A good 3 months later, we finally left Cambodia and were bound north for Laos! Deciding to skip the 4000 islands after reading it is only full of backpackers and others no authenticity into Laos at all (which, as we didn’t go, I wouldn’t be able to tell you if this is true or not), we headed a couple of hours further up from the border to the town of Pakse. A riverside town, it is charming, doesn’t have a great deal on offer but is just lovely how it is. There are a handful of guesthouses – we stayed at the lovely Nang Noi guesthouse which had the best bread I’d tasted in many months on offer at breakfast, another handful of restaurants including a delicious Indian that has veggie dishes for just 9000 kip – around 80ish pence. Alongside that, it has a lively and local market, the riverside area to sink a couple of cold beers and view a magnificent sunset, and its very own bowling alley. Of course, we had a game; at 10000 kip per person it would be rude not to! (Naturally, I lost).
Pakse is a great little place to relax, wander around and soak up a taste of Laos. It is also the perfect place to get out and explore the surrounding area of the Bolaven Plateau; an area of outstanding natural beauty which is well worth getting out to.
It is about an hour or so away from the town, you can hire a moto and get out yourself, or do like we did and take a tour. Not always a big fan of tours, knowing they will be full of tourists, we aren’t the hottest on the old motos so we didn’t really have any other option. Anyway, the tour itself was more than okay so it didn’t matter in the end. Regardless of how you go, just make sure you do. The plateau boasts numerous waterfalls, which are surprisingly different from one another and each quite frankly, ruddy beautiful. There are heaps of coffee and tea plantations, little villages and stunning scenery. As a welcome to Laos, we had been truly spoiled!