Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Laos - Where and How To See Them

8th Aug 2020

Laos truly is a hidden gem in South-East Asia. Don’t let the absence of coastline fool you! The landlocked country is dotted with fabulous rivers and waterfalls, some of them being used as paradise swimming spots.

In this article, I have listed some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Laos that you can easily include in your itinerary, that can only leave you amazing memories!

Best Waterfalls in Northern Laos

Photo of Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Laos - Where and How To See Them 1/1 by Julien Mordret

Kuang Si Falls

About 30 km (18 mi) south west of Luang Prabang, very close to the legendary Mekong River, a true little paradise is hiding in the mountains.

The river, showing off an incredible turquoise color runs downhill creating waterfalls and inviting natural pools. In its upper part, the falls are the most spectacular, with water falling from a height of 60 m (200 ft). In its lower part, the flow slows down and the river gently cascades from pool to pool, under the trees – and makes it a real delight to swim in.

In a landlocked country like Laos, it’s pretty cool to have a place like this! The whole area is set up for visitors with simple paths and wooden structures that don’t kill the natural mood of the place.

However, don’t expect to enjoy this natural beauty all on your own. Kuang Si Waterfall is probably the most popular waterfall around Luang Prabang, which is itself one of the most popular destinations in Laos. Inevitably, you will have to share with a crowd from around the world.

But don’t let that deter you from visiting the falls! The site is big enough and there is room for everyone; and it is a very pleasant way to spend a relaxing afternoon (or morning for a smaller crowd). On top of the Kuang Si Falls themselves, you will find picnic areas and a bear rescue center.

Photo of Kuang Si Waterfall, Laos by Julien Mordret

Day Hike Through The Laotian Countryside To Tad Sae Waterfall

Don’t really know what activity to choose during your stay in Luang Prabang? I understand you, just enter any travel agency and you will have a wide range of options to fill your days with wonderful experiences.

One nice way to spend the day is to go for a hike through the countryside that will take you to the beautiful Tad Sae Waterfall. Along with Kuang Si, it is one of the most frequently visited waterfalls around Luang Prabang.

You will first be taken to the bank of the Nam Khan River that you will cross on a small boat, to arrive at the village of Ban Suan, where the hike starts. That’s one of the interesting aspects of this hike. The trail crosses villages, teak and rubber plantations. It gives a good insight of the life of the Lao people in rural areas.

You might be wondering if the trek is easy or challenging. Well, it all depends on your level of fitness but I would say it is an easy trek with a few slopes to climb and the heat makes things a little more difficult. But if you are reasonably fit, you will be able to complete the hike without great difficulty.

At some point of the trek, you will enter the rainforest and soon enough you will catch sight of the mesmerizing milky turquoise waters elegantly cascading under the trees. I was quite surprised to see that they actually built a whole wooden deck for people to enjoy a natural swimming pool.

After a long walk under the heat, the inviting water is most welcome! A very pretty place to relax and a nice reward for you hiking efforts.

Best Waterfalls in Southern Laos

Photo of Tad Sae Waterfall, Laos by Julien Mordret

Waterfall Hopping On The Bolaven Plateau

Located in the south of Laos, the Bolaven Plateau is a popular region to visit from the city of Paksé. Its higher elevation induces a cooler climate, and the plateau is home to numerous tea and coffee plantations and varied ethnic groups live in this region.

If you have more time, you can definitely try renting a motorbike and explore the plateau on your own; but most people opt for a day tour from Paksé.

While tourists enjoy visiting the various villages often filled with cute kids making up a part of the itinerary, it is mostly for its many waterfalls that the Bolaven Plateau is sought after. I am showing here the 3 most commonly visited waterfalls on the Bolaven Plateau.

The impressive twin falls of Tad Fane are often the first stop of this loop road trip; and with 120 metres of height, they are probably the most spectacular waterfalls in Laos. Tad Lo and Tad Pha Suam waterfalls are clearly not that tall but it doesn’t prevent them from being very scenic as well.

If you don’t have much time to spend in southern Laos and want to get a glimpse of what this beautiful region looks like, this day tour on the Bolaven Plateau is your best option!

Photo of Bolaven Plateau, Laos by Julien Mordret

4000 Islands – Powerful Waterfalls on The Mekong River

In the extreme south of Laos, along the border with Cambodia, the Mekong River suddenly widens and divides itself into countless meandering arms, creating thousands of islands.

This region is also home to strong rapids creating spectacular waterfalls – not particularly for their height, but more for the power of the flow. The two waterfalls commonly visited are Li Phi Falls and Khon Phapheng Falls, only 2 km and 4 km from the Cambodian border respectively.

This region, known as the “4000 Islands” or Si Phon Don, is also a popular destination in Laos and easily visited from Paksé with a day tour, if you don’t have much time.