Most people who visit Laos usually forget about the south of the country. The most popular areas of the country are the famous Kuang Si Falls and Luang Prabang regions. Both of these places are UNESCO world heritage sites, so you can see why they are popular with travellers. Nevertheless, most people forget to visit the south where you can find the unforgettable Bolaven Plateau Motorbike Loop. It’s known as motorbiking the Pakse Loop.
Obviously, with this loop being on a motorbike, it is essential to stress how to be safe during your travels. In Southeast Asia, the laws around driving a motorcycle are much more relaxed than what they are in the western world. It’s crucial to be on top of your own safety because if you don’t care, no one else will. I don’t want to be a killjoy, but many western tourists have accidents while out in Asia. The main reason for this is that there is a lack of regulation. The safest option is probably renting an automatic motorbike. Here, you will not need to learn how to change the gears, which is half the battle on a manual.
The issue with renting a motorbike from a safety point of view is that any standard driving licence will do. As long as you’ve passed your test, then you’re pretty much good to go. When I went travelling, I talked to people who never have ridden a motorcycle before. Within the first couple of rides, they’ve typically had some kind of accident. Remember, in Southeast Asia, the roads and traffic conditions can be appalling. Do be extremely careful and be vigilant.
In terms of insurance, make sure you have suitable travel insurance so if you do have an accident that you are covered. You can choose bike insurance on your policy which will cover you for most accidents. Don’t forget to always take out the coverage on the bike if you are taking long trips. It will mean you are covered for any accidental damage on the bike!
The Bolaven Plateau Motorbike Loop will be some of the best adventures that you’ll get to experience on a motorbike. The loop is known for its many waterfalls. There are two options you can do, the small and the big loop. However, I will only go through the big loop as you can stretch an extra day. If you’re going to complete the circuit, you may as well do it properly. The big loop takes approximately four days to complete.
The highlight of my trip in Laos was exploring the many incredible waterfalls, coffee plantations and amazing scenery nestled away in the highlands of the Paske Loop. The waterfalls on show during the loop will impress you beyond belief! The coffee plantations will offer you a fantastic experience to visit and learn the history of the different tribes.
If you do stay for the entire four-day trip. You will inevitably pass by many different homestays, fantastic mountain views and waterfalls along the way.
The main reason why I enjoyed the Paske Loop is the many waterfalls that were on offer. Tad Alang was one of my favourites. Standing at 100m high, it is one the tallest and impressive during the loop. The waterfall overhangs a beautiful rock formation and is so big that you can feel the mist coming from the waterfall.
Although some travel blogs will give you an exact route, the reason why I’m not giving you one is that there isn’t even a set path for you to follow. There are so many different ways which can vary depending on the length of time, what you want to do, and what path you want to do. The region offers you some great flexibility and freedom.
During the end of your trip, you will get to the Paksong region of the motorbike loop; the tour offers you some excellent sites and activities to follow. The two best are Tad Yuang and Tad Fane. Tad Yuang is a stunning waterfall which gives travellers a considerable drop, 40m to be exact. Nearby is Tad Fane, this is the most massive fall on the plateau with twin streams that hurtle into the depths of the jungle. If you’re feeling adventurous, it’s possible to zipline across the valley of Tad Fane.
If you do want a rough itinerary of the region, this is one of the most popular routes:
4 Day Bolaven Plateau Loop Itinerary (Pakse Loop)
- Leave Pakse
- Stop at Tad Pha Suam Waterfall [36km, 1hr drive]
- Mr Vieng’s Coffee Plantation [28km, 35min drive]
- Waterfalls and elephant bathing at Tat Lo [25km, 30min drive]
- Visit Captain Hook’s ethnic village [16km, 20min drive]
- Scenic drive to Tad Tayicsua [90km, 2hr drive]
- Jarou Halang (aka Tad Alang) – 100m tall waterfall
- Relax in the rapids at JaRou ThaLaLeui
- JarRou ManDreun waterfall
- Visit Jarou YeRe
- Tad Yuang and Tad Fane – highest fall on the loop with Zipline [57km, 1hr drive]
- Return to Pakse [40km, 45min drive]
If you are visiting Laos, then I can’t stress enough that people need to complete the Paske Loop! It’s one of the best things to do for travellers in Laos. Although located in the south as opposed to it’s more popular trips in the north; the tour offers you an authentic experience of the natural wonders within Laos.
You might also like to read about 10 days in Laos and 14 days in Laos