Laos has plenty to offer travellers, from food and cultural experiences to spectacular nature scenes. Despite being landlocked, because of the country’s elevation and the presence of rivers, namely the Mekong, Laos has a number of picturesque waterfalls to visit. This list include but a few of the spectacular waterfalls the country has to offer. It’s really one of the best places to go chasing waterfalls.
The Bolaven Plateau homes a number of waterfalls to visit. There are even two loops that you can explore to see these natural formations. In the Dong Hua Sao National Park, the twin falls of Tad Fane drops from an elevation of 120 metres. 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 Waterfall. Also known as Tad Gneuang, Tad Yuang is about two kilometres east of Tad Fane. While the falls are a bit smaller than Tad Fane (falling only 40 metres), visitors are able to swim in the pools above and below the falls. The pools might have some currents, so be cautious 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’s a picnic spot and small coffee plantation.
Looking for bays and beaches instead? These are not to be missed:
Tad Pha Suam
The journey to Tad Pha Suam takes visitors through thick forests and across an old bamboo bridge before reaching the six-metre waterfall. This waterfall’s also – you guessed it – on the Bolaven Plateau. 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. A nearby village called 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 craftspeople.
Tad Tayicsua (or Tad Tayicseua) can be found along the big loop on the Bolaven Plateau. It’s very much off the beaten track; so expect to have to endure an intense hike through a bamboo forest. The allure of this waterfall is that few tourists visit the area even though the falls are extremely impressive.
Tat Kuang Si
Tat Kuang Si, also known as Kuang Si and Tat Kuang Xi, is one of the country’s most photogenic falls, located about 30 kilometres south 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 heights of between 50 to 60 metres, dropping into turquoise pools below. Cascades of up to 5 metres flow from the pools, making for an impressive sight.
Despite being some distance from town, Tat Kuang Si is a very popular tourist destination, so it’s recommended that you head here early. Besides the falls, 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. There are also picnic tables throughout the area, so it’s easy to see why it’s a popular spot.
Waterfalls where dreams are made of:
Li Phi Falls
Legend has it that Li Phi Falls collects the spirits of humans and animals who haven’t led virtuous lives. This gives sense to the translation of the waterfall’s name that means ‘spirit trap’. Li Phi Waterfall also goes by the moniker Tat Somphamit Waterfalls, and is located on the Mekong River in the Four Thousand Islands region (Si Phan Don) in southern Laos.
Nam Kat Waterfall
About an hour’s drive from Oudomxay Province, and just outside of the Nam Ha National Protected Area, is the Nam Kat Waterfall. Although this waterfall is not the largest on our list, it is impressive none the less, seemingly sprouting from the forest that surrounds it. It’s also definitely worth the trek to enjoy its untouched, natural beauty.