Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bumping Around the Bolaven Plateau

Pakse, Laos - Bumping down a dusty road high in the mountains of Laos is how I imagined traveling the Bolaven Plateau would be. However like much of our trip most of the road that we traveled was in fact paved.  All through Cambodia and so far Laos many of the roads that until  only recently were dusty (or muddy in the rainy season), potholed, tracks have now been paved making travel along them a breeze.

Yesterday we spent the day exploring the Bolaven Plateau.  This high altitude area (~1000m above sea level) is known for its coffee plantations, rich soil, lush jungles and stunning waterfalls.   It was much cooler up on the plateau than in Pakse with temperatures in the low 80's compared to low 90's.

We visited a coffee/tea plantation, a minority village where people make their own coffins before they die and store them under their homes until passing.  We also visted 4 waterfalls of varying size and intensity.  The picture above was of the Tad Yuang waterfall (waterfall #2) which was probably our favorite.  By waterfall #4 we were suffering from waterfall fatigue!

The main negative of the trip was our guide's severe lack of enthusiasm.  He didn't say much didn't offer much and provided very little insight into what it was we were seeing. It was pretty funny when the indian woman on our trip suggested we all pool some money together and tip him because he was such a nice guy and the rest of us just laughed and said she was welcome to tip him but none of us would be.

We are off to Vientiane the capital of Laos tomorrow.  We are catching the night bus that leaves at 8pm and arrives at 6am Saturday morning.  It is a sleeping bus which means you have what look like chaise lounges to sleep on. They can go flat like a bed or sit up like a seat.  We'll see how it goes but should be more comfortable than a regular bus.

We'll probably be in Vientianne for a few days as we need to get a Burmese visa if we plan to go there or a Thai visa if we decide to skip Burma.

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