Waterfalls of the Bolaven Plateau, Laos

The Bolaven Plateau is truly one of the beautiful sites that you can visit in Laos. The plateau is actually part of the bottom crater of an ancient volcano in the southern region of the country.

Surrounded by mountains and dense lush forests, Bolaven is sought out by travelers because of its gorgeous waterfalls. The region also offers an authentic Laotian cultural environment. Ethnic minorities came and settled in Bolaven Plateau, and most of them became farmers of fruits, tea and coffee beans. Thus, aside from exploring waterfalls, Bolaven is also an excellent place to tour various traditional plantations.

The motorcycle loop is perhaps the most popular track many visitors take when in Bolaven. The track leads you to the true jewels of the plateau – the waterfalls. A number of tourists start their motorcycle journey going through Route 20, about 30 kilometers from Pakse, the nearest city to the plateau. In this vicinity, you can find the Uttayan Bajiang waterfall, which is less famous than the others but is still worth visiting. This waterfall is tucked in a nature resort and has a restaurant nestled on its edge.

Tad Suong is the tallest of the main waterfalls and is found in the Tad Lo area within the Bolaven Plateau. From the main Tad Lo village, you need to hike about 10 kilometers to reach this waterfall. Tad Suong becomes a magnificent site during the rainy season. During dry season when less water flows, Tad Suong loses its appeal. However, at any point in the year, it is possible to hike to the top of waterfalls. Such hiking effort will reward you with great views of the diverse plateau landscape. Within the Tad Lo village’s territory is another waterfall called Tad Hang, This wide yet small waterfall is very ideal for swimming. However, there have been warnings about swimming here because of the strong surge of water into the drop off section.


If you want to continue with your waterfall hopping, there are still many spots left to look for. One waterfall popular among the locals is Tad Faek, which is accessible from the road going to Attapeu. This wide waterfall rushes onto several ledges that will eventually go to a lake down below. Since it is a favorite hangout among families, Tad Faek can be crowded during the weekends.

If you are interested in exploring the road less travelled, consider taking the path through the national park between Paksong and Sekong. Following this road will eventually take you to what is considered some of the best waterfalls in Bolaven. Making a turnoff along the road from Sekong to Paksong is the gorgeous Tad Katamtok waterfalls. Staying on this dirt road, will allow you to stop by another waterfall called Tad Alang. Here, you can opt to stay overnight at an eco-lodge, which features rustic bungalows. Other prominent waterfalls in the area, about 40 kilometers from Pakse, include Tad Gneuang and Tad Fane.

One day is never enough to really enjoy all the waterfalls Bolaven Plateau has to offer. So make sure to allocate plenty of time for exploring. Time constraints can be remedied by careful planning and your experiences will be that much more enjoyable here.

About Author:

Arie Boris has extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry and a national association of travel agents. He was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start up team for CruiseCritic. He has written over 400 cruise ship reviews. Arie also produces and hosts Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. He has produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including opera, comedy, spiritual retreats and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars!