The Bolaven Plateau

Laos is largely mountainous, but there are relatively few plateaus to be found. As such, this one is prized for the fertility of the soils, with coffee and tea being notable produce. It’s also home to a number of different ethic groups, notably the Laven people after whom the region is named. The plateau is elevated to a level of over a thousand metres above sea level, meaning that for most of the year the climate is somewhat cooler and fresher than the surrounding areas. For a western tourist this is most welcome, the temperature being pleasantly warm rather than exceptionally hot.

That is one reason it is worth considering staying here and using it as a base for the surrounding areas rather than Paxse itself. Naturally not all attractions are as close but the peace and quiet appeals, as does the fact that the air conditioning in the room doesn’t need to be on full blast – and doesn’t need to be on at all most of the time.

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There are of course more waterfalls here, some of which offer the delights of a swim in the pool beneath, but the most famous is the Tad Fane falls, the highest in South East Asia with a drop of 120 metres.

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The flow does depend on the time of year but they remain spectacular year round.

Visiting the local villages and seeing the way of life is another attraction, while many of the coffee and tea plantations welcome visitors to see the process and of course most of all, sample the produce. Real coffee isn’t as widespread in Laos as might be hoped for, so it becomes something of a treat to taste the real stuff.

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