We are planning to travel in Southern Laos mid-October with our 3 children (ages range from 8 months to 4 years). Our plan is to spend 3 days in the Boloven area at the TadFane Lodge, then take the cruise on the WatPhou boat and finish on a high end note at LaFolie Lodge on DongDaen. My concern is about Malaria. I hear mixed reports about it. We live in Bkk and have travelled a bit around with the children without taking any anti-malaria drugs. Does anyone can help me on this matter? Is there a real danger or frequent DEET product sprays should be enough?
Any advices on hotel in the area we are going is also greatly appreciated. No firm reservations anywhere yet.
#1 StephanieM has been a member since 3/7/2009. Posts: 6
I'd be more concerned about Dengue (and am - I have a three year old myself) than malaria. But honestly I am not sure if the Bolovens are in a malarial zone or not. Perhaps Somsai can help you on that one.
#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I'm the last person to give med advice, always some doctor to tell me I'm nuts. When I went down there with a then 4 and 1 year old we took nothing wore no repelent. All the malaria maps and web sites seem to have old info. The rate now is very low, and yes we went up on the plateau.
Centre of Malariology Parasitology and Entomoly, Vientiane, Lao PDR:
Was in that area last year and saw very few mosquitoes. Of course, it only takes one, but they weren't a problem at all. Had DEET but never used it. Burned coils on the veranda but probably didn't have to. You'll be there at a different time of the year (wet), though, so you may have a different experience than I did.
Stayed at Souchitra GH in Champasak . Had a bungalow right on the river and it was great. The nameless restaurant to the right of the resort (when facing the river) was excellent and inexpensive. Champasak is a really nice place to stay at if you're going to Wat Phu, but this may not be necessary if you're going to be staying on Don Daeng. It's very close.
Didn't go to LaFolie Lodge, but it was visible at night from pretty much everywhere (probably even space!) along the river. The place was lit-up like a Christmas tree.
It's a great area. There is little to no boat traffic, the fish aren't farmed but wild and straight out of the river, and it is QUIET. Amazingly quiet, in fact.
If you are going to stay in Pakse, Salachampa (despite a couple of bad reviews on this site) was quite good.
"It's a great area. There is little to no boat traffic, the fish aren't farmed but wild and straight out of the river, and it is QUIET. Amazingly quiet, in fact."
So what's the upside?
#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
'"So what's the upside?"
No salsa music ;?)"
That was a given - there's no salsa in Laos at all. Big problem. There's salsa in Khazakstan, but not in Laos. How can that be?
Anyway, so what did you DO when you were Champasak? What made it a "great little area"? Seriously.
#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
"That was a given ..."
Not always. You found it in Khazakstan, didn't you?
Good first impression - beautiful location between the mountains and the Mekong. An interesting ferry crossing into the town from the east side of the river. The place is clean and devoid of traffic. People were exceptionally friendly (the few of them that there were.) The riverbank was not littered with plastic bottles and no speedboats or even longtail boats were plying the river. The place we stayed in was clean and comfortable, and it wasn't the only good one around. Some really nice colonial architecture. No major traffic artery going in or out (except the river) ... the place is practically an island. Evenings were silent but for the infrequent karaoke night. Had all the facilities I needed for the time I was there ... internet, post office, bank, shops, restaurants.
I was cycling, so did a lot of that - into the villages further away from the river at the base of the mountains. Cycled along the river between the town and Wat Phu a few times. The road was in really good shape and there were a couple of nice villages along the way. Several nice little temples were scattered along one of the town's two roads and were always open to check out. Played a little boules (or whatever that game is called) with some of the local gents by the school and wrapped-up with some of their vile rice whiskey. Did a lot of hammock swinging and reading ... had just done about 800km on my bike.
Something tells me you aren't going to be rushing down there anytime soon, Mac.
You could be right. Sounds incredibly boring.
#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Thaks everyone for the tips. Will definetely go there.
Question: I read bad reviews about the Tad Fane Lodge (beautiful outside, very dirty inside).
So now I am hesitationg between TadLo Lodge (is it by the way a different hotel from TadLo Resort? can't figure that) and the above mentionned Tad Fane Lodge?
Any inputs? (plus e-mail adress for TadLo Lodge)
#13 StephanieM has been a member since 3/7/2009. Posts: 6
I never heard bad things about TF resort being dirty, never stayed there but stopped by many times. It always seems a little over the top trying to be fancy, maybe in Thailand but seldom visited overpriced bungalos? I think they get a lot of day traffic up from Pakse and over from Tland to see the falls. Maybe the Thai owner is often absent?
The trekking companies stay just up the street at a fraction of the price, no email, no internet, no prebooking, etc, and probably lower rent than you are looking for. I blogged about it here.
Tad Fan Sihom Sabai Guest House: