Goodbye South, Hello North

Our time in the south of Laos came to an end last Friday. We spent our final three days exploring; cities, plateaus, restaurants and the finer things on offer in and around Pakse.

If you read the previous post you would know that we were heading back to Pakse to tour around the area and explore the city more than we did in the past. The trip from the 4000 Islands to Pakse was actually not too bad at all. We had booked passage on the public bus, which would have taken 3 + hours and stopped numerous times. When we arrived at our pick up location we were told that there was no public bus going that day. Thankfully this did not mean we had to stay an additional day but rather that we got to take a minivan the entire way. The trip still took 3 hours but it was at least comfortable. I swear we had the slowest driver in all of South East Asia. On a paved road, with no traffic, in good weather, he rarely brought the speed above 50km/h, which for those of you who have travelled in this area know is rare!

We arrived in Pakse around noon and toured around the city stopping in at a tour office along the way to book a day trip to the Bolaven Plateau, which we did. There were so many tour operators to choose from. We ended up booking with the company who had the nicest lady working for them. We also had a foot massage and went for dinner on the roof top of the Pakse hotel, which was really nice. We dined with panoramic views of the city. It was also the best food we had so far in the country. Even with a few cocktails and food our bill was nothing what it would be like at home.

Our trip to the Bolaven was pretty fun. We had a father and son team take us out, along with 12 other tourists. When we booked the tour we were told that we would not have an English speaking guide but the two of them had basic English skills and were able to answer some of our questions. The trip included stops at some waterfalls (nothing special for us being from BC) and a coffee and tea plantation, which was interesting. The majority of their coffee is exported to China and Vietnam as they grow the beans that those two nations like. Some of the coffees are very strong. We also saw some elephants but did not ride them on this trip. All in all it was a good day.

We tried to book a tour for our final day in Pakse but long story short, it didn’t work out. Our hotel let us keep our room for the day for half the price. We did some shopping and had a massage but other than that we just took it easy, knowing that we were going to have a 20 hour trip to Luang Prabang starting that night.

I will leave the details of that bus trip for my next posting, which will be dedicated to the city that caught our attention 8 years ago, on our first trip to Laos. I will let you know though that it involves a sleeper bus that is not made for an average western male.

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