THAILAND and LAOS 2007 featuring the Olivetts travel blog

Sunday, 3-4-07

Pakse is a small city, but pretty quiet, not much of anything stirs after about ten. Today I rented a motor-bike and rode about 90 miles to the east up on to the Bolaven Plateau I went to see an incredible waterfall (Tad Fan). It consists of two streams dropping into a canyon, 120 meters deep (that's dropping about a 360 feet). I then went on a bit farther to check out some of the coffee plantations. Some of the best and priciest coffee in the world is grown here. The best is from in and around Paksong at an elevation of 4300 feet. It was sweltering hot in Pakse (500 ft.), but twenty miles east at 4000+ feet, it was somewhat cold when riding. Riding back into Pakse was a real treat, it had just gotten dark and on the approach to the city the traffic suddenly got rather thick. It was mostly motorbikes, some with lights and some without. They also tend to drive on your burm going the opposite direction coming right at you along with unlit bicycles, dogs and the occasional water buffalo weaving in and out.

Monday, 3-5-06

Today I did another 80 or 90 miles. I went south about 35 miles on Highway 13 then 6 mi. east on a rough dirt road that does get a little traffic. I then turned off on a smaller track that doesn't and went 4 mi. north. Coming back out I flatted me tire. The next mile and a half I rode the flat, until I intersected with the more used road. I waited there for about 5 minutes and the first vehicle to come along was a truck that picked me up and took me back to the highway, where there are small tire shops every few miles. I ruined the tube by riding on it. The guy had to ride somewhere to get a new one, remove and replace the rear wheel all for $2.50. Out of gratitude I shared with him, my fresh water chestnuts, that I had bought from a roadside vendor earlier.

After that ordeal I went back up towards Pakse about 10 mi, on Highway 13. and ferried across the Mekong. The ferries are two dilapidated wooden canoes lashed together, with a platform nailed on top, it is large enough for two motorcycles and 16 small people. On the other side I went south 8 or 10 mi. to Wat Champasak. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is from the Ankor period which was about a thousand years back, when the Khemers had spread to this region from Cambodia. It looks a lot like Ankor Wat in Cambodia only much smaller. Champasak and Luang Prabang are the only UNESCO sites in Laos.

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