Bolavan Marching Power
Trip Start Nov 27, 2010
99Trip End Dec 12, 2011
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Around 1000m above sea level, the fertile soil and cool climate lends itself to being an excellent breeding ground of coffee beans and it’s no surprise that the French picked this area to be the principle region where coffee is grown in Laos.
After a rather strange stop to see medieval looking set up for making huge machete-like knives, we made our way deep into Laven territory to take in some of the tea and coffee plantations
We’ve seen a few plants on this trip so far that we weren’t really sure what they looked like as we’re just used to seeing the fruit or seeds in the shops. Pineapples on the top of a plant, Dragon Fruit on a tree, rice in a field etc. Now for tea and coffee which didn’t look how we expected them to, although admittedly we weren’t really sure what were expecting. Essentially just bushes, tea trees kind of explained themselves but coffee plants and the beans looked different to what we though. We saw mainly Arabica coffee plants and the beans were more like red berries. With a little finger-nail scraping I managed to open one and inside was a small coffee bean that looked familiar except that when its still alive its more like a sugar-puff colour. Our guide explained in detail how the beans are harvested, dried and roasted to reach the product we’re more familiar with.
We didn’t actually spend that much time at the tea and coffee plantations – we had waterfalls to see, three today in all and a chance for a swim in one
Thankfully the perfect tonic was waiting for us a few Km down the road in the form of the mightily impressive Tat Lo waterfall. With thousands of gallons of water cascading down the side of a jagged limestone mountain into a mint green pool, we were eager to get into the water to cool down.
Slightly colder than we expected but still a welcome change from the sweltering heat, the views as we swam out to get showered under the falls was immense. Lying on our backs with our ears underwater, we could look up and see the white water free falling from a hundred foot or so down into the pool at the bottom. There were no clouds in the sky and we both felt that this is the Laos we were really supposed to see.
After a quick bite to eat we sped off to take in another market and a final waterfall that would have been all the more impressive if a huge party of school kids hadn’t camped themselves on top of it in their bank-sponsored red T-shirts, making taking a good picture an impossibility. That may sound a bit harsh but were weren’t the only tourists there and they didn’t move for the whole time, despite a large number of people waiting around. It feels slightly strange to be annoyed about that but I guess we just want to have the pick of our pictures to print out and or blow up when we get back.
Only a day trip to the Plateau then, on balance that was probably enough. We could have stayed in some of the very budget-friendly accommodation near some of the waterfalls but there wouldn’t have been a great deal to do except just chill out and our visa was fast expiring!