I flew into Pakse from Vientiane. My new guide was waiting for me. We drove around the Bolaven Plateau, visiting a couple of villages and a couple of waterfalls. We stayed for two nights at the Kingfisher Lodge in Ban Kiet Ngong.

After that we drove further south to Don Khone for a visit of the Mekong Falls.

The next day we drove back to Pakse and then down the Mekong River on the other side to Vat Phou, a Khmer Temple that was started before Angkor Wat.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

Bolaven Plateau

The Bolaven Plateau was one of the most heavily bombed areas of Laos during the Việt Nam War. There is still a large problem with Unexploded Ordnance (UXO).

The main economic forces in the plateau are agriculture (coffee, tea, and rubber production). Tourism is also becoming an important economic factor in this area.

Every family cultivates some coffee trees and sells the coffee beans to the major coffee producers. The coffee trees live for about 20 years. They produce beans after about 3 years of planting. The coffee harvest is from November through June. Coffee is Laos' fifth largest export product.

There are three varieties of coffee trees grown in Laos, robusta, arabica, and liberica.

Robusta is grown at altitudes above 500 m (1,640 ft). It is harvested from February through April. The robusta trees are taller trees.

Arabica is grown at altitudes above 800 m (2,620 ft). The trees are shorter than the robusta trees. They are harvested from November through January.

Liberica is a much rarer variety. It is harvested from March through July.

Tad Fane Waterfall
Tad Fane waterfall. (1066k)
Tad Lo Waterfall
Tad Lo Waterfall. (958k)
Coffee Tree
Coffee tree. (783k)
Drying Coffee Beans
Drying coffee beans. (1297k)
Cassava Stalks Ready Planting
Cassava stalks, ready for planting. This type of cassava is used for animal feed. (1196k)
Manihot esculenta
Cassava field (Manihot esculenta, german: Maniok, french: Manioc). (1319k)

Ban Kiet Ngong

Ban Kiet Ngong is a small village southeast of Pakse. It is next to a large swamp area. The Kingfisher Lodge in Ban Kiet Ngong is a nice lodge. I stayed there for a couple of nights. I went on a full day elephant excursion. It was interesting, but I didn't see any wildlife. I guess that there is really nothing left.

The local people use the trees for construction. They go into the forest with their tractors and cut fallen trees into boards. They stay out there for 2-6 weeks, camping in the forest. My guide told me that they use only trees that fell down naturally. The ones that I saw were indeed not cut down, but broken, but I am not sure whether that is always true.

Lodge Building Which Stayed
The lodge building in which I stayed. The tower on the left holds the water tank that is heated by solar power. (1088k)
Porch Lodge Building Hammock
Porch of my lodge building with hammock. (1051k)
Carp Little Pool Lodge
Carp in the little pool in the lodge. (717k)
Temple Ban Kiet Ngong
Temple in Ban Kiet Ngong. (874k)
Elephants Grazing Swamp Elephants
One of the elephants grazing in the swamp. The elephants are let free in the afternoon. They are free to roam the swamp and return the next morning. (918k)
Our Mahout Preparing Saddle
Our mahout preparing the saddle on the elephant. (1294k)
Our Mahout Leading Elephant
Our mahout leading the elephant. (1272k)
Sometime Mahout Had Walk
Sometime the mahout had to walk through the brook. (1130k)
Sometimes We Had Fairly
Sometimes we had to go through fairly thick brush. (1426k)
Close-up Elephant Had Walk
Close-up of my elephant. I had to walk up the tree trunk to be able to get back on the elephant. (1020k)
Forest Logging Road
Forest with logging road. (1409k)
Logging Camp
Logging camp. (1261k)
Locals Working Forest Tractors
Locals working in the forest with their tractors. (1203k)
Remnants Tree Cut Into
Remnants of a tree that was cut up into boards for building construction. (1436k)
Fallow Rice Fields Harvest
Fallow rice fields. They harvest rice only once per year. The huts are used by the field workers during planting and harvesting of the rice. (968k)

4000 Islands

Large Buddha Statue Dhyana
Large Buddha statue with the Dhyana Mudra on a mountain across from Don Khone. (738k)
Local Temple Don Som
Local temple on Don Som. (1072k)
Local Temple Don Som
Local temple on Don Som. (1065k)
Cemetery Local Temple Don
Cemetery at a local temple on Don Som. (1015k)
Plumeria alba
The national flower of Laos, Dok Champa (Plumeria alba, german: Westindische Frangipani, french: Fleur des temples). (678k)

Champasak

Temple Champasak
Temple in Champasak. (836k)
Temple Champasak
Temple in Champasak. (929k)
Temple Champasak
Temple in Champasak. (775k)
Artocarpus heterophyllus
Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus, german: Jackfruchtbaum, french: Jacquier). (1.5M)
Planting Second Crop Rice
Planting a second crop of rice. (1033k)

Vat Phou

The area of Wat was originally inhabited by the Cham people. In the 5th century CE, the Khmer moved into the area. The first buildings in Vat Phou come from the 5th century. The majority of the buildings are from 10th to 12th century. The buildings are built from volcanic rock, brick, and sandstone.

