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Best motorcycle trip- Tha Khaek or Pakse

  • djkeith

    Joined Travelfish
    28th November, 2011
    Posts: 13

    Hey,

    I've heard you can rent a motorbike and ride from either place in around three or four days doing a big loop.

    Has anyone done either loop, and if so which would you say was the better.

    Thanks

    #1 Posted: 19/4/2012 - 04:56

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  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd March, 2010
    Location China
    Posts: 1265
    Total reviews: 53
    Places visited:
    At least 48

    Did the Bolaven Plateau Big Loop and then down to Champasak and had a fantastic time, top on my recommended things to do in SE Asia list.

    http://www.travelfish.org/feature/10
    http://www.travelfish.org/feature/83

    83 has a nice accompanying map

    #2 Posted: 19/4/2012 - 05:09

  • Mike89

    Joined Travelfish
    18th September, 2011
    Posts: 6

    Hey,

    I did both the Bolaven Plateu (not all of it - Pakse to Pakson, then Pakson to Tad Lo I believe) and the Thakek "The Loop".

    I loved both, but I'd recommend the loop. Go to the Thakek travel lodge, meet up with a group then do it. You can get bikes in town from cheaper if you go to the 'square' near the Mekong (there's a place with a big red LAUNDRY sing that rents them for almost half the price).

    If you've already got a group together, the Bolaven plateu is a great trip too but harder to find a group.

    Enjoy!

    #3 Posted: 27/4/2012 - 05:45

  • JvC

    Joined Travelfish
    29th April, 2012
    Posts: 2

    I didn't do the trip through Pakse, but I did do the loop. And from what I heard from people who did both, the Tha Khaek loop is better.
    I personally loved it and the scenery was amazing. There is about 60km of road that's absolutely brutal to travel over with those scooters, but just keep your focus and you'll get through it... it takes about 4 hours or so I'd say.
    I went with someone I met from Vang Vieng and we had an awesome day. It took us 4 days to get through it, although if you get rained out you may have to wait around another day.
    Another tip a friend gave us, was to go anti-clockwise, but that you can decide when you know if you're going to do it or not.

    Happy riding either way!

    #4 Posted: 29/4/2012 - 07:29

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd March, 2010
    Location China
    Posts: 1265
    Total reviews: 53
    Places visited:
    At least 48

    What did they say was better about it? The ride or scenery or things to do along the way?

    I'd had a blast on the B. trail, and included a trip down to Champasak which added a nice touch.

    #5 Posted: 29/4/2012 - 09:04

  • JvC

    Joined Travelfish
    29th April, 2012
    Posts: 2

    I think a little bit of everything, the ride, the sites and the people along the way. There's also an amazing cave you can get to Kong Lor. Absolutely massive and beautiful. But, I can't entirely remember the differences between the two.

    #6 Posted: 29/4/2012 - 10:52

  • dene_aus

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd May, 2010
    Posts: 16

    Tha Khaek (konglor cave) loop is brilliant, definatley one of the highlights on my trip in 2010! Just be careful on the main road (the last part if you go anti clockwise) as it was a bit hairy at times!

    I definatley recommend doing it! enjoy!

    #7 Posted: 30/4/2012 - 00:24

  • Mike89

    Joined Travelfish
    18th September, 2011
    Posts: 6

    Agree with JvC on all counts. I didn't meet many people on the Bolaven plateu (which I did solo)... only one couple in Pakson, but there were quite a few at Tad Lo waterfall. Had 4 other people in my group (who I first met in Thakek) on The Loop and met plenty along the way.

    The bolaven plateu is still a great ride though, and all of the waterfalls are amazing. The cave at Kong Lo was definitely a bigger highlight for me though, so if you can only do one my money is on the loop. If you're really uncomfortable riding, the bolaven plateu offers better roads (so long as you avoid the 'bad' road - all maps mark it ;-)), but the 60 km stretch of rough road on The Loop is worth it (has amazing scenery so you won't be going fast anyway!)

    #8 Posted: 2/5/2012 - 07:06

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd March, 2010
    Location China
    Posts: 1265
    Total reviews: 53
    Places visited:
    At least 48

    The 'bad' road has been under heavy construction since I was there in February 2011 as well - though that has the best waterfall by far. We actually got 'waterfall fatigue' while we were on the Bolaven, but the differences in elevation and town-type broke the trip up nicely. Tiny Tad Lo, the middle of nowhere grid layout of Sekong, Attepeau's border town feel, and the wild west (cool nights) of Paksong made for a very diverse experience.

    Really, it was extremely easy to get a bike and a map and get on the way - but since I've done that, I'm very interested in 'the Loop' now, and may have just figured yet another reason to skip Angkor Wat again and go back to Laos.

    #9 Posted: 2/5/2012 - 07:56

  • cbg0927

    Joined Travelfish
    30th July, 2013
    Location United States
    Posts: 62
    Total reviews: 5
    Places visited:
    At least 2

    I did the Bolaven Plateau Loop in March during the dry season. Slash/burn had also already begun, so it was quite hazy. But echoing what some have said above, the waterfalls that we saw on the loop were absolutely breathtaking and made up for the lack of scenery on the road due to the haziness.

    A few pics here:

    http://camgeisler.tumblr.com/image/81166726035
    http://camgeisler.tumblr.com/image/80642464739

    #10 Posted: 7/5/2014 - 21:44

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  • JaiYen88

    Joined Travelfish
    25th April, 2012
    Posts: 110
    Total reviews: 2

    The scenery all along the Tha Khek loop is absolutely breathtaking, from the karsts to the dirt roads through the hairpins and up and down the mountains. For an inexperienced rider the roads on the first day and second half of the second day might be a bit tough, definitely avoid in rainy season. But some of the people I went with were on bikes for the first time in their lives and they managed fine so it can be done! Then you arrive at Kong Lor and that is a sight to behold. Also try to find the 'secret' caves located around the area, and there is one in particular with crystal clear water where you can swim into the cave!

    The roads around Bolaven I didn't find to be as scenic, although I didn't do a whole loop, just did a day-trip out to Paksong, stopping for coffee and waterfalls along the way.

    Do both if you have a couple of weeks to spare; if you only have time for one, do the Tha Khek Loop and you can still do a day-trip on bikes out of Pakse.

    I realise that this thread was started 2 years ago, but thought I'd offer my 2 cents anyway.

    #11 Posted: 10/5/2014 - 14:55

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    How good is the coffee?

    #12 Posted: 10/5/2014 - 19:45

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