Bolaven Plateau loop day 3: From Pakse to Salavan and back

This post is part of another writing challenge with Cloudio. We're traveling together and posting a daily report, you can check his reports here.

Today report starts with what happened after publishing yesterday one.
I approached a couple of Germans that happened to be part of the Tadlo Computer Education Center (TCEC) I mentioned already.
They were on a gap year, and volunteered in Nepal first, for a similar project, and now in Tad Lo educating kids on using a computer.
It sounds like a cool project but not the right thing for me.

I would like to find a project where I can put at service my IT knowledge on network security and websites to help developing countries, does anyone know some?

Back to  day 3 of our Bolaven Plateau loop, the awakening was a pleasure with such a view: the early morning lights and the puppies were at their best.

Morning view
Morning view
Laotian puppies
Laotian puppies

Excellent papaya juices and bread with eggs at the Sipasert guesthouse.
We asked for Wifi and they came brought us the 3G router, literally bringing Internet to us, ah!


After 9:30am we hit the road, direction north.


Partying Lao Lao style

We reach destination just in time to stop for our first Laotian party.
Attracted by the music coming from a restaurant on the side of the road, we slowed down (from 40km/h to 20km/h). An happy Laotian man noticed the two farang and invited us to his party!

We were welcomed with a shoot of Red Label whisky, that must be a real delicatessen here around.
What party was that? It was a wedding, a baby shower party, or both of them it wasn’t very clear as nobody dare to speak English with us.

They offered us a seat,  poured us beer (of course Lao and of course with ice)  and some bad food. Sticky rice with fish soup and lap salad weren’t the best.

But we forgive them and invite their girls to dance “Lao-Lao style” that consist in walking like a paraplegic rotating the hands every now and then.
I’m sure there’s a meaning in all those hands gestures, and if I’ll ever meet a Laotian that can speak English it will be top of my questions list.

Lao-Lao style
Lao-Lao style

We also left “Lao Lao style”, leaving 20.000 kip tied to the wrists of the baby. The drunk father wasn’t impressed by the amount, so we hurried up to our scooters repeating “Khawp Jai” (Thanks) to all the invited.

Happy drunk father and billed baby
Happy drunk father and billed baby



Salavan, Saravan Salavane or Salavanh, it’s a flat, anonymous town we reached after almost 50km on a partially paved road from Tad Lo.
The highlight of the market was the huge amount of catfish on sale.

It’s one of the most remote areas of Laos, and one where people are obviously living with no frills.
Driving on this dusty and burning road I was impressed by all the shacks and basic wooden gazebos on the side, where people were just sleeping waiting for some customer to stop buying their goods, a chance that seemed to me like winning a lottery.

While driving I was developing conjectures over their lifestyle.
Are they poor? Surely they’re not rich in money.
Do they have meaningful lives? They have a community to belong to. They have families to take care of. They have traditions to follow.
Are they free? Surely the animals were free.

In fast on the road, there were plenty of animals: cows, goats, dogs, pigs freely crossing when you less expect. I’m really glad that the Frenchy (that we discovered being from Belgium) gave us proper scooters for this trip!

Leaving Salavan, Saravan Salavane or Salavanh we stopped for yet another delicious cup of Vietnamese coffee. It’s my birthday today, and we show them on the phone the Vietnamese word for “birthday” but this time I got no present.

Vietnamese coffee
Vietnamese coffee


Tad Lo waterfall

Two kilometers outside Tad Lo, we visited the Tad Lo waterfall where took a bath on the natural pools on top, observing crazy kids jumping from the waterfall and enjoying the perfect water temperature.

Tad Lo waterfalls
Tad Lo waterfalls


Tad Soung waterfall

Few kilometers farther there is Tad Soung waterfall. The entrance of 5.000 kip was repaid by a very tiny stream of water pissing down the mountain.
I had today travel coaching lesson from my Jedi Knight, that showed me how being stubborn is a bad attitude.
In fact he was suborning insisting that I was on the wrong trail, so I abandoned him to reach alone the base of the waterfall after a challenging 800m hike down the hill.



Tad Soung waterfall from the base

Overall a good day driving around and exploring this Bolaven Plateau, and a special thanks to Cloudio for not spoiling the day!

Total kilometers: 107.


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Di Daniele

Hi, I’m Daniele! A human being from planet earth. I founded and I like dancing Salsa, running, and living a location independent lifestyle.

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