Vat Phou belonged to the Khmer empire, centered on Angkor Wat. Originally, it was a Hindu temple. The area converted to Buddhism in the 14th century. However, there is still worship of the Hindu gods present.

Vat Phou was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.

You can find more information on the Wikipedia page for Vat Phou

View Over Vat Phou
View over Vat Phou. (1238k)
Plumeria alba
Central avenue of Vat Phou, flanked by Dok Champa (Plumeria alba, german: Westindische Frangipani, french: Fleur des temples), the national flower of Laos. (1048k)
Plumeria alba
Central avenue of Vat Phou, flanked by Dok Champa (Plumeria alba, german: Westindische Frangipani, french: Fleur des temples), the national flower of Laos. (1362k)
Plumeria alba
Dok Champa (Plumeria alba, german: Westindische Frangipani, french: Fleur des temples), the national flower of Laos. (788k)
Stairs Upper Level Vat
Stairs to the upper level of Vat Phou. (1215k)
Stairs Upper Level Vat
Stairs to the upper level of Vat Phou. (858k)
Stairs Upper Level Vat
Stairs to the upper level of Vat Phou. (988k)
Large Buildings Vat Phou
One of the large buildings in Vat Phou. (1080k)
Large Buildings Vat Phou
One of the large buildings in Vat Phou. (1031k)
Large Buildings Vat Phou
One of the large buildings in Vat Phou with stone carvings. (988k)
Detail Large Buildings Vat
Detail of one of the large buildings in Vat Phou with stone carvings. (722k)
Detail Large Buildings Vat
Detail of one of the large buildings in Vat Phou with stone carvings. (844k)
Detail Corner Stones Naga
Detail of one of the corner stones with Naga carvings. (826k)
Corner Stones Naga Carvings
One of the corner stones with Naga carvings. (1117k)
Main Temple Vat Phou
Main temple in Vat Phou. (1102k)
Main Temple Vat Phou
Main temple in Vat Phou. (1073k)
Main Temple Vat Phou
Main temple in Vat Phou. (1200k)
Stone Carved Fries Main
Stone carved fries on the main temple. (912k)
Stone Carved Fries Main
Stone carved fries on the main temple. (1085k)
Stone Carved Fries Main
Stone carved fries on the main temple. (1044k)
Detail Stone Carved Fries
Detail of the stone carved fries on the main temple. (896k)
Detail Stone Carved Fries
Detail of the stone carved fries on the main temple. (900k)
Stone Statue Main Temple
Stone statue on the main temple in Vat Phou. (1047k)
Stone Statue Main Temple
Stone statue on the main temple in Vat Phou. (1101k)
Buddha Statue Main Temple
Buddha statue in the main temple. (1118k)
Oldest Party Vat Phou
Oldest party of Vat Phou from 5th century CE. (1.5M)
Small Buddhist Cemetery Vat
Small Buddhist cemetery in Vat Phou. (1305k)
Elephant Carvings Rock
Elephant carvings on a rock. (946k)
Carving Crocodile Place Annual
Carving of a crocodile. It was a place of annual virgin sacrifice. (1132k)
Buddhist Shrine Vat Phou
Buddhist shrine on the Vat Phou grounds. (1040k)
Buddhist Shrine Vat Phou
Buddhist shrine on the Vat Phou grounds. (1102k)
Naga Shrine Vat Phou
Naga shrine on the Vat Phou grounds. (1188k)
Hindu Shrine Vat Phou
Hindu shrine on the Vat Phou grounds with Shiva in the middle, Brahma on the left, and Vishnu on the right. (1171k)
Natural Spring Upper Level
Natural spring on the upper level of Vat Phou, used for ritual cleansing. (927k)

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Laos
Main page for ເມືອງ ລາວ (Laos)

Page last updated on Mon Jan 20 16:02:14 2020 (Mountain Standard Time)


Pakse - Elephant Rides, Vat Phou, Mekong + Tat Fane + Tad Lo Waterfalls on (null)


© Dr. Günther Eichhorn
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