“One last Laos adventure” we agree before our flights in the afternoon. Missing the pools in Kuang-Si is the best unlucky decision we ever made. If we hadn’t missed them, we wouldn’t have spent 2 hours obsessively trying to figure out how, when and where we did, and come across Tad Sae waterfall. In the pictures they look very similar, but Kuang-Si is a lot bigger but farther away. Tad Sae waterfall is closer and you don’t have to hike up for 45 minutes to reach the waterfall. Once again you take a tuktuk, this day we didn’t have to go out to find a driver, because a driver approached us in the geusthouse while we were having breakfast. 200,000 kip roundtrip and be back by 12.30, fair enough.
The drive took about 30 minutes, payed another 20,000 kip to cross the river with a long boat. We were met with the sight of a mahout sitting on elephants in chairs, which pissed me off. After everything I’ve learned and seen, I can’t fathom how people still participate in this bull crap. You could see in the eyes of the poor elephant how lost and broken her soul was. I know going off on the mahouts is not the way to go, violence and anger is never the answer. The only way we can change the situation is to stop doing it, so they will know that this is not the way to make money.
If you are put off by the thought of hiking up steep hills or through the jungle, Tad Sae might just be the place for you. After a lovely boat ride you walk some 50 foot steps to pay the entrance fee 10,000 kip, and then another 100 footsteps and you’ve reached the gorgeous Tad Sae. If you google Kuang-Si and Tad Sae they look very much alike, but in reality there is a big difference. It took me and Aubrey about two hours of obsessively googling the two waterfalls to tell them apart. But Tad Sae doesn’t have that big drop like Kuang-Si, but are built up of smaller waterfalls and endless pools. In total I think there is 3 different waterfalls. We were completely amazed by the beauty of this place. and the fact that we were completely alone for the first two hours. No one else, just the two of us to enjoy the spoils of Laos nature. I think the pictures speaks for itself, and the reaction on our faces. We did hike all the way up to the third waterfall, but turned back because it wasn’t as alluring as the first two. The second one was my favourite, this one was a bit more hidden, and it was giving me a feeling like I just entered a fairy tale realm, any minute now woodland fairies would pop their heads out. With turquoise water mesmerising your eyes you can’t help but want to jump in, cool off and snap some shots to get that perfect picture. No matter how hard you try, pictures can’t capture the beauty. Just watch out where you step as the current is really strong some places. I tried to cross to get over on the other side, but had to retreat as I was almost drag down. Take precautions and be careful, but don’t let it stop you from enjoying the natural pools.
Whichever waterfall you prefer or choose during your Luang Prabang stay, I’m certain that you will be mesmerised either way. Personally for us Tad Sae was our favourite, it just felt more intimate and not so crowded. Mostly locals go to Tad Sae and the occasional tourists. Laos really is something different from the neighbouring countries. With vast green mountains surrounding the cities, beautiful nature, laid-back atmosphere and incredible outdoor activities. My Lao adventure may have been short, but what an adventure it was. I can’t wait for the day I return, hopefully with more time in my pockets.