l Things to do on the Bolaven Plateau in Southern Laos

Things to do on the Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos

Cập nhật: 01-01-1970 12:00:00 | Blogs about Laos | Lượt xem: 1161

Laos is most known for Vientiane and Luang Prabang, but around this country there are also many other gems with quite a charm that will melt your heart right at first sight. One of them is the Bolaven Plateau, a plateau of volcanic origin lying in the province of Champasak. Despite being far away from mass tourism, Bolaven Plateau with its splendid waterfalls, vast coffee plantations and unexplored villages and forests is effortlessly one of the most fascinating destinations in Laos. It’s simply perfect for both adventure and nature lovers.

If you are planning to join a Bolaven Plateau tour or organize a trip of your own, here is some noteworthy information that will help you learn more about this wonderful location. 

About Bolaven Plateau


Located east of Pakse, between the Annamite range and the Mekong valley, the Bolaven Plateau in Southern Laos affects the provinces of Champasak, Salavan, Sekong and Attapeu. It is actually an ancient volcano that collapsed on itself millions of years ago, and for this reason, the land around this area is extremely fertile – which can be seen from the coffee plantations that are considered among the best in the world. The morphology of Bolaven Plateau’s territory and the presence of numerous streams generate spectacular waterfalls, some of which represent real natural sanctuaries with luxuriant tropical vegetation.

In addition to growing tourism, the economy of the region is largely based on agriculture. Its resident population is mainly made up of the Laven ethnic group (from which the name of the plateau derives) and several minor ethnic groups, including Alak, Katu, Ta Oy, and Suay.

Bolaven Plateau climate

At an altitude between 1000 and 1300 m above sea level, Bolaven Plateau is a little cooler compared to other parts of Laos. It is characterized by a particularly mild climate with abundant rainfall and warm temperatures.

In general, there are three seasons here: November – February is the cool season with temperatures that drop to 5 – 8°C at night, March – April is the hot season with minimal rainfall and daytime temperatures ranging from 30 –32°C, and May – October is the rainy season with 10 – 15 rainy days per month and frequent thunderstorms.

The best time to visit the Bolaven plateau is therefore between November and March during the cool season, which is always a great idea to relieve the heat of Laos. Especially, mid-October to February is the coffee harvest season, when you can see how locals collect high-quality Laos Bolaven Plateau coffee with your own eyes.

How to get there

Most people choose to reach Bolaven Plateau from Pakse, which is the largest town in the region and located only 35 km away (Paske is also a relaxing place to spend a day or two, so feel free to stay there at least one night to make your Southern Laos itinerary even more memorable). From Pakse, you can either catch a taxi for $35 – $45 or rent a motorbike for $7 – $9 a day.

How to get around

There are two main loops in Bolaven Plateau. The shorter Bolaven Plateau loop is 100 km and usually takes 2 days and 1 night, while the longer one is about 320 km and can be completed within 3 or 4 days. If you choose to discover the long loop, you will have plenty of time to visit the waterfalls, savor the coffee plantations, get to know the old villages and enjoy the enchanted landscapes.

In Bolaven Plateau, public transport like buses or local songthaew is not recommended because the waterfalls are often far from the main road. The safest means that you should choose are therefore cars and minivans, which are also very comfortable and consume less energy.

However, if you want to travel independently and discover the most remote corners of the plateau by yourself, you can easily rent a scooter or a bicycle for just a few dollars. Just be aware that some stretches along the long loop are unpaved and can become impassable in the rainy season. And if you choose to move around with a motorbike, don’t forget to wear a helmet or you will be fined.

Bolaven Plateau Map

Here is the map of main trails on Bolaven Plateau in Southern Laos. Depending on the nights spent on the plateau, you can refer and decide the suitable route of your Bolaven Plateau itinerary.


Highlighted things to do in Bolaven Plateau

Refresh at the waterfalls


Waterfalls on Bolaven Plateau Laos are considered to be the most alluring ones in the whole country, so visiting them is undoubtedly a must during most Laos adventure tours. Among them, Tad Fane Waterfall is known as the most beautiful waterfall in Laos with twin streams flowing down a 120 m straight cliff, not to mention its surrounding view is no less breathtaking with lush green plants and plenty of trees covering the whole area. 

Other gorgeous waterfalls that are worth exploring include Tad Yuang – a magnificent 40 m high waterfall that contains a spacious pool of water, Tad Champee – a 10 m high waterfall that’s like a lovely curtain covering the cave behind it, Tad E Tu – a waterfall located below a resort and embraced by natural jungles, and Phasou – a stunning waterfall that gushes from the end of a 15 m high red cliff.

Visit coffee and tea plantations

Apart from waterfalls, Bolaven Plateau is also famous for its coffee production, which was introduced at the time of French colonization. The fact that the Paksong district is home to more than 5000 coffee and tea farming families makes Bolaven Plateau in Southern Laos a true coffee heaven on Earth. When touring around an organic coffee or tea farm, you will be able to observe the processes of planting, hatching, and producing tea leaves and coffee beans, and even join them if you want to. The best part is, visitors coming here can taste the delicious coffee and tea produced right on the plantation, and it’s surely a delightful experience for any coffeeholic.

There are countless plantations in the area so just pick the one that suits your itinerary the most. The plantation tour should cost around $3, including the entrance ticket and coffee/tea tasting.

Trek to ethnic villages

Bolaven Plateau is highlighted with beautiful ethnic villages, and they all possess a unique culture. During this trekking tour, in addition to enjoying the peaceful, pristine natural views and fresh air, you will be able to interact with the kind villagers and learn about typical characteristics of cattle breeding and plant cultivation. Most people here are still living in small stilt houses and wearing traditional ethnic costumes. They are really friendly and hospitable, so don’t hesitate to ask for a picture with them. 

Stop by a local market

There are a few local markets dotted around the area, close to the big villages. Besides selling fresh products for daily meals, they also offer local handicrafts and pretty souvenirs such as tribal-style necklaces and bracelets, copper statues, handy bags, baskets and wallets... The market is where people of all kinds meet so if you happen to come across any loud, crowded, and vibrant place in Bolaven Plateau, it must be the market.

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