FEATURE: A waterfall with a difference

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Anyone with a yen to spend time at a waterfall that’s not too far from Vientiane should consider a visit to Tad Phakxoyvoy. 

This is a fascinating cascade located in an unusual natural setting in Nakhanthoung village, Xaythany district, about 40km from downtown Vientiane.

Its attraction lies in the fact that unlike most other waterfalls it plunges over boulders in two separate streams of water, which flow in parallel in a sharp descent over a broad expanse of rocks.

The waterfall is located within the 1,600-hectare Phou Khao Khuay National Bio-Diversity conservation area.

In the rainy season, the level of the water rises and the cascades become more dramatic.

The waterfall is very popular among local people and some foreigners also find their way here.

With its attractive location and easy access, the waterfall draws about 50-100 people a day.

Visitors enjoy swimming, taking photos and simply relaxing in this tranquil environment.

The waterfall can be reached by driving on Road No. 10 from Thangone village in Vientiane to Thoulakhom district in Vientiane province over a distance of about 40km. You then turn right to Nanokkhoum village and drive for a further 11km and turn right to get to the waterfall.

The site was officially opened to the public in August 2015 and is under the supervision of a committee set up by the district.

There is electricity, a parking area, huts and toilets. There is also a restaurant serving chicken or fish soup, grilled chicken and fish, bamboo soup and papaya salad, all of which come with sticky rice.

Apart from the waterfalls there are natural pools where children and adults can swim, so it’s a good spot for people of all ages.

Visitors must pay to use a hut and to park a vehicle, but the rates are reasonable.

There is also a temple in the area which has a footprint that is believed to have been implanted by Buddha. So visitors can also visit to talk to monks and make merit. It’s also possible to camp and trek in the area.

A member of the committee responsible for the waterfall, Mr Vongphachan Souphanneuk, said “We get more visitors every year because the waterfall is located in such an attractive setting.”

“People come here every day, especially on weekends, because they like to picnic, soak up the natural environment and do various activities. They come in groups or with their family. People can bring food to cook but we don’t allow visitors to bring drinks because we have them for sale here,” Mr Vongphachan said.

“Our supervising committee is made up of people from nearby villages so local residents are involved in the site’s operation and development.”

“Not only do we have natural beauty and a fantastic atmosphere here, but this area has a long history that has associations with the life of Buddha.”

“I encourage people to come here to learn about local history, especially as this is Visit Laos-China Year and we want more people to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Laos,” he added.

“To make this site more appealing to visitors we will provide more facilities in the future. Our developments aren’t complete yet. But because this is such a rocky area, it’s difficult to build here,” Mr Vongphachan said.

“A lot needs to be done in terms of development and we will try to offer better services. There may also be a market where local villagers can sell their products. We will try to ensure that development doesn’t detract from the natural beauty because of course that’s what brings people here.”