Sal’s Travelogue #5 – Saibadee Pakse!

After the exploring Don Det and Phou Asa’s elephant trails, our writer Sal continued his journey towards Pakse and through to Vientiane. Here he shares his story exploring the rugged area around Pakse with a rented motorcycle, visited waterfalls and got on the sleeper bus towards Vientiane.

Our journey had taken us to several quiet destinations, allowing us all the time and space we needed to refresh and relax. Pakse was to be yet another such destination, but we didn’t let that fact bother us at all. As the provincial capital of the Champassak province in Southern Laos, Pakse is made up of simple streets, lined with French-colonial style buildings on both sides. From what we observed, this city stands as the province’s gateway to some of the more popular destinations in the north.

A curious side-note observation here was the availability of South Indian, Israeli and Spanish cuisines on many of Laos’ more common streets and establishments. A particular Indian restaurant by the name of Nazim was our favorite haunt, due to its variety, quality and competitive prices.

Waterfalls in Pakse. Photo credit - Sal Sim.

Waterfalls in Pakse. Photo credit - Sal Sim.

A rainbow over cascading waters greeted us at Tadfane. Photo credit - Sal Sim.

A rainbow over cascading waters greeted us at Tadfane. Photo credit - Sal Sim.

For US$20, we booked two motorcycles for the entire day. We took scribbled directions to the local attractions, and set off on the Laotian highways to see sights and waterfalls scattered within a 60 km radius from Pakse. We visited three waterfalls, with Tadfane undoubtedly the highlight of the day. The waterfall was tall and strong, and the surrounding lake beautifully mesmerizing. As we jumped into the lake a rainbow over the cascading waters greeted us, and we spent a good part of the day swimming and lounging around the area.

Cruising to the waterfalls was fun and not much of a challenge. The ride back however, proved to be an entirely different matter, and we were fortunate enough to neither witness nor be a part of any road accident. It wasn’t easy to dodge all the flatbeds and speeding trucks, but we managed somehow. At the end of the 60 km trip, all we had left was four hours until the time to get on the sleeper bus to Vientiane.

Pakse. Photo credit - Sal Sim.

Pakse. Photo credit - Sal Sim.

On the sleeper bus, we were greeted with the sight of bunk beds instead of the usual passenger seats. Naturally, that brought a smile to our faces – the prospect of spending ten hours on a bus suddenly seemed a lot less painful. The trip passed by effortlessly and we reached Vientiane’s central bus station in no time, a mere 4 km away from the backpacker’s district. Accommodation in Vientiane was considerably more expensive compared to the other towns I’ve passed by so far, but we didn’t have much choice with most of the cheaper guesthouses fully rented out. With a nearly exhausted list of recommendations, we finally settled at the Young Chun Guesthouse after a guest conveniently checks out at noon.

Sal’s Travelogue – #1: Solo#2: Saigon Green#3: Detours#4: All Road Leads North

About the Author. Sal S-S. A writer by profession, a free spirit by nature – Sal believes that his life’s one purpose is to see it all, learn it all and do it all. Currently based as a freelance copywriter in Singapore, it is for life’s many unknowns and uncertainties that he sets his sights beyond borders and into new discoveries. Living and working for the journey itself and nothing less, it is with pen in hand and passion at heart that he contributes to Unearthing Asia.

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