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Trekking for beautiful waterfalls at Bolaven Plateau of Southern Laos!
"Bolaven Plateau, the wonderland of Southern Laos ” is a name known to many as a world-class coffee plantation. But for the adventurous and forest lover, "Bolaven Plateau" is a paradise for people who truly love nature and adventure. Here is a land rich in nature, surrounded by forests, mountains and the grandeur waterfalls, a charm that makes many people come and see it in person. Although the route is harsh, I see it as a worthy deal. One word, adventurers who like challenges and excitement should not miss it !!
This 3 days 2 nights trekking trip to a neighbouring country is considered to be my first time hiking abroad. Although the forests of Southern Laos are no different from the forests in Thailand that I have visited before. But this trip is quite tough, so I've prepared double for both physical condition and various appliances.
Things to know before going o Bolavan Plateau:
1. Bolaven Plateau is located at Dong Hua Sao National Park, Muang Pak Song, Champasak Province, Lao PDR, with an altitude of 1,200 meters above sea level.
2. The trip get started by hiring a Songtaew taxi from Chong Mek Immigration Checkpoint, Ubon Ratchathani Province and get off at Ban Nong Luang, after that it is a 5 kilometres walk along the nature trail which takes about 2-3 hours.
3. The highlight attraction is the large waterfall in the middle of the forest named Tad Kamued, Tad Sua, Tad Taket.
4. The ideal time for travel is from July to August every year.
5. One guide or a porter is required per 2 tourists.
6. Lao PDR does not require a visa from Thai citizens, we only need to travel with at least 6 months valid passport upon the date of entry.
1. It's recommended to wear sneakers and do not wear sandals.
2. Some walking paths have intersections which can be misleading and get you lost in the forest, so do not go hiking alone.
3. Certain walking paths to the waterfall are steep and slippery, so please be careful. It's recommended to bring a trekking pole along.
4. The weather is quite cold. It's recommended to bring warm clothes and wear long sleeves.
5. Prepare a waterproof bag.
6. For your own safety, please follow the rules and instructions of the staff.
Upon reaching the Thai-Laos border, we started our journey by taking a large Songtaew taxi from Chong Mek Immigration Checkpoint led by a Lao tour guide towards Ban Nong Luang, Pak Song District, Champasak Province, Lao PDR.
Here are more than 30 strangers accompanying me on this trip. We prepare food and things while also separating parts of them for porters.
Once we arrived on this side, these little strangers come to welcome us by waving their hands with smiles on their faces. Little Lao kids are so cute, aren't they? :)
And then we arrived at the starting point of our walk at Ban Nong Luang which we have to walk in through the farms, coffee plantations and into the forest until we reach our destination tonight at Dan Yai.
The walking distance from Ban Nong Luang to Dan Yai is about 5 kilometres and takes about 2-3 hours. But since it was just rained, the journey became more difficult, both wet and slippery.
The more messed up, the more experiences. The fun, the adventure and the challenges are easy to find, just ... open your mind and go.
We kept walking into the forest until we found a large stream of water which excited us so much. We had to walk cross the fast-flowing stream below by holding onto the sling. The later, the darker. The higher, the more afraid. The more we think about it, the more we get scared. Anyhow, we all got through it and this was also my ever first time experiencing night trekking.
In case if you fear of heights and do not want to cross the stream by climbing a sling, you can also walk through the water instead. But I must say that the water flows very strongly, we have to keep walking and holding the rope steadily.
We reached Dan Yai at night which was very dark and cold. After getting tired of traveling all day, we set up the camp and enjoy dinner together before going to bed to rest to get ready for the magnificent waterfalls trip the next day.
The morning atmosphere in the midst of nature accompanied by the fade mist is so good.
The destination for our second morning of this trekking trip is Tad Kamued by which we will have to walk for about 3 kilometres.
The path along the way was harsh. We had to walk through the forest and mud, climbed over rocks and stairs, and went through the unending rain.
These difficulties and challenging hiking trails make the Bolaven Plateau a true paradise for people who love nature and adventure.
Finally, we have met the greatness of "Tad Kamued", the waterfall in the middle of the forest that everyone wishes to come and see with their own eyes at least once in their lives.
The tiredness during more than 2 hours trekking disappeared when I saw the splendor of Tad Kamued in front of me (Tad means waterfall).
During the rainy season, the water is quite strong so I didn't go into the water below. Just get to experience the greatness of the waterfall and see the splendor of nature is considered very worthwhile already.
Then it's time to go back to the camp to take a walk around the nature and appreciate the beauty of pink flowers that are blooming all over the camping ground.
Pink flowers (Pro Phu Pink flower) are blooming all over the camping ground.
Sundew is an insectivorous plant. It typically grows in open areas like sandstone mountains, grasslands, or near streams in an area that is approximately 1,200 meters above sea level.
Near the camping ground, there is also a viewpoint where we can see the waterfall from afar.
On the third day, we woke up early to pack the tent, prepare simple breakfast and wrap a portion of it to eat on the way back.
It was the same round-trip route. What's more is the water level that has risen almost to the knees from the all night rain. Of course, we kept walking through it.
The story and the beauty along the way help create good memories for the trip.
Big thanks to more than 30 strangers for traveling and struggling together. This trip is very fun. We've built a great friendship and experience hiking like never before. Please stay tuned for my next trip :)