Bolaven Plateau and Champasak

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Date: January 29th 2020
Traveller: Carla Rijnders
To reach Bolaven Plateau in Laos, you start your tour from Pakse. We will share our personal eperience of traveling here. Pakse is a small city on the Mekong river, where most people start when they want to travel further down. There is an airport and it is just across the border from Thailand. Our hotel didn't look as we expected from the outside, but inside it had a great colonial style, wooden floors, beautiful beds and we had a great sleep.
From there we started to the Bolaven Plateau. Tropical jungle, lush green after rainy season, with many impressive waterfalls, wow! This is also the 'coffee area', we have seen the Arabica and Robusta coffee plants with it's green and red coffee beans. We got an explanation about the process from plant - bean to coffee. Bolaven Plateau is also home to etnic minorities. We visited a village, although we didn't see people in their traditional dresses (we didn't want to see the touristic version), it's always impressive to see how the local people live. Laos is a very poor country and once again you realize how privileged you are when you are born in a different part of the world in other circumstances! Children, pigs and chicken run around and we saw a glimpse of the houses inside. We looked at them, they looked at us.
We continued to our next destination Champasak, where we had a lovely hotel on the Mekong. Next morning was an early one, as we wanted to see the sunrise at the famous Vat Phou, one of the most important temples in the Khmer era, more than 1,000 years ago. As we are early, we are ther just with a few people. The temple ruine is situated at the foot of a green hill. To get a good view of the temple, we climbed the steep steps to reach a plain where the main sanctuary is.  There we sat and waited. Suddenly we saw the red ball of the sun rising quickly, the Lao temple noises in the background. What a mythical experience!
Our initial plan to go downstream on the Mekong by boat to the border of Cambodia was changed a little, because one of the children was sick. Instead of seeing the 4,000 islands, we have seen one of the islands and stayed there for 2 days. No problem, we went cycling on the island, passing the beautiful rice fields. As it was harvesting time, we saw local people working in the fields, cutting the rice plants by hand. What an huge job! Buffalo's were resting in the mud after a full day of work. 
Time to go home after another beautiful trip, having inspected some new hotels, experienced few new tours and rediscovering an undiscovered country! 
Want to see this part of Laos? Have a look at our tour to this area.

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