Waterfalls, many different ethnic groups, tea, coffee and a lot of forest. That is an easy summary of the things that the Bolaven Plateau can offer.
The Bolaven Plateau in Laos is known for its beautiful nature and is a great place to visit. Absolutely worth visiting and stunning waterfalls are to be found in many places of the plateau.
If you feel comfortable driving around on a motorbike, this is a very good way to visit the Bolaven Plateau. The main roads are in reasonable to good condition and if you don’t drive too fast the chance of getting an accident are limited. We recommend you to rent a motorbike at Miss Noy Motorbike Rental in Pakse. Every evening they provide their guests with an information evening in which they explain you many things about the Bolaven Plateau.
By tuktuk, bicycle or minivan
It’s also possible to visit the plateau by private tuktuk (Miss Noy Motorbike Rental can help you with that as well) or minivan. It will be more expensive than driving around by motorbike but it’s a good alternative if you don’t want or you can’t drive on a motorbike. Cycling is also possible but be prepared for some steep parts and we only recommend it when you have a proper bicycle and some experience. Don’t forget sun protection, it is cooler on the Bolaven Plateau, but the sun can still burn you (badly).
By local transport
We don’t really recommend visiting the Bolaven Plateau by local transport. Buses and songthaews will not bring you to the places you probably want to see and it requires a lot of walking and waiting.
Maps and recommendations regarding safety
Travel2Laos can help you with printed maps about Southern Laos (including detailed maps of the Bolaven Plateau and several zoom ins of this area). Contact us if you are interested in one or more maps. We recommend you to drive slowly when you are on the Bolaven Plateau (and elsewhere in Laos). Sometimes it is very tempting to go fast when the roads are (almost) empty, but please follow our advice and don’t drive faster than 50 km/h. You are there to explore, enjoy and see things, not to end up in a hospital or worse… Animals and people sometimes cross the roads without paying a lot of attention to traffic. A goat jumping from the bushes is not dangerous, but when the goat does that when you are close to it and approaching it with 70 or 80 km/h it becomes a different story. Cows, chickens, ducks, goats, buffaloes, cats, dogs and even some people are not always very intelligent, please be smarter than them… Hospitals in Laos are not well equipped and sometimes very basic. Clinics in the countryside are sometimes not more than a wooden shack with very few things inside. Avoid needing to use that and stay safe. Wear your helmet (and put it on properly), drive maximum 50 km/h on paved roads and 20 tot 30 km/h on paved roads and when it rains, stop and take shelter or adjust your speed. Don’t drive after dark and use lights and possibly refelecting clothes.
More about the Bolaven Plateau
Do you like to read more about this part of Laos? Take a look at the Facebook page Amazing Bolaven Plateau and the website of NKM and M-maps (with a lot of information about southern Laos, not just the Bolaven Plateau, absolutely worth a visit and consider staying at their Homestay before and after visiting the Bolaven Plateau as well for more (detailled) information about the area and things to visit)