January 28-31, 2019
I have to admit it at the beginning, South Laos is beautiful, but Pakse was not our favorite place to stay. It was missing a certain character or charm. I think for many people (and there were quite many of them) it is just a hub where to sleep in tourist hostels, eat in tourist restaurants and mainly rent a motorbike for two or three days and go to Bolaven plateau and its Dong Hua Sao National Protected Area. It seems to be a big thing here. It is on everybody’s list, and everyone just must do that. We even struggled to rent a motorbike. Tourism here is still far behind Vietnam or Thailand, but I had mixed feelings about it. Which is a shame because all the places we saw were beautiful. But once there are organized adventure motorbike trips, then it is not going to be adventure anymore, right? Anyway, we did not meet hoards of tourists on the road and had great fun during our stay.
On the second day in Pakse, we managed to get a motorbike and went to Wat Phu, which was beautiful and worth every kilometer. It is not such a big site, but due to only a few people and beautiful weather, we had a peaceful time. Even the road to and from was a nice ride, and we got cheered by tasty lunch at a local eatery by the road.
Read more: Da Nang & picturesque Hoi An
On the way back to Pakse, we drove up to the Wat Phousalao hill with the temple and Golden Buddha statue to enjoy the view of the Mekong river.
Sadly, the motorbike was not in perfect condition, and overall, this cheap Honda Wave (or maybe even some Chinese copy) is not the most powerful or comfy tool. And you have to shift the gear, which was the part that did not work well. After we realized how desperate is the stage our tires, we did not feel comfortable with a multiday trip to the plateau. Moreover, I did not feel comfortable with the fact that we had to leave our passports at the hotel desk to be able to rent the motorbike. Especially when it was not the hotel we stayed in. We still had almost half a year in front of us, and passports would be handy.
The second day with the bike we went to the Bolaven plateau and returned to Pakse in the evening. I can imagine making the whole round as many people do. But on the other hand, we saw a half of the road while on board the bus from Attapeu to Pakse. Therefore, we did not miss much. One day is enough for seeing three or four waterfalls, and still have time to chill out (take your swimsuit since one waterfall is good for swimming). It was awe-inspiring to see such fresh green areas with relatively massive waterfalls while the whole ground around is super dry, dusty, and hot.