Friday, April 8, 2016

Pakse Laos and small loop of waterfalls, coffee farms and village

Now that I got my passport from Vientiane I am free to go, but Since I am in Laos I should at least see something else. It was relatively easy to get further south. Even though on the way there's recommended places to visit with 8km cave (Thod Lor) with a loop of their own,

I headed past it to the very southern town active for tourists called Pakse. In the Chompasak region which is generally more elevated and cooler. It is a nice change from the inferno of a city in Vientiane.

I arrived around 8am and headed straight to meet a fellow traveler I met in Vientiane, we got a breakfast and headed to the motorbike rental - Ms. Noy.

I was approached earlier on the way to meeting my friend by French speaking fellow on a Honda Wave (the most popular semi-automatic bike in Asia) asking what I was looking for. It turns out he was Mr. Yves and he is partnered with Ms. Noy, she's a local and he's a Belgium guy that lived in the area for several years.

He explained the two possible loops we can do in the region. Small and big, the small can be done in 2 days and the big in 3 or 4. He gave us a quick lesson on how to drive the semi-auto and a lot of information about what to do in which case scenarios when we get to various places and the general tips.

Easy enough, I was on the road by 11am off to get lunch with another traveler that wanted to do this loop. A young Dutch fellow that was eager to travel the world even though he's very interested in studying in Sweden to finish his masters in biology.

Had our soup in a local stop along the way and carried on to the next stop which was around 40 minutes of motoring later at a coffee farm. I had a coffee but am not so much into it so did my best to enjoy it before continuing with our new found friends from Sweden.

It wasn't long until we got separated again since we saw a Buddha picture pointing 1km to the right on a dirt road. Of course I couldn't resist. So the dutch guy followed me and we went into the forest Buddha area where celebrations were on their way of the Lao new year.

We were the only foreigners and got stared at quite intensely by some, they all seemed friendly and curious so I walked to the Buddha and relaxed for a minute. I decided that was enough for me and wanted to continue. I saw the dutch guy getting into the party so I carried on but not to worry we would surely meet again at the next stop.

I forgot the exit points and had to make a U turn to get back to the waterfall. When I saw the waterfalls we saw some being washed in the river, I headed to the recommended hostel (homestay) called Mama Pop and had dinner there as well. She's a really good cook. We all reconvened there from earlier and it felt like a nice group now. We went for a short walk at night but lack of flashlights ensured that we returned early. Not to worry about the local dogs, they are all friendly.

In the early morning the dutch guy and one of the Swedes and I went for a walk to the waterfalls and they also swam and did some workouts. I thought the water was too dirty and returned back to use some internet for work.

After a nice fruit breakfast we got back on the road and hit the next stop which was a village with coffee growing. There we met an Italian girl that got a bamboo traditional tattoo on her arm and was unable to get back to town because of the pain from the tattoo. The group joined for a tour but 30 min of coffee details was too boring for me so it would be the last time I see anyone from this group.

I continue my journey and make a stop at fruit market for coconut, mangosteen, dragon fruit, and other delicious fruit. I also bought nice avocado being sold by the road which probably means they are in season. I made some stops at waterfalls and eventually stopping at Ms. Ning's homestay (hostel) for the night, half hour from Pakse. Had a dinner at Ning's and used her phone to ask Ms. Noy if the bus to Thailand can be arranged in the morning, she confirmed I can arrive at 7am and be on time.

I work up around 6:30, had a coffee with Ms. Ning and paid my bill for last night's bed and dinner. Got back on the road. I love the feeling of freedom. The road was very flat and straight so I had no problem maintaining 70km/h or more most of the way.

When I approached an intersection with various fruit vendors I made a stop to check my direction and made a purchase of bananas, looks like the jackfruit is in season too, they were huge!

I continue into town and get to Ms. Noy 5 min after 7am which is also around the time I see Mr. Yves coming in and he was very helpful with setting me up to get to Thailand, even the changing of my last KIP to Thai Bhat and even the tip to keep 10,000 KIP for the crossing.

Read more about crossing the boarder to Thailand.

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