Pakse is a wonderful town located in the South of Laos, famous for its location on the Mekong and Xe Don Rivers. You will find this city is filled with buildings reminiscent of the French colonial era. Here, you can find a variety of beautiful buildings along with an impressive Buddhist temple located near the Xe Don River. Here is our travel guide to Pakse
Traveling to Pakse is relatively easy, there are several directions you can come from; North or South. If you are traveling from the North via Vientiane, the journey can take around 11 hours. If you are traveling from the South via Don Det, then the journey is only a mere 4 hours.
A Travel Guide To PAKSE
WHAT TO DO
Bolaven Plateau Loop
One of the most famous bike loops to embark on in Laos is most certainly the Bolaven Plateau Loop. The loop consists of water falls, coffee plantations, local villages and breathtaking views. Again, this loop is for the more adventurous backpacker and is best to be completed with friends, or other travellers, as you are left to your own devices to get from A to B. During this trip, you will get to stay at local villages (sleeping in make shift hostels) and ride to incredible sights, such as the Tad Fane waterfall that cascades down into a 120m canyon.
There are also famous coffee plantations that are a worthwhile visit. You can spend as much time as you want on this loop, stoping at the local villages to rest, then embarking onto the next town in the morning. To partake on this journey we would recommend going to Miss Noy Bike Shop. They will provide you will all the information you will ever need, even including bike rentals. They will also provide you with a map inclusive of detailed instructions on how to make your way on the loop!
On one of the days in Pakse, we rented a motorbike and spent the entire day exploring the many waterfalls up North. About an hours drive out of town, this is a scenic drive and very fun! Below are the two most notable waterfalls we visited on this day out.
Tad Fane Waterfall
Found on the Bolaven Plateau loop, this waterfall is certainly an impressive sight. Tad Fane waterfall boasts a towering 120m drop into the jungle below. It is known as one of the tallest waterfalls in South East Asia. This spectacular waterfall is hidden amid the dense jungle! Don’t worry about hiking though. The trail itself to the waterfall is about a 5 minute walk and you are taken to the view point pictured below. Due to the size of the waterfall, tourists are not allowed to hike to the bottom, or get to close! They do however offer a zip line for those who are not afraid of heights. One of the largest zip lines we have ever seen, for $30 you can zip over the valley near the waterfall.
Tad Yuang Waterfall
This was by far one of the most fun waterfalls to explore. Not too far from each other, this waterfall offers an oasis for people to swim! We spent the afternoon swimming around and laying on the hot rocks for some sun! This is the waterfall to go to if you want to get up close and actually swim. There is also a nice restaurant located at the top for you to enjoy a bite to eat after your afternoon adventure.
A Travel Guide To PAKSE
WHERE TO EAT
Regarding where to eat, Sabadee is a pretty safe bet when it comes to food in Pakse. In our honest opinion, the food wasn’t that great, but it wasn’t that bad either. If you’re looking for a quick easy meal then Sabadee is a great place to stop. Also, their coffee is very strong, so be wary when ordering a black coffee.
Dok Mai Lao Italian
For Italian food in Pakse you need to look no further than Dok Mai Lao Italian. A small hideaway located within the side streets of Pakse, this Italian restaurant has it all. From wine, meat and cheese boards to incredible pizza and pasta. You’ll definitely be craving more once you’ve eaten here. One thing to mention however, the price maybe a bit steep for backpacks, but well worth it if you’re willing to spend a little more.
A small, yet comfortable bakery near town! This bakery has some great coffee, smoothie and breakfast options. We ate here one morning before heading off to the waterfalls and it was a great fill up. If you need to work, this cafe is a great space with wifi and tables all around.
A Travel Guide To PAKSE
WHERE TO STAY
The Lankham Hotel is not anything special by any means. The hotel itself is old and very dated. However, the price will match the aesthetic, averaging around $8 a night. If you’re traveling to Pakse for the Bolaven Plateau loop then this is actually a great place to spend one night. It is located right next to Miss Noys and is very central to the rest of the town. It is also cheap enough where you can leave your luggage behind while you do the loop if you are looking to carry fewer items with you on the road.
Overall, Pakse is more a means to an end. If you’re heading down to the South of Laos then Pakse is a necessary stop. Additionally, the Bolaven Loop is one of the reasons to head this far down South. You will be pleasantly surprised by the beautiful waterfalls, should you choose to venture out to see them!
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