Now overgrown with wild coffee bushes, this part of Laos was once the abode of French coffee and cardamom farmers. For centuries before the arrival of the French however, the Bolaven Plateau was home to a diverse range of hill tribe people, and wild animals. These days the plateau is still populated by minority groups (less so by man eating animals!), and – as it is cooler than lowland Laos – makes for a refreshing break from the heat in the rest of south Laos. We stay at Tad Fane, site of spectacular waterfalls, and a highlight of any trip to the south of the country.