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Motorbikes and Waterfalls

Tad Lo, Pakse

We had heard from several people we had met a long the way that travelling in Laos was a bit more difficult and precarious than Cambodia and Vietnam and generally speaking you should at least double the journey time advertised and not travel on the bus at night unless you have a death wish. Knowing how people can exaggerate we took this with a pinch of salt as we started our journey from Don Det to Pakse.

First was the short boat trip from the island back to Nakasang. There were about 4 longboats each taking about 10 people and it was a bit of a squeeze getting all the passengers on board with all their backpacks and we were counted and recounted about 10 times before we left, just to make sure the boat was indeed full.

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We were the first boat to arrive on the other side and we were told to follow a guy from the boat and wait for our bus which would arrive in a few minutes. Gradually people for the other boats arrived and were directed straight onto other buses and left. A bit miffed we asked again and were told our bus was coming and was just filling up with petrol so we perched on a bench expectantly....we were still there several hours later!! It turns out the bus was having trouble steering after getting petrol and was in the garage being fixed! After 3 hours waiting the bus finally pulled up at the time we should have been arriving at our next destination! The slogan written in large letters down the side of the bus was an understatement to say the least...Redefining Travel in Asia! but definitely caused a few giggles amongst the now delirious travellers from waiting in the heat of the day.

This delay meant we did not arrive in Pakse until about 5pm. The central drop off was actually 2km out of town, which we did not realise until we had lugged our bags half way, before admitting defeat and flagging down a songthaew to take us the rest of the way. We had been recommended a hotel to stay in but could not find it so went to Sabaidee 2 guesthouse and found a room there for 68,000 kip.

The reason for stopping off in Pakse was to go and find the Tad Lo waterfalls which are meant to be beautiful. The guesthouse advised we could not get there and back in a day and we should stay over at one of the bungalows next to the falls but we had met people who had done it in a day, so we went to rent a motorbike for the next day (which turned out to be from the hotel we were originally trying to find!). Good to go we settled down to a great dinner at Daolin although be careful of the Laos sausage, its very spicey!

Next morning we decided to have a good breakfast before getting on the bike for the day. After the spicy food last night I was keen to avoid it so opted for the herb sausage after double checking and being reassured it was not spicey... What arrived was definitely spicey and would haunt me later! Dan is now addicted to sticky rice!!

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With our trusted map we jumped on the bike and edged into the morning traffic of Pakse and headed out of town.

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We passed the busy bus station and market. One stretch of the road was lined with 100s of watermelons piled up waiting to be sold, I ve never seen so many in one place. I think I have now managed to curb my inner Hyacinth and getting used to being on the back of a motorbike. As we drove along we passed by villages and stalls along the roadside and could see all the different wares being made and sold from grass matts to machetes.

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There are several other waterfalls on the route to Tad Lo and we decided to break up the journey stopping off at one (have forgotten the name). We had to drive down a really steep hill before we arrived at the entrance to the waterfall. To our surprise there was an entrance fee and it turned out that this spot also had a village you could look around to see the different types of housing etc... It did not seem like a real village at all and I'm not sure if people actually live there all the time as it felt a bit soulless so we didn't spend long there.

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Back on the bike we had some amazing views and decided to press on to Tad Lo not stopping at other waterfalls on the way

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After 4 hours of the bike we were rewarded by this view as we came round a corner

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A few wrong turns later we finally made it to Tad Lo waterfall park and took in Tad Heng waterfall...

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And Tad Lo...

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In hindsight we should have rented the bike for two days and stayed at one of the bungalows right by the waterfalls as it was so beautiful. Trying to do the trip in one day meant we did not have time to explore properly or go swimming at Tad Lo as we needed to get back before it got dark. But regardless of this we had had a fun days adventure :)

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Sxx

Posted by doyledan 03:34 Archived in Laos

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