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Two giant cascading waterfalls in the Bolaven Plateau, Laos

Lost On The Bolavan Plateau

After getting lost in Laos, somewhere on the Bolaven Plateau, we were reminded that sometimes internal GPS is a better guide — or as we call it: JPS (Jedi Positioning System).

GPS Misadventure

We rely on the GPS on our phones for almost everywhere we travel. Invariably, this sends us on some unintended adventures. We were motorcycling around the beautiful Bolavan Plateau in Laos. Its an elevated rugged terrain in southern Laos outside of Pakse. It is filled with many waterfalls and rivers, with coffee fields, rubber tree plantations, and banana groves scattered among the small ethnic villages.

We had reserved a hotel in a remote area that was beside two enormous waterfalls. Daisey, my trusty copilot in life, had entered the hotel name on her phone and was navigating me from the back of the motorcycle. She had directed me down a small dry dirt road, more of a washed out trail really. The houses turned to shacks. The road got narrower and so washed out I was having troubling keeping the motorcycle upright. Some kids in amazed excitement ran to the roadside, yelling “ Hellloooo” at us in unison. When this type of greeting happens, we know we’re far off the beaten path.

As I usually say: “I don’t think many gringos make it out here too often.”

Waterfall in the Bolaven Plateau, Laos
One of many waterfalls in the Bolaven Plateau, Laos

Can’t Be Right

We pushed on at a reluctant and cautious crawl. I was starting to fuss.

“Are you sure? This can’t be right!”

Daisey said to go on just another kilometer down the road. “But there is supposed to be waterfalls and lush jungle.” We were clearly not near any signs of recent water, much less a waterfall. And the road was clearly not leading to a hotel marketed to westerners. We went a little further before I pulled rank and declared that we would die on this road if we went any further. I was getting more frustrated and worried by the inch.

Kids spear-fishing in the Bolaven Plateau
Kids spear-fishing in the Bolaven Plateau

JPS (Jedi Positioning System)

Finally, we turned around and backtracked to the main road. Turns out Google Maps was way, way, way off course. We eventually found the hotel. As expected, it was beside two indescribably huge waterfalls. The white noise of which was wonderfully deafening, providing a night of deep sleep. Sometimes internal GPS is the better guide — or as we say JPS (Jedi Positioning System).

A pair of giant waterfalls outside our jungle bungalow (jungalow?) in the Bolaven Plateau
A pair of giant waterfalls outside our jungle bungalow (jungalow?) in the Bolaven Plateau

Author: Britt

Britt is a photographer/music producer & proud member of #teamtraynham

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