FEATURE: Pakxong – a fine place to chill out

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - People who are lucky enough to spend a few days on the Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos always want to return because of the pleasant climate – it never gets really hot, either in the dry or wet seasons.

The Bolaven Plateau, which is often referred to simply as Pakxong, is located in the hills of Champassak province. I feel I know the area pretty well.

A long time ago I made many visits there when my wife was working for a coffee project in Pakxong. I have never forgotten it and liked this place very much as it was always cool throughout the year, both day and night.

The town of Pakxong is about 50 kilometres from the provincial capital Pakxe. I once went there in April when it’s usually extremely hot in Laos, especially in the south.

I stayed at km 35 and always felt comfortable but as soon as I ventured beyond Pakxong, the temperate spiked and it was really hot.

At that time of the year, many people can’t sleep because of the hot weather. Residents of large towns such as Vientiane and Pakxe have to use air conditioning to help them sleep.

But in Pakxong there is no need to use an artificial cooling device and Mother Nature will ensure you remain comfortable. The fresh air that surrounds you throughout the night will keep you refreshed so you don’t wake up feeling exhausted.

Some Thai visitors have been known to say they don’t need to go to Europe to enjoy a cool climate but can come to Pakxong district instead.

I don’t know if things are still the same in Pakxong because I haven’t been there for 15 years. But some people who have spent time in this beautiful area recently tell me that it’s as pleasing as ever.

The Bolaven Plateau runs through Champassak province’s Pakxong district, Saravan province’s Lao-ngam, and Xekong province’s Thataeng district, and boasts a wealth of scenic beauty.

Some of the most dramatic waterfalls in Champassak are Nheuang, Fan, Phasuam, Nong Luang and Champee Nang Sida.

There are also three more waterfalls of note in Saravan province, namely Lo, Hang and Xeset, and then there is the Sinouk Resort in Xekong province, which are all very popular with both local and foreign visitors.

The Bolaven Plateau is set to be developed as the country’s top agri-business and agri-tourism destination thanks to its year round temperate climate and picturesque landscape.

When visiting Champassak province over the past few years, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has advised officials to seek more investment from domestic and overseas sources so that the coffee industry can be further developed and other crops can be cultivated on the Bolaven Plateau and nearby.

From Vientiane, tourists can reach Champassak by either road or air transport. And thanks to shared borders with Thailand and Cambodia, there are close tourist links with both those countries.

The local food is another attraction, with a wide variety of dishes on offer that will satisfy all palates. Set a date for a visit soon!

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