Adventure trip riding the Pakse loop up to the Bolaven Plateau


 
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First day of Christmas. My tent was standing somewere in nowhere. It was just after midnight, when I suddenly saw a bright light and hered someone shouting "Police". Camping is not allowed here.
 

 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Am I in Germany? I packed my stuff and started to move a few hundered meters further. Bum Bum? Yes, but not with you I answered the whore. Then I pitched my tent again behind a tree.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
At 8:30 Uhr I took the VIP Bus to Pakse. Because of its air conditioner it cost 70.000 Kip while the normal bus is only 60.000 Kip for 400 kilometers.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Of course the air conditioner in the VIP bus was not working and it was in the same bad condition as all the other buses here.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
It became a long, hot and exhausting trip. Again and again we had to stop for people who wanted to travel with all their belongings. At the end the trip to Pakse took more then 10 hours.
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Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Again the bus droped me 8 km outside of the city at a big crowdet marked place.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The first time on this trip I did not feel save here, so I took a TucTuc into the city to look for a hotel with WiFi.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I wanted to answer my christmas emails. Finaly I found a hotel with a big sign "free WiFi".
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The internet here was so slow that it allmoast took half an hour just to log into my account.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
No chance to upload any pictures with sich a bad satelite connection.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
As it become dark, the hotel manager asked me Nin Chau? and offered me as his only guest something to eat.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Then he allowed me to pitch my tent in front of the hotel. This way I even had Internet in my tent to chat with some friends :)
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Quickly the next morning I took a shower (in a bucket of water) and then went off to the city centre.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Here are at GPS N15°07'19.6" E105°47'58.2" is everything that tourists want:
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Hotels, ATMs, a currency exchange with good rates, restaurants and scooter rental companies. Unfortunately, the food portions in the restaurants were tiny.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Hungry people are served a lot better with big portiones at the nearby market GPS N15 ° 07' 10.5 "E105 ° 47' 56.2".
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The embassy of Vietnam was only 500 meters away at GPS N15 ° 07' 21.7 "E105 ° 48' 07.1". Here the Embassy wanted more then double of the price the Vietnam embassy in Thailand:
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
70 dollars for 30 days and 4 days waiting or 80 dollars if I want to get the visum right away.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I went to check out the prices of the rental scooters. They all were 50.000 Kip per day or more. I took a Honda Wave 100 semiautomatic motorcycle with centrifugal clutch in allmost new condition and left the city.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
For the first time, someone wanted to see the drivers license I bought for 5 Euros in Thailand. He did not want to know if I was able to ride, but wanted to keep it insted of my passport as a deposit. This way now I could even sell the scooter ;)
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I rode direction Bolaven Plateau, more specifically first direction Salaven, and then turn right towards Tathing.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Here is the point were you have to decides whether you want to make the small or the large loop of the Bolaven Plateau.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The small loop continues from here straight to Pakson and then back to Pakse, while the large loop goes from Tathing to the left towards Sekong.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I decidet to ride the big loop but wanted to sleep first.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
In severyl little villages I asked with hands and feet, wether Im allowed to pitch my tent here.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Even there was plenty of space, the people allways said no.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Finaly I found a friendly family. The kids allready waved to me while riding past. Sabadiiii "Hallo".
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The father lought and allowed me to pitch my tent at their balcony, while the motorcycle was allowed to park underneath the house and charge my camera.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The family had electricity and even owned a TV.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Nevertheless, water had to be carryed from the fountain in the middle of the village. Here was were the life happened.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
There were people loughing, talking, washing their hair, children and dishes.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
There was a big laugh when took a showered as well and started to wash my hair at the fountain, so everybody had some fun :)
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
After a quiet but very cold night at almost 1000 meters high, I paid for my stay and wanted to continue my trip.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The father came to me and stoped me. First he wanted to show me something.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I followed him behind his House. Here was a whole plantation of green bushes.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
They all were growing many small berries. My host told me that it was coffee.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
He opened one of the fruits, and In fact, it contained two half cores in the typical shape of coffee beans.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
They were however Not yet roasted and therefore very light and soft.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
From Sekong I rode to Attapeu. The road was good and there was not much to be seen so I traveled quite fast.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Although there were signposted waterfalls along the road, I never found any of them. If I followed the path into the jungle, it became more and more narrow and disappeared after 20 kilometres without a further sign.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I onlyfound one waterfall. I was riding throught the jungle. The path became very narrow and I had to take down my head so I dont bang against some tree branches.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I parked my motorbike in the jungle, marked its positione with my GPS and started to walk.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Everywhere I heared the noise of chain saws. People were busy cuting down the jungle. Shots were fired.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
With all my modern stuff, I felt really insecure and out of place.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The same feeling as if people take a cable car up a mountain, to suddenly find themselves between real sports guys.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Insted of a chain saw I was carrying a Laptop and insted of a fire arm I had a few hundered dollars of cache with me. I was not a fighter, I was an easy prey.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I avoided the area of the chainsaws and wandered through dense jungle towards the loud noise of the rushing waterfall. I succeeded but could not take a Foto...it was overgrown with plants.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Along the so-called Tschin gis Kan trail, a 70-kilometer shortcut (turning GPS N15 ° 09' 57.4 "E106 ° 46' 00.0 169m), I went back to Pakson.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The especially during the rainy season dangerous path through the mountains is now almost entirely paved.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
