The nature makes tourism possible so I want everyone travel in a natural friendly way both at home and abroad like what Tree Top Explorer Laos takes care of Bolaven plateau. They make this place free of trash thrown by human, making this plateau a pleasant and beautiful destination of zipline for as long as possible. The nature makes tourism possible so I want everyone travel in a natural friendly way both at home and abroad like what Tree Top Explorer Laos takes care of Bolaven plateau. They make this place free of trash thrown by human, making this plateau a pleasant and beautiful destination of zipline for as long as possible.
I have planned for my winter trip several months ahead. My first intention was to visit the Si Phan Don in southern Laos to see the great riverine archipelago with my own eyes. But once we started to search for more information, I found a video clip of zipline which made me hestitate of my choice now. Then, our friends all voted for this place, therefore, we changed our trip to Bolaven plateau instead.
Bolaven plateau is in southern Laos. It is approximately 1,000-1,350 m above sea level. It is located in the area of Dong Hua Sao National Park, Champasak Province, southern Laos. There're a lot of waterfalls in this plateau which make zipline activity such a charm. In addition to the beautiful nature, we must overcome our own fear, excitement, and fatigue within this 3 days and 2 nights trip.
Please follow my page of "quotes about travel" below:
(Travel is "endless learning".)
Day 1 Don Mueang Airport going to Pakse Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR)
- Taking Thai Lion Air flight from Don Mueang Airport to Ubon Ratchathani Airport (approximately 1 hrs)
- From Ubon Ratchathani Airport to Chong Mek by taxi meter is 800 THB (about 1.20 hrs).
- From Chong Mek Immigration to Pakse by van is 100 THB each (about 40 min).
We fly with Thai Lion Air from Don Mueang International Airport to Ubon Ratchathani Airport which takes about an hour. After that, we wait in queue to take a taxi meter to Ubon Ratchathani Bus Terminal. From there, we wanted to take a van but our chauffeur is so persuasive, we 4 finally agree to let him take us further to Chong Mek Border in a price of 800 THB (about 80 km and takes about 1.20 hrs). He also put on a meter to show us that the actual price is 872 THB. We take our passport and go through Thai immigration easily. Once we reach Lao immigration, I have read well enough to prepare 100 THB for the fee. Upon we walk from Thai border to Lao border, lots of people will approach you. Some sell sim-card, some ask you to exchange LAK and some offer you to hire a van with a discounted price from 1,000 THB to 500 THB. Well, nothing works for me, I'm very determined in taking van.
After going through the immigration, we head towards Wang Tao Market, which is approximately 500 m away.
It is quite a dusty walk.
Here is Wang Tao Market, behind is the van station.
After going through Lao Immigration, we ask people around of where to find the van station. People warn us that it's quite far walking there when seeing us with our backpack, but that doesn't bother us. In fact, it's not that far for the adventurer like us. If this distance scares us, we won't make it tomorrow at Bolaven. Once we see the van, he said he will go once he gets 10 people. Now it's noon and we just wait and relax at the resting area. When 1 pm comes, we get 10 people (yay!). From Wang Tao Market, it takes about 40 min to Pakse. The van stops us at Dao Rueng Market. We try to ask him to take us to our hotel but he told us to use local bus service. The service here goes by headcount, which is 40 THB each (if we 4 people, it is 160 THB and 6 people would be 240 THB even we are in the same van). I refuse to use this type of service and say that I would walk there instead. Then, one uncle approaches and offers me 100 THB. So, I agree and we all jump on his car.
Here we are, Pakse.
Actually, it's quite far walking from the market to our hotel.
We are staying at Alisa Guesthouse. Our room is on the third floor. And when we open the door, our first reaction is wow. The room is very big, with 4 beds, AC, TV, a fridge, a closet, towel, 4 bottles of water, and warm water machine. It's really great value for money. We take rest for a while and start to explore Pakse in the late afternoon. There's this beautiful temple nearby our place, “Wat Luang”.
This is indeed another beautiful temple in Pakse, near Xedon River.
After that, we simply walk along the river until we find a great place. It is the restaurant near Mekong River. I'm quite thirsty of this kind of beverage. Then, we agree to enjoy our first Lao Beer here at "Ruen Phae Ban Lao Restaurant". The feeling of simply sipping beer while watching the sunset is just so amazing!
After the sunset, we walk back to our hotel. At first, we weren't planning on eating anything. But when we find this Naemnueng Restaurant, we change our minds, haha. We order a set of Vietnamese pork sausage (Naemnueng) and a dish of fresh spring rolls. Wow, it's so delicious. It is such a yummy Naemnueng. The price is also friendly which is about 50,000 LAK (200 THB). Tonight, we definitely are going to have a good sleep!!!!
