). The Plateau itself is a lush green, mountainous, National Protected area - still sadly afflicted by the Lao curse of land mines and unexploded bombs. Much of the greenery is coffee - the Bolaven Plateau grows some of the finest, most expensive coffee beans in the world - and we spent an hour or so chatting to a dutch expert in his coffee shop. Things were going swimmingly until he started extolling the virtues of his family coffee (a new family you understand, he'd married a Lao who already had one for him) and tried to sell us some. Nothing wrong in this at all, except that we had just bought some direct from a lady in a hut up the road for about a tenth of the price
we'd purchased drinking chocolate. Let's see.
This morning we set of once more in a post-Karaoke haze and took the gorgeous road back to Pakse, stopping for me to swim at another waterfall (the name escapes me) along the way. It's been one of the highlights of our trip, and has enabled us to meet more of the Laos people, who have been a real delight (when they're not asleep that is), and terrifically tolerant of our strange eating habits. So tomorrow, with luck, we'll awake in Vientiane, the Laos capital, where we plan to stay a few days before heading on and up to Luang Prabang.