There are only a few construction sites with some mud holes. In Pakson I dot not received a permit to camp again.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Instead, I found a hotel with a big sign "free WiFi". This offer I did not want to miss.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Sometimes I feel lonlywhile traveling. Then it is allways nice to read some emails of my family and friends.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Meanwhile, it had become midnight. While it was nice and warm during the day, the temperatures at the Bolaven plateau fall during the night close to the freezing point.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Because the hotel was fully booked, I left and pitched my tent behind a shed.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Nicht zuletzt aufgrund der Kälte war ich am nächsten Morgen rechtzeitig wach.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Not only because of the cold temperature, I woke up very early the next day, wondering how the pople here surwife.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
None of the little houses has a heater here. I grabbed my stuff and drove off.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
40 km before Pakse there should be a nice, big waterfall again.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I found Tad Yuang at GPS N15 ° 10' 50.8 "E106 ° 08' 21.0" altitude at 958 metres above sea level.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Because I was so early, the doorman was not there yet. 20,000 kip saved, enouth for two lunches :)
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The next waterfall Tad Cham (Waterfall Cave) was 38 kilometres before Pakse, signposted at GPS N15 ° 12' 10.2 "E106 ° 07' 56.3" 948 m.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Again there was nobody here, so I did not have to pay admission or a parking fee for the motorcycle.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
From other travelreports, I knew that also on the other side of the road, 38 km before Pakse should be a waterfall.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Even there was no sigh, I drove of and came to the Tat Fane lodge.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The doorman arrives at 9:00 o clock and charged other tourists 20.000 kip to see the waterfall. To spend a night here is 30 US$.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
From the terrace of the restaurant there is a great view to the two highest waterfalls of Laos.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Since the Sun in the morning made it impossible to take a nice picture, I wanted to find a different perspective.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I followed a natural trail to the left through the jungle. The trail led me directly to the top of the two highest waterfalls.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Lying on his stomach I crawled slowly forward, to take a look down into the crater.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
A 2d foto cant really show, how deep it was going down here.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
A real experience that showed me, how big and strong the nature is.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
When leaving the lodge, thre bus loads of tourists arrived. The doorman gave me a fierce look, becaus I had not payd him.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
36 km before Pakse there was another Lodge mit with a waterfall. I parked my motorcycle and startet to hike.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Suddenly, a tree branche escaped, just before I could step on it. A snake.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
It was not as big as the one in the cave in Thailand. She however long not as big as that was no panic in the cave in Thailand, so. (Yes, I know, even small snakes can kill people.)
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Back in Pakse, I returned my bike and went to the marked to get some food.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Then I got permission to camp in a temple at GPS N15 ° 07' 18.3 "E105 ° 47' 50.6".
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Only 98 meters above sea level, the night was a lot warmer than high up on the Bolarven Paleau.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
To ride the big loop has taken me only two days.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Looking back I would say even the small loop contains all the nice places to visit.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
In the next morning, the temple filled up with people. Everyone brought a dish with money, food and candles.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I could hear a monotonous song. Then the dull sound of a gong. Everywhere candles were glowing.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The people were praying. Then they donated their food and money to the monks.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
This way the monks could fiel their bowls for a few days.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Later on I learned, this event happenes every week.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
During normal days, the monks walk outside of the tempel to beg for food.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Now I stadted to become hungry as well. When I went to the marked, I suddenly met my selfe.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Jonas from the Czech Republic arrived on his own Vietnam registered motorcycle, which he had bought for $300. He was on the way to Cambodia too.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
He wanted to leave Laos as so as possible, since people also treated him like an ATM and not like a guest. Everyone tryed to get the maximal amount of money from him.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
As a wellcome, we had a bottle of drinking water together. The best gift after a hot, long ride.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Together, we sat on the beach, talking about our trips and further plans.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
An inexhaustible subject. Here and there we saw some fireworks. It was new year tonight.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
We were surprised. Actually new year in Laos is celebrated in April.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The next morning we strapped our backpacks on his motorcycle and rode 150 km to Si Pha Done, to visit the 4000 islands. Here is the harbour and the bus station and the last ATM GPS N14 ° 00' 13.2 "E105 ° 55' 19.4".
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
We took a catamaran ferry made out of wood for 50.000 kip including our motorbike to the island DOI Det. The journey only took 10 minutes and normally costs 15,000 kip per person.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Doi Det is a very nice and quiet island. There are many hotels and restaurants with WiFi. Many guest houses change money at more or less good rates.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
There were small shops too, where we bought eggs and chinese nodle soups. Many offices tryed to sell bus tickets for Cambodia at three times the normal price. They are a lot cheaper after the border.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
At a smal restaurant, we bought fried rice with eggs. Mmmmh :)
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Only drinking water is quite expensive here with 80 euro cents per litre. With prices like this, to rinse a toilet in Germany would cost 15 euro. This was the perfect opportunity to test the drinking water treatment machine from swizerland, that Jonas was carrying.
 
Motorbike trip trough Southeast Asia; Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Unfortunatly the 150 Euro drinking water filter was blocked and did not work anymore, after filtering half a liter of water from the Mekong river. Neverles we spend some nice days gamping at the Khongyai Beach GPS N13°56'38.5" E105°55'10.9" at the island Don Khon.
We went for a swim, made a fire and kooked tasty soup.
Don Det and Don Khon are connected with a bridge, the Frensh have build in colonial times. In Laos typical way they charged forreighners 20.000 Kip to walk across. Normaly. Jonas came with his motorbike at 20 miles an hour and did not stop, so the guy jumped out of our way. He is not there in the morning and evening anyway. This trip continues on the next page.
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