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  • Writer's pictureDonna Kitchen

The Bolaven Loop

Why is it called the Bolaven Loop?

Literally translated as “Home of the Laven,” the name pays respect to the Laven ethnic group which was once more predominant here. The area is rich with coffee plantations, glorious waterfalls, quaint little cafes and restaurants, botanical gardens, and farms.

This famous plateau in Laos sits at between 1,000m and 1,350m above sea level and is located between the Mekong River and the Annamite Mountains. 

Due to its elevation it can get cold especially in the evenings.   As previously mentioned in our previous blog, we left our wet weather gear in Vientiane so on the advice of Ms Noy’s, we went and bought weather gear.  Thankfully we didn’t need them, quite the opposite in fact.  It was unbearably hot most of the time.  Lucky us!

With the aim to set out early, a fail. We ended up leaving just after 9am for our 4 day, 3 night adventure.

The first half hour was spent leaving the built up area of Pakse but at the 21km mark we turned left and before long the road narrowed and the area became more rural.  In this area the soil was a rich reddish brownish colour and very clay like.  The houses were made predominantly from timber and built on stilts. Very much similar to that of the Thai’s.  Being the end of the dry season the soil was very much clumpish dry cracked clay.  The fields were had either been plowed ready for planting or already planted with cassava seedlings.  The road was dotted with these timber houses then moving into clumps of villages.

After an hour we came across our first rapids stopping at the rickety bridge at the same time as this lovely French man, Charles. We ended up sitting down with him under one of many gazebos on the riverbank chatting for a while and learning all about how he works for a 'startup' in Cambodia. Very interesting young man.

Our new French friend.

Knowing we've still got a decent ride ahead of us and not sure as to what the roads would be like, we hit the road again.

As it hit about 1pm, our tummies were rumbling and our bums needed a break. We drove into

Ban Laongam and being a decent sized village we hoped to find somewhere for lunch. Choosing a place, performing charades and lots of pointing we asked for stirfried noodles with vegetables (thought it best to avoid meat). Success, our charade worked. Well we thought so until our order of noodles soup with chicken arrived. Okay, not quite what we ordered but it was delicious.

It's about 3pm when reaches our first overnight stop, Tad Lo Lodge located on among the beautiful falls of the same name.

Initially it wasn't the peaceful location that we anticipated as it was Labor Day public holiday and there were hundreds of locals picnicking and swimming. Not a problem! What was annoying was every 2nd group had its own boom box (speaker) loudly playing their favourite songs. One group louder than the next.

After getting over our initial shock we followed a trail to the main waterfall desperate for a swim to wash the dusty road away.

Tad Lo Waterfall

As the sun set the hoards of people disappeared and we ended up be only one of two groups of people staying at the lodge.

Day 1 of the loop complete we enjoyed a sound sleep, ready to wake up to day 2.


Kevin & Donna

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