The new four-wheel-drive adventure tours by Pakxong Adventure are being heralded as the first of their kind in southern Laos, with the venture leading 4×4 tours of coffee farms on the Bolaven Plateau in southern Champassak province.
After opening its doors last year, Jeep Adventures is now attracting larger numbers of tourists for its 4×4 tours of the region’s coffee plantations and other scenic spots.
Deputy Director of the Tourism Planning and Development Division of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Ms Champhone Vongsa reported last Friday on the new tour operation.
We just visited the tour activities of Pakxong Adventure in Pakxong district for our survey last week. There are many tourism adventure products like Green Discovery but the 4wd tours are a first in our country.
The tour through the coffee farms is owned and operated by Pakxong Adventure, which offers guided sightseeing tours through the scenic environment of the Bolaven Plateau.
However the road through to the coffee farms on the half day tour programme is still a difficult road, Ms Champhone said.
She added that the 4×4 adventure tours are a good way for local people to share in the benefits by working together with Pakxong Aventure.
Owner of Pakxong Adventure, Mr. Khamsone Souvannakhily told Vientiane Times by telephone last Friday that We have five tour programmes to experience and explore activities on our coffee farms and other agricultural farms as well as visiting three waterfalls. And we transport all of our visitors by Jeeps.
Jeeps are one of our highlights to attract more tourists to join our programme, and most of them are over 50 years old.
Mr. Khamsone owns one 4wd himself and can borrow from a fleet of another seven Jeeps from other local farmers in the district. Mr. Khamsone pays 500,000kip for a Jeep per day from each of the farmers.
He explained that Pakxong Adventures was opened in 2015, after he saw the coffee price fall rapidly from 5,000kip in 2011 to 2,500kip per kilogramme at present.
So, he decided to open the tours in an effort to boost his family income, offering the tour programme for free to visitors and tour companies during the first three months (July to September) in 2015 in order to promote the venture.
After that visitors had to pay for his tour programmes, of which there are now five, including a half day tour in the morning or afternoon and another three whole day tours, each of which head out from Pakxong to different parts of the plateau. Mr. Khamsone said the visitors would enjoy riding in the four-wheel-drives and trekking, while they could also experience and explore the lifestyles of farmers, visit some ethnic groups and go swimming at one of three waterfalls.
In the first year of opening, we received only five tour groups from tour companies to send tourists on our 4×4 tour programmes. So, we are lucky that our programmes are now blooming. We serviced eight tour groups this month, after hosting 20 groups in November, eight groups in December, three groups in January (2017), six groups in February and two groups in March.
Now, some of the tour companies also come to survey our tour programmes on our coffee farm. We also call our coffee farm tour Mystic Mountain Coffee’ and we hope that we will receive more tour companies who bring their customers to us.
Mr. Khamsone said the prices for joining his tour programme start at US$50 per person, with one 4wd able to accommodate up to three people.
So, three persons in one 4wd costs US$150 and most of the tour programmes include food and coffee during the trip.
The tours run over a total length of 5km (3km in the 4wds and 2km trekking) for the routes which explore the 16 hectares of Mr. Khamsone’s coffee farm called Mystic Mountain Coffee.
Source: Vientiane Times