Laos is a magnificent country full of natural beauty and wonder. The Bolaven Plateau is a great example. This area of southern Laos is famous for its stunning waterfalls and mutinous landscape. We spent one day exploring this stunning area on a bike.
We hired our bike from Miss Noy Motorbike shop. We had done a bit of research on where to rent motorbikes for our road trip and this place had super reviews. Run by Miss Noy and her Belgian husband Yves, they rent out high quality bikes, give great information and are extremely honest. Sometimes renting motorbikes in Southeast Asia can be daunting but Miss Noy really was a great choice.
There were no hidden costs, they give you their personal numbers and tell you to call them no matter what time if you have any issues. They offer a wide range of bikes, both manual, automatic and semi automatic.
Note: The bikes at Miss Not book up quickly. We recommend booking 24 – 48 hours in advance. The evening before our road trip Miss Noy asked us to come back at 6.00pm for a safety talk and briefing.
At 6.00pm we headed back to Miss Noy where Yves gave us a run down to what to expect, where to go and what to see. Depending on how long you want to spend on “the Loop” he was able to tailor the information he gave to individual groups of travellers. We had both French and English speakers at the briefing and he was fluent in both.
Due to our time constraints we decided to only rent the bike for one day before we moved on. Yves recommended that we head out as far as Paksong but no further. This would allow us to see some magnificent waterfalls,visit some local coffee producers and take in the beautiful landscape.
There is a whole lot more to see in this area and you can easily spend two to three days on the larger loop. For right now this was all we could do, post safety briefing we headed back to our hostel as we had an early start.
The main sites we planned to visit were the waterfalls of “Tad Yuang” and “Tad Fan” as well as sampling any local coffee and food we could find along the way. These waterfalls are about an hour’s drive from Pakse. We woke up around 7.00am grabbed breakfast and headed for Miss Noy’s.
We had rented a semi automatic Honda scooter, we had driven bikes in Asia before so we got a brief refresher from Yves and set off.
The bike comes with enough fuel to get you to the petrol station just down the road. The fuel in Laos is extremely cheap in comparison to Europe costing around 10000 kip for a full tank (one euro).
Fuelled up we headed out of Pakse and onto the plateau. The first 10-15 minutes of the journey is a bit dull, this is one of the main roads out of the city and there is not much to see.
Once you start getting into the hills the views get much better and it gets much cooler. Make sure to bring sun cream.
We decided our first stop should be the furthest away waterfall of “Tad Yuang”. Once you’re on the road it’s hard to get lost as it is a straight shot. After around 40 minutes you start to see signs for each of the waterfalls.
You cross over a bridge and as you come to the top of the next hill the road to “Tad Yuang” is on your right, keep an eye out for the sign. You might miss it the first time, don’t panic as there is a second turn about 100 meters up.
This waterfall is the most famous in the area and an AMAZING place to take some photos and go swimming. There is an entry cost of each waterfall, around 1 USD, this gets you in and also makes sure your bike is safe.
With this being such a popular route there are bike thieves active in the area. The only time we would have to pay anything extra to Miss Noy was if our bike was stolen. They provided locks so make sure to use them and only park in supervised parking spots.
Once we parked headed through the local vendors and down the stairs. “Tad Yuang” is a stunning, large waterfall that drops down into a beautiful pool. The rocks all around can be slippy when wet so be careful. You can go swimming, the water coming into the pool is extremely powerful so be careful not to go underneath.
If swimming isn’t for you then you can just watch the water cascade over the top. It is 40 meters high and if you stand at the top it seems much higher. We spent about an hour enjoying the water and sunshine before heading back up to our bike.
Before we made our way to Tad Fan we stopped off at a small local coffee plantation. “Coffee and Tea KM40” is located in between Tad Yuang and Tad Fang. They offer excellent quality coffee, delicious food and great wifi. The grounds are beautiful and it is the perfect spot to stop off for a rest.
After coffee and some food we got back on our bike and headed for the next stop at “Tad Fan” waterfall. This is the longest waterfall in all of Laos and in some people’s opinion it is the most beautiful waterfall.
This waterfall cannot be accessed by foot off the main road. Located in a massive canyon you reach a viewing point on one side located at “Tad Fan Resort” and gaze out at the waterfall on the other side.
There is a hotel and restaurant here for you to have lunch or if you’re feeling adventurous you can do some ziplining to the other side of the canyon for epic views.
It is beautiful and a lovely place to spend some time relaxing. After seeing this waterfall we decide to head back to Pakse for an early dinner.
The journey back is just the same straight road into the city. We gave back the bike at Miss Noy’s. Unfortunately we got a flat tire just as we got back to Pakse. This needed to be repaired by the local mechanic. It cost around 20000kip for the new inner tube, around 2 euro.
The “Bolaven Plateau” is a great place to visit. We only had time for the short loop but we immediately started to make plans to return for a longer adventure on the larger loop. This might be a controversial statement but in our opinion the waterfalls in Laos top the waterfalls in Bali! Less tourists + quieter = paradise!
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