The Bolaven Plateau
This is the coffee-growing gate to the remote southeast of the country where travel is hard and life is spartan. More and more adventure-enthused tourists take these roads and indeed the roads have been improved of late. The main attraction of the Bolaven is that its elevation provides a welcome reprieve from the hot season. After 45 minutes of driving east you will need to don a sweater even in May. The road climbs very gradually to Paksong (nothing more than a main road lined with a few municipal buildings, a covered market, and two very basic guesthouses in which you can stay). Paksong, however, is better done as a day trip from Pakse. Nearby Bolaven are some spectacular waterfalls. Tat Fan, Tat Yuang, and Tat Meelok are some of the ones more accessible from Paksong. Travel agents such as Xplore-asia and Green Discovery also run coffee tours showing you how the coffee is cultivated and manufactured as well as giving an insight into the lives of local people.