One of the highlights when in Laos is cruising around the beautiful Bolaven Loop by motorbike. You can choose to do this loop both clockwise or anticlockwise, it doesn’t matter. You can further choose the big or the small loop. From feedback we got there is not much except for a lot of driving in the big loop so we decided to do the small loop in a clockwise way. Here is how.
We started off from Pakse, which is the base to starting the loop. We took the clockwise route on road number 20. First stop was at Pha Suam Waterfall. (Exact location: 15.276290,105.922369). The entrance costs 10,000 per son and 2000 for parking the motorbike. This beautiful waterfall is beautiful to see and is accessed through a bamboo bridge. But don’t stop there. Follow the signs to jungle tree houses where you will get to a second waterfall in which you can swim.
After a refreshing swim we hit the road till we got to Katu homestay. This is a little coffee shop owned by Mr Vieng where you can stop to realax over fresh coffee and get a tour about coffee growing on his plantation. (Exact location: 15.413771,106.096582)
We continued till we got to the Holy Cave. Here there is a small cave and a big beautiful statue of Buddha. (exact location: 15.463815,106.227714).
We ended our first day at Tad Hang. A beautiful area to sleep for the night, with many guesthouses overlooking the beautiful free waterfall of Tad Hang and the river, we paid as little as 40,000Kip at Sypaserd guesthouse.
After waking up to the breathtaking views of Tad Hang we went to visit Tad Lo. One of the most popular waterfalls on the Bolaven Plateau and only five minutes from Tad Hang. This waterfall is free too. (exact location: 15.532773,106.273562).
After we drove for around 10 km to get to Tad Soung . (exact location: 15.498368,106.272789) This waterfall is special because you get to the top of the waterfall overlooking views of the plateau. You can opt to go to the base of the waterfall. Here you also find 5 statues of Buddha.
Today we decided we liked Tad Hang a lot that we decided to sleep here again.
From Tad Hang we drove to Bane Kokphoung Tai. (Exact location: 15.505433,106.342388). The highlight of our trip! Here you ask for Captain Hook who speaks very good English and who will gladly show you around his village which belongs to the Katou Tribe. They are a special tribe with their own beliefs and traditions. One that you should not miss, it costs 5000Kip to enter the village and 15000kip for the tour, 5000Kip of which go for the education. Check out more information about this tribe an its traditions here. If you want you can opt to sleep overnight in this village for a more indulging experience. It costs 50,000Kip per night including breakfast and dinner.
Since it was getting late we decided to take the short loop from Thateng to Paksong where we slept for the night for quite an expensive price when compared to the other villages, Savanna Guest house 80,000Kip.
From Paksong to Pakse there are 4 waterfalls all in the vicinity of each other. We opted to visit 2 of which we heard the best reviews about. First we started with Tad Yang, the sign will say Tad Genuang. This is the biggest and most impressive water fall. You can climb to base or top, its truly a special one and the good news is that you can take a swim. It costs 10,000Kip and 5000 for parking.
From here we head a km further down which got us to Tad Champee. (Exact location: 15.203348,106.13143). It costs 5000kip for the fall and 3000 for the parking. Another great waterfall you can swim in. There’s also a wooden flat which you can take up to the waterfall without swimming if it’s too cold.
From here we drove to Paske which ended out beautiful journey around the Bolaven Loop.
Renting a motorbike:
Automatic motorbikes are rented for 90,000Kip daily, semi-automatic 60,000Kip. If you take the bike for more than 2 days you can negotiate at 45,000Kip on the semi-automatic. You are made to sign a contract and your passport if also kept. However follow the below safety rules to ensure the safety of the motorbike and keep your mind at rest that your passport will be returned.
Apparently stealing motorbikes in the Bolaven loop is a thing. So keep to these safety rules to prevent this from happening which would cost you at least $1400.
Always pay the parking. Prices range from 2000Kip to 5000Kip, we’re talking about 20c to 60c, it’s worth the money to keep your bike safe.
Lock the steering wheel and use the chain when parking the bike.
Always choose accommodation which will put it in the safe room at night.