The Bolven Plateau and Wat Phou were the next destinations on the list. To get to these places we went to the town of Pakse. We didn’t expect much for Pakse, and we were correct in thinking that. We arrived late at night and in the middle of nowhere. Due to this, we just posted up in literally the first hotel we saw. We ended up staying at a pretty decent place for once as Sarah and I have had our standards lowered over time as you can imagine, and it was time for a nicer place for once. We actually learned the next morning that we had quite a nice view over part of the town and the mountains outside our window. There was even a glimpse of a Buddha on the side of the mountain.
We made our way into town by tuk-tuk and booked a trip with the same tour company for Wat Phou and the Bolen Plateau. We regularly try to see things on our own because it’s often cheaper, but these places were both quite a ways out of the city and it just seemed to be far easier to do it this way. Plus, we had our own driver, we didn’t share the tour with anyone which was nice. We went to the Bolven Plateau first which was overall really nice but not exactly what we expected. Quite naturally…
The trip didn’t start on the best note as we were told we would get to tour a coffee and tea plantation. First was the tea plantation. Here we wandered in to someone’s backyard that had heaps of tea plants. Yep, that’s it. There was no tour. We did get to try a bit of tea and the scenery was nice though. We then made our way to the coffee planation…If you could call it that. It was more like coffee bushes on the side of the road. We got our touristy picture and moved along. I will say the air was nice and fresh and we DID wander around outside with some tea and coffee plants.. That’s cool…Right? I’ll tell myself that anyway.
The highlights were the waterfalls. We saw three in total, Tad Fan being the most impressive. We had a view from up top and two huge falls plummeted down to a spot where we could barely see. I wandered off into the bushes where there was a slightly worn trail thinking something must be over here! Personnel came after me and directed me out of the bush about 5 minutes in my curious little run off. Oops! It’s like I’m 5 years old and need a damn baby leash sometimes…
Tad Yuang and Tad Champi were the last two. Tad Yuang being my second favorite. I love a good waterfall… Despite the coffee and tea plantations being the “big thing” in area, the waterfalls stole the show. Since we also had our own taxi and made our way around to the sites we wanted when we wanted, it made for a nicer time. If I had to wait for a bus load of tourists to take a photo with a damn coffee bush, I would have been pissed.
The next day we went to Wat Phou. This is a popular temple to see in the area and it was interesting to check out. I had yet to see Cambodia, so perhaps I was a bit more captivated than Sarah since she expressed that it was very much like the temples in Cambodia but not as nice. The unfortunate part was that they were trying to preserve the temple, yet making a bad attempt. They were plastering the temple up with material that wasn’t really matching up in some areas.
Despite this, the walk up was once grand as you can tell they took the time to line the walkway with stone statues. There was a large baray to walk along as we approached the temple. We roamed around the premises on the outside as you are not allowed to go in this temple. There was a continuation going up a hill where you could get a nice view from up top. Although the temple was in disarray and ruins, you could imagine the magnificent craftsmanship that went into it. Scattered about were pieces of the temple like, serpent head rocks (one of my personal favorite adornments on temples), Buddhas foot, and other random pieces that had handmade intricate carvings. It was nice to try and think how it could have looked in it’s prime. It was set amongst mountains and was quite natural and green.
During our stay here it’s worth sharing that Sarah and I had two lovely picnics… On our room floor…
Like I mentioned earlier we were a bit out of town but didn’t feel like moving to another hotel since we were only there for a couple of nights. With that said there was a few decent places to eat in town and we wanted to try them out. The only issue was the weather was quite bad around dinner time, and a tuk-tuk to the hotel was difficult as we learned two nights in a row trying to get our delicious to-go food home with us! We ordered twice from a pizza place and once from an Indian place. We may have also got a beer a few times… And we had a picnic on our hotel floor. It’s was an amazing.
There were other cute coffee shops that we got a bit of work done at where we actually got to taste the coffee we saw at the “plantation” we saw. I also had fun with a few cute pups… Yay for doggies!
Other Information for Pakse:
We stayed at Champa Hotel. It was nice, clean and rather roomy as well. Just be mindful that it’s out of town and there wasn’t too much around it.
Both tours in total cost us: Around $50 each!
A bit pricy, I know. Unfortunately coming during low season can have it’s advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes tours will be cheaper when you go with more people. There was hardly anyone around to join our tour or really in the south of Laos anyway and therefore we were the only ones on it. Oh well.. We came, we saw…