One of the most rewarding experiences on offer in Southern Laos is a motorcycle trip through the Bolaven Plateau. It's home to numerous waterfalls, great scenery, tribal villages, and unexplored corners galore. So while everyone else is blasting straight down to Si Phan Don, swerve off the beaten tourist trail, get yourself a motorbike, a map and do some travelling!
Pakse in Champasak province makes a great base of operations for a Plateau excursion. Street bikes can handle all the roads you'll need to tackle and can be rented throughout Pakse for US$7 or 8 per day. Dirt bikes costs US$20 a day -- bigger, heavier and much more powerful, but are only recommended if you know what you're doing.
When you get your bike, don't be afraid to give it the once over and make sure everything works. If you want to be particularly cautious, after you've settled on a bike, take it to a mechanic for a check-up and oil-change before you set out. Most basic problems can be fixed quite cheaply. Lastly, just because you're in Laos doesn't mean you're out of "Mum range" -- be sure to get a good helmet with the bike.