Laos has plenty to offer travellers, from food and cultural experiences to spectacular nature scenes. Due to the elevation and the presence of rivers in certain areas Laos offer a number of picturesque waterfalls to visit.
The Bolaven Plateau homes a number of waterfalls to visit – there are even two different loops that you can take to see these natural formations. In the Dong Hua Sao National Park the twin falls of Tad Fan (or Tad Fane) drops from an elevation of 120 meters. The falls are impressive to see throughout the year but put on their best display in the rainy season between July and October. It isn’t possible to swim in the pool at the bottom of the falls but a hike to the top of the falls is possible and well worth it.
The area is surrounded by a rainforest and tea and coffee plantations which enter harvesting season between October and February.
Also on the Bolaven Plateau is the Tad Yuang (Tad Gneuang) falls. Tad Yuang is about 2 kilometers east of the Tad Fan falls. While the falls are a bit smaller than Tad Fan (falling only 40 meters) visitors are able to swim in the pools above and below the falls. The pools might have some currents so caution should be taken if you want to take a quick dip in the cool water.
Adventurous visitors can hike to lookout points at the bottom, middle and top of the gorge – where there is a picnic spot and small coffee plantation.
Tad Pha Suam
Still on the Bolaven Plateau visitors can find the Tad Pha Suam falls. The journey to the falls takes visitors through thick forests and across an old bamboo bridge before reaching the 6 meter falls. Long, lazy days can be spent here having a picnic and swimming in the pools.
The surrounding area has much to offer in terms of natural beauty and culture. The nearby village Uttayan Bajiang (Bachieng) houses local people who still dress in traditional wear. Here visitors can see houses from different ethnic groups and purchase handcrafts made by local crafts people.
Tad Tayicsua can be found along the Big loop on the Bolaven Plateau. It is very much off the beaten track – found after an intense hike through a bamboo forest. The allure of this waterfall is that few tourist visit the area, even though it is super impressive.
Tat Kuang Si
Tat Kuang Si is also known as Kuang Si and Tat Kuang Xi. It is one of the most photogenic falls in the area, located about 30 kilometers south of the town of Luang Prabang. The drive to the falls takes visitors through rice paddies and a Hmong village where women in traditional wear can be seen selling hand woven crafts.
The falls have three tiers spanning the height of between 50 to 60 meters, dropping to a turquoise pool below. Cascades of up to 5 meters flow from the pools, making for an impressive sight.
The surrounding area is lush forest with spectacular colour changes throughout the year and a climb to the top of the falls take visitors to the originating stream and a number of natural pools.
Li Phi Waterfall
Legend has it that Li Phi Waterfall collects the spirits of humans and animals who haven’t led virtuous lives. This gives sense to the translation of the falls’ name which means Spirit Trap. Li Phi Waterfall is located on the Mekong River in the 4,000 Islands region in Southern Laos.
Nam Kat Waterfall
About an hour’s drive from Oudom Xai, and just outside of the Nam Ha National Bio-Diversity Reserve in the North-Central Xiangkhouang Province of Laos is the Nam Kat Waterfall. Although this waterfall is not the larges on our list, it is impressive none the less – seemingly sprouting from the forest around it.
This list include but a few of the spectacular waterfalls that Laos has to offer. Laos really is one of the best places to go chasing waterfalls!
*A version of this article first appeared at www.zafigo.com