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The 11 Coolest Waterfalls in Laos

This post was originally published on Culture Trip. To read the original and see the accompanying photos, click here

Laos is full of cascading waterfalls plunging into blue pools. Many of these waterfalls have been developed into tourist attractions with cabanas for picnicking, restaurants and amenities. Others are off the beaten path and require a bit of trekking to reach. Check out 11 of the coolest waterfalls in Laos.

Tad Sae

Tad Sae has an aquamarine basin perfect for swimming and limestone rock formations perfect for lounging on during the rainy season. This waterfall, near Luang Prabang is a local favorite on the weekends. Zip-lining is also on offer.

Tad Sae, Luang Prabang Province, Lao PDR

Tad Yuang

Tad Yuang, sometimes transliterated as Tad Gneuang, is located in Champasak Province 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Pakse. Restaurants and tourist shops line the parking area. Visitors can take the slick steps to the water and take a dip above or below the falls during the dry season when the flow of the river is more mild.

Tad Gneuang, Champasak Province, Lao PDR


Khone Phapheng Falls

The Khone Phapheng Falls are in Si Phan Don, or 4,000 Islands, in southern Laos on the Cambodian border. These falls perplexed the French who wanted to find a way to travel on the Mekong River to China. The falls necessitated the building of the railroad connecting Don Det to Don Khon islands, remnants of which can be seen today.

Khone Phapheng Falls, Champassak Province, Lao PDR


Nam Kat Waterfall

Nam Kat Waterfall is located 12.5 miles (20 kilometers) southeast of Oudom Xai in northern Laos. Guided treks depart from the village and include a two-and-a-half hour hike through the Houay Nam Kat Reserve to the remote falls and a picnic lunch before hiking back down.

Nam Kat Waterfall, Xiangkhouang Province, Lao PDR

Tad Fane

Tad Fane is a visitor favorite for those touring Champasak Province in southern Laos. Two streams of water drop 394 feet (120 meters) into the basin below. Most visitors take in the views from across the gorge, but those up for a strenuous hike through the jungle can hire a guide to lead them to the top of the falls in Dong Hua Sao National Protected Area.

Tad Fane, Champasak Province, Lao PDR


Nam Tok Katamtok

Nam Tok Katamtok falls are in Champasak Province 27 miles (44 kilometers) from Paksong. These falls are 328 feet (100 meters) tall and are accessible by car or motorbike followed by a short hike. The falls are fed by Huay Katam River in the Bolevan Plateau.

Tad Katamtok, Champasak Province, Lao PDR

Tad Lo

Tad Lo is 56 miles (90 kilometers) away from the southern town of Pakse. Soak in the visual and aural splendor of the falls or take a dip and cool off from hot heat. Three cascades make up the falls: Tad Hang, Tad Lo itself and Tad Suong. Accommodations are available to spend the night and enjoy the surrounding scenery.

Tad Lo, Salavan Province, Lao PDR


Pha Suam

Pha Suam is located in Bachieng District 20 miles (33 kilometers) north of Pakse. These falls make a horseshoe shape as the water drops into the basin below. Pha Suam flows all year regardless of whether it’s the wet or dry season. Accommodations are available nearby for visitors who want to stay in tree-top bungalows or in a homestay in a Lavae village.

Pha Suam, Champasak Province, Lao PDR


Tad Tayicsua

For those daring to take the big motorbike loop through the Bolevan Plateau, Tad Tayiscua should be on your list of sites to explore. This off-the-beaten-path waterfall is not a major tourist attraction, meaning you’ll likely have the place to yourself save for a few locals. Bring some sturdy hiking shoes and trek down to the base of the falls to feel the mist as you take it all in.

Tad Tayiscua, Champasak Province, Lao PDR

Li Phi Waterfall

Li Phi means spirit trap in the Lao language. Locals believe these raging rapids trap the bad spirits of dead people and animals. Li Phi Falls, also known as Tad Somphamit, are located near Don Khon in the 4,000 Islands at the southernmost point in Laos on the Cambodian boarder.

Li Phi Falls, Champasak Province, Lao PDR


Kuang Si Falls

Perhaps the most famous and most often visited waterfall in Laos, Kuang Si Falls are located 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Luang Prabang. Food vendors sell snacks and grilled meats at the base of the multi-tiered falls. The Tad Kuang Si Bear Rescue centeris on the path to the falls as well.

Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang Province, Lao PDR