Day 2 Going to Ban Nong Luang, Paksong from Pakse and spend the night at a camp in the Bolaven plateau
After a full sleep night, we wake up early to check out and leave some of our stuff here (we will return to this guesthouse again after coming out from Bolaven). Each person only carries the necessities for 2 nights stay in the forest (repeat, only important items, haha). We have our breakfast at the Pho noodle shop near our guesthouse. Then, we walk to Tree Top office which is not so far from “Alisa Guesthouse".
**For the zipline activity, I booked with Green Discovery Company with P'Boon ever since I'm still in Thailand" .**
Here is the link: https://www.greendiscoverylaos.com/eco-excursions/champassak/champassak-zip-line-canopy-walk/item/360-tree-top-explorer-3-days or add his Line id: boun.treetop
Once we are at the meeting area, I find 6 more people joining our team of whom 4 are foreigners and the other two Thai (later on, I include the 2 Thai in our group). Our group is divided into 2 groups with staff assigned to each team because Thai people will stay 2 nights while the foreigner will only spend a night in the forest.
We leave at 9 a.m. with a minivan towards Ban Nong Luang. The road is paved but not in a so good condition, certain area is still under construction. The road entering Ban Nong Luang is also still a dirt road. It is not recommended for a sedan to come. We reach Ban Nong Luang around 10.30 a.m. The weather here is much colder than Pakse. We prepare ourselves about half an hour as we need to put on zipline equipment. Now, in addition to our backpack, we need to carry this equipment and 2 bottles of water. We also need to walk another 2 hrs with approximately 5 km road (the bottled water is very precious because we will not be given more. Also, we need to use this bottle to refill more water while living in a forest. I quite agree with this rule so that no more trash will be added to the nature). Oh, and also if you think you can't carry your own backpack, you could use the carrying service, which is 300 THB each time (going in 300 THB and coming back another 300 THB).
We were ready long time ago already!!!
When our body and mind is set, we start to walk at 11 am. (all of us 10 people carry our own bag). At the beginning of the road is quite flat, we walk through coffee plantation and pomelo farm. We than just enjoy the surrounding. Then, we find a stream with a sling to cross. But since the water is low, we could walk through a stream at a certain area. The deeper to a forest, the more difficult the road gets. We must be careful not to be slippery. What!! do we find any slug? The answer is none.
We reach the spacious stone yard at the lunch time so Pet (I forgot to introduce our staff, they are Pet, Yai, and Lek) told us to have our lunch here. Then we put all our bag and equipment down and feel much lighter. I really like how our staff prepare food. They go in a forest for a while and come back with banana leaves. One put them on a ground, the other put food onto it while the other one takes out sticky rice. It's the cutest way of preparing food I've ever seen. (I saw another foreign girl also keeps looking at how they prepare food. She looks very clam and I can't tell what she's thinking, haha). I eat quite a lot this meal. We have sticky rice, Chaew dipping source, boiled eggs, fried pork, and fried vegetables, all of which are so delicious. After the meal, one after the other are disappearing into a forest, I wouldn't have to tell you what's it for, right? hehe.
And now we are still full of energy, hey hey!!
It is so amazing, isn't it?
Everyone is having such a good time with this meal!!!
Only 10 min after the stone yard, our heart gets to pound. It is my first sling in life with a view of big waterfall, OMG!!! I'm so exited. Pet teaches us on how to use our equipment and gives us safety instruction on zipline activity as below:
- A hook is for holding us with a sling and a pulley is for moving us along a sling. We would have 2 hooks and a pulley with us.
- Hooks must be attached to sling in every station and at all time while we are on the station.
- To move yourself to different station, we must first release the first hook, attach it to a ling before releasing the second one.
- If we are doing it right according to this safety instruction, there won't be a time when we are on the station without hooking with a sling. This also means that if we fell from the base, there's still another hook holding us from falling to the ground (Pet told me that a hook can hold up to 1 ton).
- The most important of safety instruction is to follow it because the staff cannot take care of us at all time. They also have other things to take care of like helping the ones who are in trouble. Again, if we break the rule, we will be the one who is most likely to cause an accident easily.
For the safety, please attach our hook here.
Today I'm turning into a monkey where I have zipline to 10 slings. I recommend you to take video clips today if you want one. Because the zipline today takes us through Tat Sua and Tat Kamung waterfall. We are ziplining down to our camp below the waterfall which is such a beautiful scene. The route is different everyday and we won't return the same way. It could be a great regret if we miss to take beautiful video clips today.
