trip report-pakse/bolaven/southern swing by motorbike
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Jul 24, 2012 12:45 AM Last Post By: annaclare88
Jul 19, 2012 9:20 PM
trip report-pakse/bolaven/southern swing by motorbikehey y'all!
i just got back from an awesome solo 5 day trip through southern laos by bike and figured i'd share a few things. i really recommend it as a way to see other parts of laos, the rides are absolutely beautiful.
i went pakse-tad lo-attapeu-paksong-champasak-pakse (probably should have done champasak first but it was a spontaneous decision). i had motorbiked some in thailand and burma, but am by no means an expert and i felt totally comfortable (and also totally safe as a 24 year old woman. although a bit lonely sometimes in low season!) just start slow on the bike and you'll be fine.
i rented a suzuki 110c from Miss Noy's in pakse--NEXT door to lankham where everyone seems to get their bikes, but everyone at mis noy's was super friendly, and they gave me a discount of 55.000 a day instead of the 70.000 because i rented it for 5 days.
rainy season hasn't been too bad this year but i got fairly lucky with weather, i think it would not be so fun in the rain.
roads were all in really good condition except NOTE: lp suggests going from attapeu to paksong--that road is CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION (as of july 2012)--or at least was flooded. i was told in no uncertain terms to not go down it. this meant i had to backtrack a long way, and had i known i might not have gone to attapeu (i didn't explore too much because i was feeling kind of sick, but it sounds like there is cool stuff to do around there).
also, no matter what you hear otherwise, the new road from pakse to champasak is finished and in great condition, and is also a beautiful ride. this makes that trip only 30 k and very easy to do and you don't need to cross the river by ferry. although on the way i took the ferry (which you take by following the main road south out of pakse and turning right at the sign for muang khong, then right again in about 30k for the sign for wat phu), and that was an experience in itself because its a handmade wooden float you take across the river. fi you are not comfortable handling the bike i dont recommend it--one false move and you're in the river!
the trip is a bit pricier than i was expecting, especially solo because rooms can be pricey.
recs for itinerary and places to stay:
the first place on the left after you cross the bridge. 50.000 for a very clean riverside bungalow. saise resort on the falls has a great spot for meals, especially at night. definitely check out the falls listed in the lp (you can stop at the big ones on the way into tad lo)
i had some trouble finding guesthouses here, but i think some were under construction during low season. i was feeling pretty crappy and really tired and ended up totally blowing my budget to stay at the actual hotel there (the name has changed from the lp, its not the 'palace' hotel or whatever anymore it has a vietnamese name, but its huge, and you'll see it).
i stayed at what is called savanna in the lp, but now also has a vietnamese name, its towards the end of the town. a bit pricey at 70.000, but the room was nice and clean. the restaurant directly next door is lovely and cheap and run by an incredibly friendly english speaking woman. excellent noodles. i went to tat yuang and tat fan the next morning and they are both total must sees. tad fane resort is in a nice spot on the falls and if you eat there or have coffee you don't have to pay the entrance fee to the falls (or at least say thats what youre doing. but hte coffee is good.)
veud paseud has lovely helpful english speaking owners. the room was eh, but the restaurant has nice views of the river. i got up really early to go see wat phu (like got there at 6 am), which is really easy to do if you have a bike! it was 'closed' which just meant no one was selling tickets..which meant i had the place to myself for free! highly recommend it.
pack really lightly, except make sure to bring sunglasses, unless you can find a helmet with a good visor. sun/smoke/dust/insects get intense. also bring layers, paksong and other parts of the bolaven are actually chilly.
didn't mean to write so much, oops! i really recommend it though hope this was helpful to someone!
Jul 20, 2012 1:28 AM
Jul 23, 2012 7:35 PM
Jul 24, 2012 12:45 AM
i don't know about the road to lp. i met someone who had biked to vang vieng and said it was tough going but he enjoyed himself. i kno that the bus route from lp to vang vieng at least is incredibly mountainous and curvy. if this is the same road you would take from vientiane to lp, im not sure i woudl recommend it on a bike, but i guess it depends on how much experience you have and everything! that road was in good condition, its just VERY curvy for a long time and there are no guard rails.
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Coffee table looking bare?
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