We read the many accounts of travelers hopping on rented motorbikes and touring the high plateau of Bolaven in Laos. We decided to pass on that one, but Bolaven popped up as an afternoon option to tag on to our morning at Wat Phou. Oh, why not, we thought. It could be interesting. Well, it wasn’t the romantic and adventurous ride on a motorbike we’d read so much about, but a very nice van with a driver and guide for the 4 of us.
We drove north from Wat Phou to the Bolaven Plateau. While others napped in the car, Beth snapped photos of the passing scenery.
We stopped at the Tad Yuang Waterfall and watched a string of monks make their way down to the base of the falls. As we got ready to snap the photo, a rainbow appeared. We’re not making this up.
As we climbed back up from the falls, our guide pointed out a bush on the side of the path: a coffee plant in bloom.
Next stop was to sample the coffee and tea grown in Bolaven. Our friend, Cliff, described to one of the staff the fine distinction between a flat white coffee made in Australia and one made in New Zealand (his own country). We were just surprised to even see flat white on the menu at all.
We had to wonder about those motorbike trips in Bolaven we had been reading about. The road stretching for many miles was totally torn up for a massive widening project.
The dust choked us even in the closed van. We couldn’t imagine how people on motorbikes do it.
We enjoyed the day immensely and had not worried about the time. When we glanced at our watches, we knew we were already past time to be back, but the guide announced one more stop. Really? We almost said not to bother when the driver pulled over to the side of the road.
The last stop was to see a blacksmith shop in Laos, which proved the most interesting of all. All the tools on display were handmade and cost 35,000 kip ($4.25 US). They demonstrated one that was used like a scythe to cut grass.
The master blacksmith held a sharp piece of metal over the red hot metal which would become the tool. It was placed where he wanted to shape the metal. The man on the right drove his sledgehammer on to the sharp piece of metal time and time again.
The tool sharpener at work.
Bolaven was not exactly what we’d expected, but it proved to be a very interesting afternoon outing in southern Laos.