We reach the camp at 4 p.m. all exhausted. Pet asked us to take a shower and eat before taking us to the room. I sip a coffee while enjoy the Tat Kameng Waterfall view first until my energy is back again. After that, I choose to take a shower with my friends at the waterfall. Actually, there're also 2 shower rooms. But I have to say the water is also cold because it comes from the same waterfall here, hehe.
What a nice feeling!
And tonight we are going to sleep here.
Our dinner starts at 6 p.m. It is a simple food but it tastes so good that I want to see the chef. The rice is unlimited as well as the water as it comes from the waterfall (I love the taste of the water here, it is plain but tastes so good, more delicious than all bottled water in Thailand. It's just so refreshing). After the food, we are going to our room at the tree house. It has 2 floors with 2 restroom downstairs. Both toilets are the western kind. The upstairs is bed room with bed and mosquito net already well set. The weather and the room is nice. It is about 20 degree Celsius. After unpacking, applying medicine, massaging our leg, we go inside the net and sleep while listening to the waterfall. Wow, I just can't wait for tomorrow adventure!
Day 3 After breakfast, Pet asked us to start our zipline activity at 10 a.m When it's time, all the monkeys are ready with the equipment and full bottled water (Like I mentioned earlier, we must refill water into the bottle given as no more bottle will be given until we are back). Now we only have 6 Thai people left because the other 4 foreigners are going to different direction in order to go back.
Today we will zipline to enjoy the waterfall at Tat Hin Daeng. Pet leads the way, followed by us, while Yai and Lek are behind us. My legs are really sore. Lucky that today we didn't have to climb much (tomorrow will be harder). However, when walking uphill, we are quite tiring and need to rest from time to time. Today, our zipline route is going to lush green trees with short and long sling, and the longest one is 450 m. We have so much fun with zipline today as we are now getting used to with it. Anyhow, when we are at bridge station, it gets us quite excited that our female friends scream out loud ^_^ Many times, we are hang in the middle of a sling waiting for staff to pull us back. This is because we use the wand wrong and can't brake properly. I'm not sure how other people brake, here, we use the wand that was given to us on the first day to brake. We must keep it well because without it, we can't brake. Staff taking care of the zipline activity strictly follow the safety rule.
- Wearing the helmet at all time while ziplining
- Waiting a signal from the other side before allowing us to ziplining through
- Attaching our book to the base upon every time we arrive at the base station
They try their best to make us safe 50% with the other half base on our behavior to strictly follow the safety rule in order to make it 100% safe.
Ok!! Let's go on!!!
What a fun time!!!
Lunch time, loving it!
We are ziplining until we reach Tat Hin Daeng which is our destination for enjoying this cold and clear water. After playing here quite a while, it's time for lunch. Same ritual as yesterday except today we also have jasmine rice in a plate and a spoon. Again, the food is so delicious that I really want to meet the chef. After that, we take rest a bit before going out for ziplining again. We finally back to our camp at 4 p.m. in a worn out condition. I simply lay down in the middle of the camp. I see two more foreigners who just reach today looking equally exhausted.
After resting for a while, I take a shower at the waterfall like yesterday. Then, I enjoy the view of Tat Kamung waterfall view again before dinner. Today is colder than yesterday due to the rain. I plan to sit and enjoy the atmosphere until it gets really dark before going to bed because tonight is our last night here.
Day 4 This morning, I fly my drone up to capture this beautiful waterfall as a farewell to this camp. After breakfast, we have sometime to rest before leaving at 10 a.m. We put on our zipline equipment and backpack. Then, we start to walk again. After a while, we now face our last challenge of this trip, which is climbing the cliff. Once we hear about what we have to do from Phet, we look up to this high cliff. There, we stunned for a while to call back our courage. This morning, we have our young lady chef coming with us. They simply climb up the cliff with their slippers (well, if they can do it with slippers, I could do also). Then, I let our female friends go up first and we gentlemen will be the last (what a gentleman right? haha, well, actually I'm quite scared). When I start to climb, the legs of a girl in front of me is shaking, like she's dancing with rap music. So I shout out to cheer her up. Now I totally understand why climbing is such a great exercise. I have to say it's very tiring as we need to use muscles both from our hands and legs to pull ourselves up (the safety system is quite good with hooks to prevent us from falling down). My hands are also shaking, it's so high and my adrenaline is running all over my body but I must do it!
