The Bolaven Plateau: A two day trip

As explained in our blog Ten days in Laos, after spending a day walking around the searing heat of Pakse we needed to get out of the city and cool down. We rented a motorbike, swerved off the beaten tourist trail and set off to explore the Bolaven Plateau. You can either do the large loop or the small loop and we opted for the latter which you can easily do in two days.


Useful map of the Bolaven Plateau

So after breakfast we donned on our helmets and set off. After driving an hour or so you really do notice the temperature drop as you are steadily climbing uphill to 1350 metres above sea level.  If you need to warm up you can stop off at one of the many coffee plantations that you drive past along the way for a tour and a cup of fine Laotian coffee.


Our ride for the next two days

We stopped off at three waterfalls, Tad Itan, Tad Fan and Tad Yuang on our first day and they were definitely the best waterfalls we have witnessed so far in South East Asia. By driving around the Bolaven Plateau you are actually driving through a large volcano crater and this explains for some of the impressive geological features that you see.


Tad Itan

tad fan better

Tad Fan

ta huang

The best of them all – Tad Yuang

As we got caught in a thunderstorm on our first day we didn’t actually make it as far as our intended destination. Instead we decided to stay in Paksong and checked into a guesthouse for the night. We were up early the next morning and after filling up with petrol we continued our journey.

bolaven plateau

Back out on the open road

Our destination this time was Tad Lo and along the way we passed numerous ethnic tribal villages which really gives you a glimpse into real Laos. The country is still one of the poorest nations in the world and many in the rural areas especially live an incredibly simple life. However, it also seems a very happy life judging by the smiles on the faces of the people we passed.

people villages

Passing local villages

village bolaven

Out for a walk

transport unusual

You see plenty of weird and wonderful modes of transport


We didn’t get a puncture but you drive past plenty of tyre shops if it happens to you

We arrived in Tad Lo just in time for lunch which we followed up by relaxing in a hammock which was definitely now my favourite past time. After taking a quick look at Tad Lo waterfall we set off back for Pakse.


Relaxing in Tad Lo

We passed some great scenery on the way back and arrived in Pakse just in time for the evening rush hour. That was an experience in itself as normal road rules definitely do not apply in Laos. Nevertheless, we made it back to base in one piece and that was the Bolaven Plateau ticked off our list!

bolaven plateau scenery

Scenery on the way back to Pakse

nicole kids

Taking a break on the way back to Pakse


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