Waterfalls and Villages: Unexpected Beauty


If you recall from this post, my bike had a bit of unexpected trouble on our way to Pakse. Well, the bike was fixed by the time we got there to pick it up the next day, and everything went swimmingly until a couple hours later when I got a flat tire from driving over a nail. But other than that, things went great.

Today was also a most unexpected day, in a good way. We thought we’d go to a waterfall, because there’s nothing better than swimming in delightfully chilly water on a hot day in Southeast Asia.  We didn’t end up swimming, but what we did get was so much better.

We hopped onto Lady Stark (who, if you didn’t know, is my lovely green motorbike. She’s feisty and quick.) and headed out, semi-blind. There were no road signs to point our way, and we weren’t sure what road we were on, or if it would lead us anywhere. We stopped and asked for directions a couple of times, using our limited Lao, and the miming techniques we have all but perfected.

We arrived, much to our surprise, and as we entered I read the sign and realized that this wasn’t the waterfall we had planned on going to. Well, at least we got somewhere.

The entrance fee was surprisingly cheap, and the place had a nice atmosphere about it.  There were signs pointing the way to ethnic villages and caves, but we headed straight to the falls, ready to jump into some cold water. We were a tad disappointed when we saw that the path led to the top of the falls with no way to get to the pool below, so swimming wasn’t really an option.

We doubled back found a group tourists wandering aimlessly, trying to make sense of the many signs and arrows and paths.  We followed them down a path paved in tree stumps, and found ourselves in the middle of a village of wooden huts with thatched roofs. In the center of everything was a blue tarp covered in drying coffee cherries.  Take a look here for a 360 degree photo of the village.

We walked past a small hut with a local family sitting on the porch taking pictures with a couple of the tourists. I think they thought it would be a great idea to get a picture with natives AND white people, so they beckoned us in, and I sat with them as Ricky took some pictures. I was a little hesitant to join because I prepared for the day thinking we would go swimming, so I was wearing short swim shorts and a tank over my swimsuit. I was afraid I would offend them being so scantily clad, but they were friendly and didn’t kick me out of the village.



We soon found ourselves at a tree-top “bachelor cabin” and then under a small hut with a tiny old man who was definitely the highlight of our visit.




 He was standing at a sort of woven bamboo table covered in various musical instruments. Ricky asked if he could pick up the boxy guitar-shaped one, and he and the small old man jammed for a while, and I had a go at some pipes and an oboe sounding instrument made from a single bit of bamboo.






We were in no rush to leave the man or his instruments, because he was such a jolly fella, and I think he saw that clearly enough. He brought out a few toys for us to play with. They were more like puzzles, made of bits of bamboo and string. We sat for AGES trying to figure them out. He showed us multiple times how to do them, but we just didn’t get it for a while. When he showed us how to do it, he would tap a finger to his temple and give us a little grin, meaning that he knew the trick, the clever old man. Eventually, though, we figured them out. And of course we bought them, because we like toys.

We finally left the man and found ourselves at the place where we came in. Beyond some trees was another waterfall, which confused us a little, because the water was flowing the opposite way of the other waterfall. We made our way along some rocks in the stream right to where the fall was, only 
slipping a few times and enjoying the cool water on our feet. Here is the 360 picture.

The waterfall we found.

Woven bamboo bridge is probably the safest way to go across a raging river.

The view from the waterfall after crossing the river.


We couldn't believe that we had found this place, and it was so inexpensive and so beautiful and authentic. It was definitely one of our favorite attractions so far, and made for a beautiful day. 

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