Mystic Mountain Coffee and Homestay brews up perfect recipe for success
During Visit Laos Year 2018, Vientiane Times is publishing a series of feature articles and images inviting you to experience the authentic nature, culture, history and hospitality of Laos, Jewel of the Mekong.

Mystic Mountain Coffee and Homestay is a relatively new community-based tourism venture that is prospering by attracting many visitors to Pakxong district, Champassak province in southern Laos.
In just four years the venue has established itself as a must-see for many American and European travellers to Laos and has been featured in numerous travel guidebooks, magazines, newspapers and online media talking about its amazing programmes.
Mystic Mountain Coffee and Homestay provides many interesting programmes for visitors such as taking a trip to the Laven ethnic group village and visiting a hidden waterfall in Pakxong district by old Jeep, discovering about the area’s history during the Indochina War including bomb craters, as well as learning about Lao culture and coffee growing, cooking and environmental protection.

On the Jeep tour to the waterfall.

And it is also such a relaxing trip as you feel completely immersed in the lush rainforest of the Bolaven Plateau.
I first planned to stay just one night and two days last week but ended up spending a delightful four days taking in the daily excursions.
We were picked up by a Jeep in Pakxong town and arrived in the evening at Mr Khamsone’s house where we were served a delicious meal prepared by his wife.
Khamsone Souvannakhily is the founder and owner of Mystic Mountain Homestay.
The place has two lovely bamboo homestay lodges providing two big beds in each to cater for two or four people but visitors can also camp around his house.
Every day Khamsone briefs staff and visitors on what the programme will be.
At first light, they take visitors to a lookout for some exercise and to see the sunrise before walking back through his coffee farm for breakfast.
They serve an American and European style breakfast including bread with pumpkin, eggs and of course Mystic Mountain Coffee.
After breakfast visitors are given a class in making a great cup of coffee and the history of Mystic Mountain. Mr Khamsone explains everything.
The Jeep tour starts after 9am when the visitors are together. We drive down a dusty road through many villages and through some forest to visit some unknown and well-known waterfalls.
Visitors have a packed lunch to enjoy near one of the waterfalls.
On the way back we stop at interesting villages including that of the Laven ethnic group to learn about their lifestyle and culture as well as stories about the old jeeps left behind by US forces after the Indochina War along with some imported from Vietnam.
In the afternoon the programme switches to trekking and we walk for a few hours to a stunning high view. Our path takes us over old bamboo and wooden bridges crossing a small river to a local village to witness them farming their crops and coffee. We walk through fields of yellow flowers and see many tractors carrying farmers home after a long day of picking coffee beans. All the while being greeted with a smile and a friendly “Sabaidee”.
Mystic Mountain Coffee and Homestay is located in the middle of the coffee farm so during the day you will see workers going about their daily duties. November and December is coffee bean harvest time and visitors can join in picking the crop.
After a long day tour, foreign visitors can learn the basics of preparing famous Lao dishes such as sticky rice and papaya salad.
We  have a lovely dinner every evening in the open air while Mr Khamsone also fries some bananas and offers us Lao whisky.
As a special memento of our trip, Khamsone presents all visitors with a bag of Mystic Mountain Coffee to take home.
Now every time I smell that rich aroma of the coffee my mind is transported back to the lush setting and warm welcome in Pakxong district.

ByPatithin Phetmeuangphuan
(Latest Update December 8, 2018)

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