The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

Month November 2016

The Big Indochina Trip: workaround and waterfalls

There are two possible solutions to my border problems that I can think of: to sell the bike here and possibly buy a new one in Cambodia, or to stash the bike here, go to Cambodia for a few days. Then, when I have been away for long enough to avoid the 30 day rule for Vietnamese visa exemptions, come back, collect the bike and ride it back to Vietnam and from there into Cambodia. 

I was lucky enough to find a way to combine the two methods which gives me more options than anything else. I put an add … Read the rest

Tad Fane falls, 3:24 pm

Two rivers, or possible two streams of the same river, flow over the edge and into a large, almost cylindrical hole cutting vertically down through jungle clad cliffs. The left falls tumbles slowly, majestically downwards to the little pool at the bottom. The right one goes bounding over the edge them comes crashing down onto an outcrop of rock where it splits and widens, sending splashes in all directions. The two streams of white water are surrounded by spray thrown into the air as the water hits the rocks. From this distance it looks almost like white smoke billowing around … Read the rest

Tad Champee waterfall, 2:24 pm

The fall comes crashing down with an absolutely deafening roar just a few meters to my right, a wide curtain of water obscuring the view of the river valley outside. On my left, the moss clad rock wall curving upwards towards the lip of the fall, forming a sort of semi circular tunnel that goes behind the fall, then continues along the edge of the little pool at the bottom. The spray from the fall hits me like mist but it’s not enough to really make me wet so I can stand here a moment in awe at the  forces … Read the rest

Tad Champee waterfall, 2:10 pm

I’m sitting on a little two-plank bridge across the stream, dangling my feet in the cool water. The fall in front of me isn’t very tall, only a few meters, but it’s wide, like the large, semi circular brim of a bowl, the water flowing over the edge into the green pool at the bottom. The sunlight shining through a gap in the clouds hits the spray and forms a rainbow that hangs, evanescent and shimmering, in front of the the green clad rock wall.… Read the rest

Tad E-tu waterfall 12:07 pm

I’m by the small turquoise  pool at the foot of the falls. In front of me the water comes crashing down from a ledge of charcoal grey rock. The booming is so deep and so loud it sounds like someone playing the bass drum right next to me. In the background the gurgling of the water downstream and the shriek of cicadas. Around me the steeply sloping sides of the river valley, covered in verdant green.… Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: Don Det, Don Khon, to the border then back to Pakse

My goal for the day was to reach Stung Treng in Cambodia, but it’s only about 100 kilometers from Don Det so I spent the (relatively) cool morning hours exploring the islands. Close to Don Det is a slightly bigger island called Don Khon which is famous for two things, waterfalls and river dolphins.

I took the motorbike along the little path that counts for a road in Don Det, crossed the bridge and went out … Read the rest

Tad Somphamit falls, 8:59 am

The sign says “Dangerous Zone” (song playing in my mind: Danger Zone from Topgun) and I can see why, in front of me, massive amounts of muddy brown Mekong waters go cascading down the cliffs in a series of steps, smaller falls feeding into each other, building up to the big one just in front. The roar is almost deafening, it drowns out the sounds of the other tourists nearby. The sign has been put up because while there is a fence, it looks none too sturdy and the ground is uneven and strewn with rocks. Trip, and you could … Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: Four Thousand Islands

Except for ziplines there are plenty of watetfalls on the Bolaven plateau and the area around Pakse. Normally I would want to visit all of them but the next stop on the way to Cambodia, Four Thousand Islands, had such an interesting name I wanted to go there earlier. The main island that travelers visit is Don Det which can be reached by a small ferry from Nakasong. When I reached the ferry terminal I was excited to see that the ferry was actually just a small catamaran built by two narrow boats connected by a wooden platform with a … Read the rest

On the Mekong, 12:18 pm

I’m on what counts for a ferry in this part of the world, two narrow boats interconnected by a wooden platform, forming a kind of catamaran with a long tail outboard in the back. Me and my bike are the only passengers, the driver, sitting at a wheel of rebar and controlling the motor with his foot, is a middle aged man with sunburnt skin, wearing a stereotypical Asian conical rice hat. The river, wide and brown, flowing sluggishly by, is dotted by little green islets. Some are big enough for houses, others just a few feet across. Up above … Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: Tree Top Explorer 

When I got my eye infection some days ago I missed my booking at The Gibbon Experience where you zipline through the jungle and stay overnight in a treehouse. Here in Pakse there is a similar thing called Tree Top Explorer and when I read about it in my guidebook I decided I should do it as compensation for the one I missed. I Just came back to the city after doing it and I will say right away that it was great.

After picking up our group as well as a TV team from Thailand filming a travel show, … Read the rest

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