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Bolaven Plateau Bike/Motorbike Questions

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location China
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    I'm trying to get together some people to go to the Bolaven Plateau but have a few questions that need answering. To anyone who has experience going either the short or the long loop -

    Can you do it on a bicycle?
    If so, how many days did it take?
    Is it a solo experience or need a friend?

    How slippery are the roads for an inexperienced motorbiker?
    If so, how many days did it take?

    Any thoughts at all on the subject of the Bolaven Plateau would be appreciated.

    #1 Posted: 11/10/2010 - 07:49

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    arah

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    Posted from within Vietnam.

    We did it on a motorbike which we hired in Pakse. We easily got to Tad Lo in a day, via the Tad Paxuam waterfalls and could happily have spent a day or so in Tad Lo chilling, but we pressed on the next day and continued round the loop, stopping at Tad Niang and Tad Fane and back to Pakse. The driving on Day 1 was easy - reasonable roads with very little traffic. Day 2 was pretty bad at the start - due to roadworks which meant a lot of dusty and bumpy off-roading - but was OK for the most part. We met some girls who did it and were inexperienced and they were generally OK except for one minor tumble on the rough bit of road. That was in January though so it might be finished by now.

    #2 Posted: 11/10/2010 - 12:19

  • tinoh

    Joined Travelfish
    13th February, 2010
    Posts: 40

    We did the loop in april and the roadworks were almost finished. I think they were just finishing things of next to the road. On the map a part from sekong to tad lo was still shown as a dirt road but now is was totally paved from sekong to Tad Lo.
    The former dirt road from 20 kms between Tatheng and Ban Beng is since begin may 2010 renewed and leads you between the minority villages and very beautifull forest/jungle.
    A part of the big loop is still about 80 km of dirt road. If you have enough time you can do it on a bicycle but I wouldn't do that. If you want to do the bike loop on a bicyle go to Paksong first and than to Sekong. Than you go downhill most of the time on the dirt road.

    The dirt roads are slippery when wet. So if you want to do the ho chi minh trail on a motorbike start early in the morning and don't do it in the rainy season if you are an inexperienced biker. My girlfriend and I didnot have much experience last april and the only time when we got in trouble was when we were at a waterfall and it started to rain and we had to get back to Paksong on a dirt side road.


    #3 Posted: 11/10/2010 - 15:50

  • Laurence

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd October, 2010
    Posts: 2

    Hey
    You can get a map of the loop in the web. click Bolaven Plateau, www.xepian.org/images/map.
    It's some information on the national Park and it's very pratical, you can find accomodation's adress in home family. One of the best place and quite is in   PHa  Pho village. it's about  50 km from Paskse , after 40 km before the direction of the islands, turn on the left and follow  the dirty road  going to Attapeu. Ms Boune can help you to organize a trip in the hill. It's a nice place. The village is typical. It's a home stay  in a family.
    Try it is enjoy it, I am sure
    Laurence
    France

    #4 Posted: 23/10/2010 - 03:50

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    The link in Laurence's post has either changed or was not correct. Try this one instead: http://www.xepian.org/maps/index.htm

    #5 Posted: 7/12/2010 - 10:25

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location China
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    So - I think we've decided on a loop.

    Pakse - Tad Lo (1) - Sekong (2) - Attapeau (2) - Paksong (1) - Pakse

    With the option to cut out Attapeau if we decide to spend more time relaxing in Tad Lo & Sekong. My traveling companion only has 14 days for BKK - Bolaven - BKK, so this may cut it a little close.

    Having read the online guides just a couple of questions for anyone with advice:

    Has anyone looped on the road between Sekong - Attapeau that heads west to Paksong? It is the most 'minor' road on the maps I have, but wondering if the condition is usually fair.

    Any word on the regular bus from Pakse to BKK. How far ahead can you book it? Still available every day?

    Any day trips from any of these spots that come highly recommended?

    #6 Posted: 12/12/2010 - 10:11

  • Laurence

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd October, 2010
    Posts: 2

    hey casey prich 

    from Paskse, I can to  recommande  to go in Ubon Ratchathani by bus, and to fly to BKK. You can buy your fly ticket on internet . Goes to the adress of www.airasia.com
    It' s cheap and quite ! You'll pay may be 15 DOLLARS to go back in BKK, it's not good , it's not ecofriendly for you carbon mark but it's easy !
    (sorry for my english, i'm french)
    See you
    laurence

    #7 Posted: 15/12/2010 - 04:29

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location China
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    At least 48

    Thanks Laurence. I'm sure my friend will appreciate the advice as he will be looking for a quick way back to BKK.

    #8 Posted: 15/12/2010 - 09:20

  • tinoh

    Joined Travelfish
    13th February, 2010
    Posts: 40

    Has anyone looped on the road between Sekong - Attapeau that heads west to Paksong? It is the most 'minor' road on the maps I have, but wondering if the condition is usually fair.

    We have done this road but than going from Paksong. It is a dirt road but when it is dry the conditions are fair. Like I said before if you're doing this part counterclockwise than you are going uphill for a big part so start early in the morning when going from Sekong/Attapeau to Paksong. Imo this dirt road was the best part of the loop.

    #9 Posted: 15/12/2010 - 16:17

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location China
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    thanks - i've heard its the best part but as an inexperienced bike rider i wasn't sure if we should try it. oh well, you only live once, even if it is short.

    #10 Posted: 20/12/2010 - 20:39

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  • kipcole9

    Joined Travelfish
    5th March, 2009
    Posts: 4

    Am planning to ride (bicycle) the big loop in January and looking for advice as to which direction to head. Seems like:

    Pakse => Paksong => Attapeu => Sekong => Tad Lo => Pakse

    has the best elevation profile for a cyclist but not sure how this gels with Tinoh's suggestion. Any advise on which direction to take? I'm definitely planning to take the 'dirt road' between Paksong and Attapeu.

    Cheers, --Kip

    #11 Posted: 30/12/2010 - 10:16

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