Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Chasing Waterfalls at Bolaven Plateau, Laos

Waterfalls Bolaven Plateau Champasak Laos

I was slowing down and clutching the brake when I noticed that we’re rolling downward. And then suddenly we fell off the motorbike. My head bumped into the muddy path, my helmet saving my precious crown. It was sudden and scary. Thinking that it was just a dream I was shaking myself to wake only to realize that I’ve got bruises on my arms and legs.

It was the second day of our motorbiking trip and after exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Vat Phou Complex we headed to Bolaven Plateau in Champasak Province to do the famed motorbike loop for scenic rivers and waterfalls. Ok, so you needed at least three or four days to do the loop but we just wanna pick out some interesting spots to cover so we did a day trip on this one.

Motorbike Tour Bolaven Plateau Laos
Unpaved, muddy, rocky
Motorbike Tour Bolaven Plateau Laos

Motorbike Tour Bolaven Plateau Laos
Clever and cute :)
We were given a map by the bike rental shop in Pakse (60,000 Kip | US$ 7.43 per day) for the quick jaunt which is around 38 to 40 kilometers away from town. I found it no biggie as we had a hassle-free trip the other day. With maps in tow, we headed toward the east and followed the road all the way to our point of destination.

I was driving while my buddy was navigating, same as the other day. We followed the route on the map and noticed the atmosphere changing. The wind was cool but I kept on sweating buckets as I pass over huge trucks and fast cars. We weren’t in a hurry but we also didn’t wanna spend so much time on the road.

Motorbike Tour Bolaven Plateau Laos

Before our two-month backpacking trip to SoutheastAsia, I had the littlest mortorbiking skills way back from my teen years. I had to relearn my driving skills during our Pai, Thailand trip for it was way cheaper and faster to rent one. Same thing in Laos, it could save you lots of moolah if you opt to rent a motorbike rather than hiring a car or join shared tours.

Motorbike Tour Bolaven Plateau Laos
Butt-numbing
We were on our way to our first waterfall and due to the torrential rains the day before, the unpaved paths were muddy and rocky. I was confidently driving, slowing down as we approach the peak moving downward the slope when suddenly I felt that I couldn’t control the bike anymore. In a flash, the motorbike slipped making the two of us fall off knocking my head first. The helmet saved me. I had a few scratches and my buddy was totally unharmed.

I immediately checked the bike (all damages on the bike will be paid by us, in cash, uh-oh).

Motorbike Tour Bolaven Plateau Laos
It was sudden and shocking
And yes, it had a major damage on the left step knot. It was bent, like almost detached. After realizing that it’s not a dream, we hurriedly raised the bike and turned off the engine. We checked on the nearest motor shop and had it fixed. The guy just simply tilted it back using a heavy metal pipe. We had it fixed for 2,000 Kip. Whew.

Motorbike Tour Bolaven Plateau Laos
Local motor shop. The lovely old guy graciously helped us.
We carried on with our waterfalling adventure on foot. We left our bike on a restaurant somewhere, with permission from the owner, and visited three waterfalls around the area. The arduous hike was a punishment with the sun beating us to hell. But I was too traumatized on our bike fall that I wouldn’t wanna risk it again by navigating the rocky and muddy paths again.

To cut it short, we had a wonderful time exploring those three waterfalls. Each has its own unique character that would leave all its visitors in awe. I loved the Tad Champee Waterfall (but not the long 4-kilometer hike, that’s one-way) and stayed there for an hour. Cooling off with its refreshing water and watching as local teens were happily swimming donned on their school uniforms.

Tad Gneuang | Tad Yueang Waterfalls
Ban Lak 40, Road 23, Paksong District,
Champasak Province, Laos
Entrance Fee: 10,000 Kip (US$ 1.24) for foreigners
Parking Fee: 5,000 Kip (US$ 0.62) for motorbike

Tad Yueang Waterfalls Bolaven Plateau Laos

Tad Yueang Waterfalls Bolaven Plateau Laos

Tad Yueang Waterfalls Bolaven Plateau Laos
Tad Yueang Waterfalls

Tad Fane Waterfalls
Road 16e, Paksong KM38,
Champasak Province, Laos
Entrance Fee: 5,000 Kip (US$ 0.62) for foreigners
Parking Fee: 3,000 Kip (US$ 0.37) for motorbike

Tad Fane Waterfalls Bolaven Plateau Laos

Tad Fane Waterfalls Bolaven Plateau Laos

Tad Fane Waterfalls Bolaven Plateau Laos

Tad Fane Waterfalls Bolaven Plateau Laos
Tad Fane Waterfalls

Tad Champee | Tad Champi Cave Waterfalls
Road 23, Paksong KM38,
Champasak Province, Laos
Entrance Fee: 5,000 Kip (US$ 0.62) for foreigners
Parking Fee: 3,000 Kip (US$ 0.37) for motorbike

Tad Champee Waterfalls Bolaven Plateau Laos

Tad Champee Waterfalls Bolaven Plateau Laos

Tad Champee Waterfalls Bolaven Plateau Laos
Tad Champee Waterfalls
Tad Champee Waterfalls Bolaven Plateau Laos
Refreshing swim after the incident
Tad Champee Waterfalls Bolaven Plateau Laos


The ride back to Pakse was easy. The paved road was divine. I could drive here all day. Sunset was fast approaching and we needed to be back in town to return the motorbike. Standard procedures were made to check if it’s in tip-top condition. 

Motorbike Tour Bolaven Plateau Laos

I was smiling grudgingly as the guy rolled off to check the engine. When he came back, he did another round of visual check and gave an approval nod to the person-in-charge. We were handed our passports back and strolled quietly, yelled in joy after a few meters away from the shop. We had countless Beer Lao afterwards. 



2 comments:

  1. That's really amazing to hear that news! Thanks for sharing. During the incident does that any harm to the visitors?

    ReplyDelete

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