In Dec 2016, I visited Laos as part of my four and half month trip to south east Asia. I might not have visited too many places, but I think its time, I start sharing my experiences to people who might want to visit these countries. So here goes 3 days of documenting. 🙂
The Bolaven Plateau is an elevated region in southern Laos. The plateau’s elevation ranges approximately from 1,000 to 1,350 metres (3,280 to 4,430 ft) above sea level. Most of the tourists who travel around this region, tend to rent a motorbike and ride around these hills. And I did the same with my friend M.
We rented an automatic scooter from our guest house(GH) for 100,000 Kip/day. We were staying in Champasak town, so we started out trip from there and ended it back there.
I have shared the riding route I have taken over 3 days with Google maps.
We rode from Champasak to Pakse and then towards Paksong. 12 Km before Paksong, we stopped to check out a water fall called Tad Fane. We couldn’t see any path to go down to the bottom of the waterfall. After sticking around for few minutes, we continued to the next one.
On the way we could see many coffee plantations though we didn’t stop. Believe it or not, both of us don’t like coffee.
The next stop was at a water fall called Tayicseua. The road in this region is pretty new and curvy. It was lot of fun riding through the ups and downs of the road.
By evening we reached the Houa Khon waterfalls. We decided to stay here for the night. Before it got dark, we managed to go see the waterfall and even take a dip in the water. So refreshing after the all day ride!
The GH we stayed, was on the opposite side of the, more touristy part of the river. There weren’t many other guests, rooms were simple, but cheap(50000/60000 Kip). The food was good, the nights were silent except for the various insect sounds from the forest. To reach this GH, take the road just before(going from Attapeu to Sekong direction) the bridge at Xe Noy. The road was a bit tricky as on Dec 2016, but nothing unmanageable.
Next day morning we rode to Tad Lo waterfall, a very popular waterfall in this region. We passed through Sekong and Thateng towns on our way. The views weren’t so bad. By this time you have come down to the plains and you could see the mountains on your left side as you ride.
On the way, we stopped to take a look at the Captain Hook Home-stay. Yes, the name got our attention and we had to see what was there! The owner has his own coffee plantations and he conducts daily coffee tours there. We didn’t take the tour, but decided to order the lunch there. Though it took some time, the delicious pumpkin soup with sticky rice was the best food we had on the trip.
By afternoon we reached Tad Lo. Expect a lot of tourists here depending on the season. The waterfall is a bit far from the village, so we went to see the waterfall first. Fortunately, not too many people go close the falls, so we could lie down on the flat rocks and rest a bit, before we start the hunt for accommodation for the night.
Around the main bridge we found a place to stay for 40,000 Kip. Really cheap!
Today was the last day of our trip. There was no major attractions on the way. And we decided to skip all the miniature waterfalls. We took the route via Laongam, back to Pakse and then to Champasak.
Having said all this, if you are planning to do a bike trip in Laos and don’t have too much time, I would suggest you do the Thakhek loop. Its more popular among travelers. I haven’t done it myself, but it seems more fun than Bolaven.
Is there any meaning in all the things happening around me? Am I supposed to give it any thought that, why a certain thing is happening in the way it happened? I think the answer is yes and no, depending on how you look at it.
The world we live in, Samsara, is an illusion in a way. There is no solidity in events happening around me when I clearly observe them. From a scientific point of view, its all sub atomic particles interacting with each other, changing all the time.
But then, I perceive things very strongly. I am so affected by them. Why? I think the only purpose of a certain event or situation in my life is to learn of its emptiness. Once I understand the emptiness of this Samsara, in my being, I wont perceive things as I perceive them now.
It feels like a tape recorder being played all the time saying “Earth is round. Earth is round.” If I don’t understand the truth, there is use in listening to this tape again and again. But once I understand the fact that earth is round, I don’t need to listen to the tape again. In fact, the tape sound will turn into background noise and I would hardly notice it again.
As such all the events happening around me, are not significant. But they all try to teach me how we perceive the reality in the wrong way. In that way, all the events are very significant to me.
For me a perfect partner would be somebody who is open minded and mature. But maturity shouldn’t come at the expense of sensitivity.
By open mindedness, I mean the person is always ready for new experiments or things in life. She knows how to deal with the fear of unknown. She says to herself sometimes ‘why not’ when she begins to doubt the unknown. This is important because when she discovers parts of myself which are not yet known to her, she will be able to welcome it rather than thinking, ‘Oh I didn’t think he was like this’.
Maturity is wisdom. It’s not the same word which we commonly use in our society. Normally we use it, to describe people, who conforms to the societal rules, and being serious about their roles. What I mean by maturity is simply wisdom. It’s more like a state where decisions flow from within and not only from our brain. Or decisions are based on love more than fear(I meant the emotional fear, not the survival fear).
Now comes sensitivity. For me sensitivity is a part of me which quietens my mind when it sees or hears, or anything happens through the sense doors. This quietening leads to my experience of being and joyfulness. There are not a list of things which you can be sensitive to. It can be ANYTHING. It can be the falling of a leaf, a blue sky, the sight of a garbage dump-yard, taste of food in your mouth, even hearing an annoying horn, a smell-good or bad etc.. This part is important in a person, because this helps her to see the little things in me and be happy. With time, sometimes, a relationship can get a bit boring. But when you are sensitive you are taking care of your own entertainment. Simple things about me would make her alive (it’s more like she is already alive, not that I make her alive) which she wouldn’t have noticed at all before.
After reading all this, someone might think I will never find someone so perfect. I completely agree. And that’s okay with me too. I would be happy if I find someone who has some characteristics of all of this, and is ready to work on herself like me. And being in a relationship with such a person, the whole thing becomes one of self discovery and aliveness. For me it’s like dancing with the tune of universe .
Thanks for reading these words. I send you all, lot of love. I hope all of you will find what you are looking for. Thanks.