BOLAVEN PLATEAU/WAT PHOU/ELEPHANT RIDING This is one of the best ways to explore the heart of southern Laos. We will enjoy the beautiful Bolaven Plateau and its stunning waterfalls, villages of ethnic minorities, as well as tea and coffee plantations. We discover the World Heritage Site of Wat Phou and ride on the back of an elephant to the ancient temple of Phou Asa, from where we have great views over the ecologically significant Xepian wetlands.
Day 1:We depart at 8:30 a.m. from Green Discovery Laos office in Pakse and drive up to the Bolaven Plateau, passing local tea and coffee plantations. The Plateau is the homeland of different Mon-Khmer ethic groups and was once part of the Ho-Chi-Minh Trail. Around the village of Ban Phou Oy some of the world’s best Paksong gourmet coffees (Arabica and Robusta) are grown. We stop and have a short walk around Jhai’s Coffee fair trade farmers’ co-op. Here we can observe the whole process of coffee production, from planting to roasting to the final cup of coffee. We then visit the amazing Tad Fan and Tad Ngoung waterfalls. The latter is a good spot for swimming and we have lunch there. After a short stop-over at a tea plantation, we drive back south to Champassak town. Before getting there, we have to cross the Mekong River with a ferry boat Approximately: Transfer 4-5 hours/hiking 2,½-3 hours
Day 2: Early in the morning we visit the ancient Khmer temple ruins of Wat Phou, a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. We return to the guesthouse for breakfast. Next we drive to Ban Kiet Ngong for an elephant trek to the ruins of Phou Asa. There are great views over the Xepian National Protected Area and its extensive wetlands, which are particularly important for water birds. We have lunch at a local restaurant in the village. On returning to Pakse, we stop at an Organic Farm at Km 19 where local mulberry tea and fruit wines are produced. From here you can either proceed to Pakse or continue your travel on your own to the ‘4000 Islands’ by local bus.
Approximately: Transfer 3,½ hours / elephant riding 2 hours / hiking 3 hours.