Pakse is the fourth largest town in Laos, but its major drag is being an ideal starting point to do the Loop around the Bolaven Plateau. There travellers can rent a motorbike and get more informations about the Loop with its impressive waterfalls and freshly roasted coffee. Furthermore, the Khmer Temple of Wat Phou can also be visited in an easy day trip starting in Pakse.
How to get there:
From Tha Khaek local buses leave every hour towards Pakse. The ride takes roughly 9 hours and costs 60.000 Kip. “VIP” buses from/to Vientiane arrive/leave near the Champassak shopping center in the city centre. The trip takes approximately 10+ hours and should cost in between 150.000 /170.000 Kip. “VIP” buses from/to Thailand via the Chong Mek border crossing take about 2 hours and charge US$5 (200 baht) to Ubon. There are also minibuses to the border only.
Tuk-Tuk Transport to and from the bus station cost in between 1 and 2 $ per Person.
There’s not much to do in Pakse, since the center where the hotels and restaurants are located is tiny and dirty. But Pakse is a good starting point for a motorbike journey to the Bolaven Plateau or a place to stay a night before you head on further south to the 4000 Islands (Si Phan Don).
It’s also possible to make a day trip to Wat Phu near Champassak. Instead of doing a day trip you can take a public transport to Champassak and stay there a night before you continue your way down south towards the 4000 Islands.
Rent a Motorbike:
There are two motorbike rental places in town, Miss Noy and WangWang. Additionally the Sabaidy 2 Guest House also rents motorbikes.
WangWang Motorbike Shop (Tel: 030 9359322 or 020 95034693)
We rented our motorbike from the WangWang Shop in the Thanon Road Nr. 24 (close to the Sabaidy 2 Guesthouse in direction to the main street – Nr. 13 South Rd.) and can only recommend them. The Bike was in good condition and cheaper than the ones from Miss Noy. Miss Noy is the established motorbike rental shop, but they don’t allow two persons on their bikes, at least not at the automatic ones.
Manual Bikes cost 45.000 Kip a day, automatic Bikes 90.000 Kip.
But as always, make sure your brakes and tires are in good condition! It’s also worth thinking about spending the extra money for an automatic bike, if you are not used to drive on manual motorbikes. Automatic bikes have the advantage of wider tires which makes them safer to drive on sandy terrain. Don’t forget, you’ll spend many hours riding the bike during the next days. Furthermore, changing gears on the manual bikes can be hard and is known to be a cause of accidents.
Many Falangs have had accidents on that track – drive passive and drive like you are always expecting others to not have seen you. Make Sure to get a helmet with Visor, because otherwise the dust and insects will blind you…
Sabaidy 2 Guest House
Sabaidy 2 Guesthouse is very popular among backpackers and mostly frequented by French or German tourists. It’s location in a the side street Thanon Road 24, which goes off the main street (No. 13 South Rd) at the crossing near the Green Discovery office, is central but quiet. It’s the only guesthouse in town with dorms (30.000 Kip). Rooms with shared bathrooms are also available (45.000 – 60.000 Kip), the ones with private bathrooms (low water pressure) but without air-condition costs 130.000 Kip a night. The rooms are fine but way too hot and completely overpriced because the place got famous through several guide books. The male staff is quite rude and not very helpful.
Vilaysak Guest House
Vilaysak Guest House is our personal recommendation: Big clean rooms with private bathroom (hot water, good water pressure) cost 80.000 Kip (100.000 Kip with AC). It is located right next to the Sabaidy 2 Guest House.
No. 24 Road, B. Phabard, Tel. 030 9928582, Mobile: 020 99792118 EMail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Food and Drinks:
Jasmin Indian Restaurant
Jasmin Restaurant is located on the main street of Pakse in the city center. The place is simple but serves really outstanding Indian food for the cheapest prices we found so far in Laos. Vegetarian Mains cost 10.000 Kip and frehs Naan bread only 5.000 Kip. We ate there several times because the food was just amazingly tasty.
Interested in getting more information about the Loop ?
Why don’t you check out our blog entries: