My partner and I did Off the Beaten Track Waterfall Cycling Adventure with Banana Boat in mid November 2012. It seems silly to pay $50 each for an unguided tour but we wanted to try something different. We are so glad that we did.
Right from the start I had good feelings as there was great communication. Emails were answered promptly and when I told the owner, Emi that my main concern is unable to get a right size bike, she scheduled a meeting for me to try the bikes ahead of the tour. Unfortunately, the bikes that she set aside for me was still too big for me or rather, I'm too short. To solve this, Emi immediately offered me her personal bike (it's a mongoose)!
On the day of the tour, we arrived at Stray Shop and were thrilled to learnt that we were the only participants for the day. We were given then a map and Emi brief us personally on direction. The briefing is essential since the waterfall is unmarked on map. Following the briefing, we cycled to the jetty where the strikingly cute banana boat was already waiting for us. We took a 20 minutes ride to opposite side of the bank. Upon reaching the opposite bank, the polite boatman and his assistant passed us our lunch (2 sandwiches) and a few bottles of water before we began our exciting journey.
The ride to the waterfall consisted of paved and unpaved road with a series of slopes. The scenery along the way were great and we only met one falang along the way. The villages along the way offered great photo opportunity too. The ride to the waterfall took us about 2 hours (my estimation: 12km) with many rest stops in between. We find the ride fairly manageable even though we are average cyclists. The only complaint I had was the dust at certain section of the route and I wished I had brought along a face mask.
When we finally arrived at the waterfall, we were wowed by the sight of the beautiful waterfall. This is no tad sad but it is beautiful in a rustic way. There were no tourist booths and we were amazed by the fact that we were the only visitors at such a beautiful Waterfall. Well, a group of 5 falangs did arrive much later. Other than this group, we did not see any other visitors the waterfall.
After spending over an hour at the waterfall, we return to a nearby village (about 1km away) to board our boat. The return boat ride took about 1 hour and we get to enjoy some Laos snacks and even white wine.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with the tour coordination and would highly reccomend to those who wish to do something different.
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