Laos may be the only land-locked country in Southeast Asia, but it more than makes up for its lack of ocean with its abundance of magical rivers and waterfalls. Scattered all across the country, these natural wonders will make fantastic additions to your trip itinerary. Read on for more information on the best Laos waterfalls to gawk at, swim in, and where to go for the best tubing experience.
The Best Laos Waterfalls
Tad Kuang Si Falls in Luang Prabang
Ask any local or experienced traveler, and they’ll tell you Kuang Si Falls is easily the most stunning waterfall in the entire country. The three-tiered waterfall is well-known for the surreal nature of its turquoise-hued pools in the dry season, between October and April. Make sure to bring your (modest) swimwear as visitors are welcome to swim in all but one of the sacred pools. If you’re looking to avoid the hordes of tourists, come in the early morning.
On your hike up to the waterfall, you’ll also pass the Kuang Si Bear Sanctuary, a rescue center for Moon Bears and Asian Black Bears saved from poaching. The sanctuary runs on donations alone, so we encourage travelers to buy a T-shirt or make a small donation.
Cost: 20,000 kip ($2.30)
Tad Sae in Luang Prabang
If you’re visiting Luang Prabang during the rainy season, make sure to see the Tad Sae Falls. Between May and late September, Tad Sae runs and overflows with water, creating cascading falls that are a gorgeous sight to behold. If the mood strikes, you’re also welcome to swim in the large aquamarine-colored pool, though please note that revealing swimwear is frowned upon. Tad Sae is less-known than the famous Kuang Si, so if you’re trying to beat the crowd, you’re much more likely to succeed here.
Many travelers choose to bring a picnic to Tad Sae but rest assured there’s food available at the falls if you pass on this. If you get peckish, restaurants and a cafe are close by, all offering great views of Tad Sae and good food at reasonable prices.
Please note, there’s also an elephant camp that operates just off Tad Sae but we strongly advise against riding elephants. The process of taming elephants is traumatic for the animals, and we don’t condone the practice in Laos or any other country.
Cost: 25,000 kip ($2.90) = 15,000 kip (entrance fee) + 10,000 kip (boat ride to Tad Sae)
Did you know that Southeast Asia’s largest waterfalls are in Laos? The Khone and Phapheng Falls are by far the most impressive falls on the Mekong River, nicknamed by many as the Niagara Falls of South-East Asia. Khone Phapheng consists of a series of rapids and cascading waterfalls, and if you’re traveling through Asia, they absolutely need a place on your bucket list. While they’re a must-see sight all year round, but past visitors have said they are most impressive during the dry season. Like most of the other waterfalls in Laos, there are restaurants closeby for hungry travelers.
Cost: 55,000 kip ($6.40)
Situated in the Bolaven Plateau, the Tad Fane waterfalls are the highest in the entire country. Tad Fane is surrounded by deep, lush jungle, and from 120-meters its twin falls plummet down steep cliffs into a deep gorge. Most visitors will only be able to view Tad Fane from a distance, but if you’re up for a massive adrenaline rush, why not zip-line across the gorge? Through Green Discovery Laos, travelers have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience this 470-meter zip-line, getting much closer to Tad Fane than is otherwise possible. For a small fee, zip-liners can also stop halfway and have a cup of coffee over the enormous gorge. And on select days, a drone is available to film the entire thrilling experience so you can share it with all your family and friends.
Cost: 10,000 kip ($1.15)
If you’re coming by the Bolaven Plateau to see Tad Fane, you absolutely must make a stop to see Tad Yuang. Like Tad Fane, this waterfall consists of twin streams. While it’s certainly nowhere near as high, travelers are allowed to swim in the pool below Tad Yuang and get as close to the waterfall as they please. There are food stalls and a restaurant near the entrance to the falls, so all travelers looking to fill their bellies are welcome to do so there.
Cost: 10,000 kip ($1.15)
Tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos
Ask anyone in Laos where to go tubing, and they’ll tell you there’s no better place than Vang Vieng. Once known as the party capital of Laos, backpackers would flock to Vang Vieng in droves to indulge in cheap alcohol and tube down the Nam Song river. Although the town has grown considerably from its party town days (in terms of safety, particularly) it remains a fantastic place for thrillseekers, adventurers, and avid tubers.
When you’re in Vang Vieng, you’ll find the tubing center on the town’s main road. Unfortunately, it has no listed address and cannot be found on Maps, but travelers report it as being across the street from Hally’s Coffee. There’s no need to book your tube in advance, just head to the tubing center and you’ll be taken care of.
Rentals cost 60,000 kip ($7) with an added deposit of the same amount, so expect to put down 120,000 kip ($14) when you get to the office. Tubes can be rented between the hours of 9 AM and 4 PM and must be returned before 8 PM that same day for a refund of the deposit.
Overall, tubing on the river takes about 2.5 hours, but during the peak season between December and May, the trip can take as long as 4 hours. There are numerous riverside bars on the banks of the Nam Song, but only one of them is open at any given time. We definitely recommend stopping by to cool off with a bottle of delicious BeerLao!
More Information About Laos Waterfalls and Tubing
Did you enjoy this article about Laos waterfalls and tubing? Are you looking for more adventures to embark on in Laos? Then check out these other articles about things to do in Laos!
- The 11 Most Breathtaking Waterfalls in Laos by Regina Beach from The Culture Trip
- The Best Things to do in Laos from Be My Travel Muse
- 15 Amazing Waterfalls in Laos from The Crazy Tourist
- 10 Awesome Things to do in Laos from Adventure in You
- 5 Must-See Waterfalls in Laos from Explore Laos
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