Published: May 29th 2012March 23rd 2012
From Don Det our plan was to go to Champasak and that was exactly the destination written on our tickets (45,000Kip/5,5$ each and same price as ticket to Pakse). After few hours in a small and crammed bus we were dropped at the crossroad and shown the direction where Champasak
was. When we asked how far, they said that it was a few kilometres. 'Are you kidding me? We paid to get to Champasak!!!'
We only got some head nodding and hand waving and that was it. We were lucky there were two English girls at this crossroad that just arrived from Champasak and they told us that it was a few kilometres by taxi and then few minutes on a boat to cross the river and that there was no ATM in town. Unfortunately ATM near Don Det was out of order so we were really counting on some money out in Champasak. In this case we had to get back on that bus, which luckily made a longer stop on that crossroad, but we were told to pay extra 20,000kip each as we got out of a bus already (remind you that ticket price to Pakse and Champasak is
the same)! Ridiculous but we had no other option but take it.
We have heard that Pakse
is not a really pleasant place and people only stop there on the way north. We had no other choice but overnight there as we could not go to Champasak, could we? At least they dropped us in the centre instead of a bus station located 7 km away from town. It happened to be a very busy day in town – so it is not true people don't stay in Pakse – as it seemed that all the budget rooms were taken in all hotels. Only more expensive options (80,0000 kip and above) were available but after 30 min of searching we found a room for 60,000 kip/8$ at last. We were just browsing menu of one of the nearby restaurant when we heard someone speaking Polish. This is how we met Ala and Wojtek who we immediately bonded with, had dinner together and emptied a few bottles of Lao-Lao in front of our bungalow room ;-) Within the 6 months of our trip we met only a few Poles and it is always a nice surprise to us to see
some travellers from Poland. They were only on a 5 week trip but still great that they were doing it on their own not through some agency;-)
Before we retired for the night we agreed (don't really know why) on taking an early, 6 am trip to Champasak together. Of course we did not get up before around 11 am but these guys, bless them, went for it. We were 'dying' the whole day and anybody who ever drank one of these Asian so called 'Whiskies' knows exactly how great they taste (better and better with every shot hahha) and what a huge hangover they give you the following day. So that was day number two (out of four) of doing nothing again ;-) As it turned out we never visited Champasak. Funny how you become 'temple prone' after some time and besides we just saw Angkow, what can beat that? The next day we decided to rent a scooter (50,000kip/6,25$) and drive 40 km to Bolaven Plateau
for some long awaited waterfalls. For some reason when we thought of Laos we always had waterfalls in our mind. There is many ways of visiting this place and to see
it all you either have to singed up for a tour or overnight in one of the villages as the whole loop is more than 200km. We thought that 4 major waterfalls, coffee plantations and a few villages on the way should be plenty enough, so we chose the obvious DIY way;-)
We absolutely loved that day. There waterfalls are all of different sizes and also quite deserted. In some parts of the day there were only us two and water falling from high rocks. Bolaven Plateau is a stunning place - very green (which does not apply to the whole country) and with a jungle feel. We rested for a little bit by one of the waterfalls in a small coffee shop where we got potentially the best papaya salad ever. Tribal coffee she made us was great as well. We cherished this 'no tourists around'
experience as we sat in a small wooden hat with a local woman and her child who spoke no English. We could only smile at one another and we tried to make friends with the child by buying him a pack of crisps. We got the warmest thank you ever from a
little fellow who could not speak but could place his palms in a preying position and bow. It still brings smile to my face when I recall that moment;-)
The last waterfall we visited – Tat Fan
was our favourite. Massive, multilevel fall with beautiful pool at the bottom of a jungle valley. Tomek went in straight away, I thought it was too cold for me. But just watching it be was great. When sun was coming out of the clouds we could see loads of little rainbows created by the waterfall – stunning. Just to top it up with another amazing view, there was a lot of beautiful butterflies around us all the time. What is there not to like? Waterfall, rainbow and turquoise butterflies;-) You probably think I am making it all up, right? Well if you do, you are going to have to go to Pakse in Laos, arrange some mean of transport and get Tan Fan Waterfall to see if it is really true. Try it, you won't be disappointed for sure ;-)
There are more photos below