The trouble in Pakse as in many Laotian places is the transport. There is no reasonable solution for travelling the Bolaven Plateau or Wat Phou and Champasak. Public transport is extremely time-consuming, extremely inflexible, uncomfortable and expensive. For longer trips the southern bus station is eight kilometers outside the city, the northern bus station is nine kilometers north of the place. Bingo!
Pakse airport. Lao Airlines has still problems with safety. It seems to be the same old planes as they used many years ago already. Image by Asienreisender, 2013
A trip to Vientiane on bus takes about twelve hours. Night busses (sleepers) are available.
After all it seems to be the best solution to hire a motorbike. But this implies another complex of problems.
The most agencies who rent motorbikes want a high guarantee in case of any damage. Nang Noi Guesthouse for example demands a guarantee of 1,500 dollars US. The case of damage could be simply a scratch in the lacquer. If you have an accident, doesn't matter if it was your fault or not, you are obliged to pay. Therefore the deposition of a passport with the visa inside is mandatory.
I wouldn't sign such a contract. But in any case, the agencies want a passport as a deposit.
Motorbikes in Pakse. The time of bicycles is over. Even the kids drive motorbikes. Image by Asienreisender, 2013
The traffic here is not too easy, one has to be aware of the fact that the local drivers don't ask for any rules. They drive as they want. On the right side, the left side, in middle of the road, zig-zag, entering a road by completely ignoring the traffic on it... and so on, and so on. In other words: traffic is pretty unpredictable here. And too fast.
The worst drivers are the young men between 15 and 25 - 30 years old. They are full of energy and express that in their driving style. Much too fast and too risky. I have seen some nasty traffic accidents in Laos.
In case of any accident the locals will by all probability point on the foreigner. He/she did what wrong!
Sometimes, when school ends, masses of local pupils appear on the roads. The vast majority of them is driving a motorbike - the time of bicycles is over in Laos. Even eight years old boys or sometimes girls drive a motorbike, not seldom with a six years old kid behind them on the bench. It's a good idea to be very careful when they appear in great swarms.
Pakse has also a little airport.
Pakses streets are full with brandnew cars, matching all the new buildings. Where is actually the money coming from in such a poor country? Is there another credit and real-estate bubble in the background? Image by Asienreisender, 2013