After this climbing section, we need to rest for sometimes before walking towards the highest point of Tat Kamung waterfall (I now understand why we are so tired because I felt it was really high when looking from below earlier and now we are up here, it's so great!) Pet told us that we will have our lunch here. I take out my drone to capture some beautiful photos until the battery dries out. The ritual of giving us food is the same except we have fried rice today. The taste of the food is less due to the beauty of the nature in front of us. I just want to stop the time here the longest possible.
Let's get our thrilling activity started!!!
Now is the food time with this 5 trillion digit THB view.
After that, the route is not so difficult, with some up and down, and flat road. I then take this chance to ask Phet about how they manage trash at the camp as I see no trash during my entire walk in the forest. Phet said they would dig wet trash into the ground and bring plastic bottles down to throw at the village. I'm so admired their waste management system as well as utilizing the abundant nature to promote more tourism while not forgetting to take care of the environment for future sustainable tourism. I also wish Thailand could take care more of the nature and our environment because I see trash everywhere in the places I traveled to in Thailand despite not being this remote.
Tat Fan Waterfall is another popular destination for zipline activity.
On the way back to Pakse, we also stop at "Fad Fan Waterfall", here is another stop where you can zipline and enjoy coffee but we didn't stop as we had enough already so hotel seems to be a better idea. Once we reach Tree Top company, I meet Boon again so then we have a small chat. Then, we go to eat Naemnueng again which the other 2 new comers of Thai friends also love it too. Then, we go back to rest at our hotel. We are going back home tomorrow.
Day 5 We check out at 8 a.m. because we book the van back to Chong Mek at 9 a.m. We decided to have our breakfast at Pho noodle shop. Then, we cross the street to buy some Beer Lao from the supermarket on the opposite side. Once we are at Chong Mek immigration point, the staff ask for the service fee of 100 THB again and then we are back on Thailand soil.
Transportation from Pakse to Ubon Ratchathani Airport
- From Pakse to Chong Mek, we hired a van for 150,000 LAK, and 20,000 LAK for crossing the checkpoint (40 min).
- We take a van from Chong Mek Bus Terminal to Ubon Ratchathani Bus Terminal, the fare is 100 THB each (1.20 hrs).
- We take Song Taew taxi from Ubon Ratchathani Bus Terminal to Thung Simuang, it is 10 THB each (30 min).
- Then, we take a taxi meter from Thung Simuang to Ubon Ratchathani Airport which is 50 THB (15 min).
Once we reach Ubon Ratchathani Bus Terminal, a staff at TAC (Tourist Assistance Center) is very friendly, polite, and helpful. She is there to answer our questions and give us directions we wanted. The tourist like me would be so much happy if we have more of this kind of service. Then, we stop for Naemnueng again at Mintra Restaurant, and here is our Vietnamese lunch before we are back to Bangkok.
Thank you so much, my co-trip friends ^_^
The nature makes tourism possible so I want everyone to travel in a natural friendly way both at home and abroad like how Tree Top Explorer Laos take care of Bolaven plateau. They make this place free of trash thrown by human, contributing in making this plateau a pleasant and beautiful destination of zipline for as long as possible.
“I rather only have a few properties and get to see the world than owning the whole world but never saw anything."
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- Round trip flight ticket from Bangkok to Ubon Ratchathani with Thai Lion Air is 1,340 THB/person.
- Bolaven package for 3 days and 2 nights is 299 USD/person (now the price has been up, please ask Boon again for the price.)
- Travel insurance with Cigna is 332 THB/person.
- Alisa Guesthouse in Pakse is 2,020 THB for two nights.
- Taxi from Ubon Ratchathani Airport to Chong Mek border is 800 THB.
- Fee at Lao immigration for entrance and exit is 200 THB.
- A van from Wang Tao market, Chong Mek to Pakse is 100 THB/person.
- A van from Dao Rueng Market to hotel is 100 THB.
- A van from Pakse to Chong Mek border is 600 THB and I also pay a crossing fee for him 20,000 LAK (I volunteer to pay for him). You can also take a bus back:
- There's buses from Pakse to Ubon Ratchathani 2 times a day: 7:45-11:30 and 15:00-17:00, the price is 80,000 LAK.
- The bus from Pakse to Bangkok, 15:00–05:30, is 270,000 LAK.
- A van from Chong Mek to Ubon Ratchathani Bus Terminal is 100 THB/person.
- A Sogtaew taxi from Ubon Ratchathani Bus Terminal to Thung Simuang is 10 THB/person.
- Taxi meter from Thung Simuang to Ubon Ratchathani Airport is 50 THB.
- Food and beverages for me in Laos is about 140,000 LAK.
Wednesday, January 3, 2018 11:48 AM