Pakse was our entry point to Southern Laos following our two weeks in the North. We were not sure what to expect but had booked a three night stay so that we could visit nearby Wat Phou which is a Khmer ruin that predates Angkor Wat.
Our mid-day arrival in Pakse gave us time to scout around and organise both a trip out to the Wat and our onwards travel to Si Phan Don (4,000 islands) some 145km south of Pakse.
Travelling with Joe and Beth Volk gave us the option of booking a private van without it breaking the bank. Even better, we found the travel company located in the hotel (Pakse Hotel) the most helpful and as a ‘cherry on top’, they organised a combined Wat Phou & Bolevan Plateau road trip for us.
We had read about the challenges of road travel in Laos and our two relatively short excursions to date have validated that you do need to be made of sterner stuff (than us) if you intend to travel long distances by vehicle. Apart from the poor condition of the roads, there is plenty of slow traffic to contend with and wandering animals are a constant hazard. There are no fences and the cattle, goats and dogs will cross ‘at-will’. We even encountered a goat at a toll station on a busy road – a quick check of the fee structure for the use of the road did not show a fee for goats so I can only assume it was heading for greener pastures (good luck with that – the grass looks pretty dry).