Liphi waterfalls and Laotian railway

Liphi waterfalls

Liphi falls looking upIt’s also written as Li Phi waterfalls and Somphamit waterfalls. The Kuang Si waterfalls in northern Laos near Luang Prabang are impressive. You can read more about it in another post on this site and the video on our associated YouTube Channel. Liphi falls looking downWhen you travel to the south of Laos. More particular to the 4000 islands of Don Det (in another post too) and/or Don khone, it can be called a must to visit the Liphi waterfalls, as they are as stunning as the Kuang Si one. The Liphi falls are located in the far southern Laotian Champasak province. Near the border with Cambodia.

From Don Det

Liphi restaurantWhen you are at the island of Don Det you can visit the Liphi falls on motorbike or bicycle. Both you can rent at your guesthouse or in the cozy town. The distance to the falls isn’t that far. A motorbike ride will bring you there in about 15-20 minutes and on a cycle you can do it in around 30-35 minutes. Beware on the way when you don’t use Maps on your phone. In Don Det they will tel you just to follow the path and signs from there, but there are a few uncertain turns to make.

Especially the one where you need to take a right, but the sign with the name Liphi falls on it, is shown only to the other direction than where you come from. This means that you won’t see the sign and go straight, more and more away from where you should be. In a sort of forest you won’t often meet people to ask, and if you do, English is not spoken and understood.

The Falls

Liphi signs just behind the ticket boothOnce you reach the Liphi Falls at the parking side you buy a ticket for around 35000 kip ($4.5 – May ’18) and walk on. One more check for ticket soon after and follow the signs to the right. Keep walking and you reach a restaurant. Liphi sheel near view platformIf it will be open depends on time, day and season. Left from the restaurant is a circle shaped platform made of wood as view point. The view is stunning. One side up the river where the water comes from. One side down where it goes to. Look back at the two big wheels, restaurant, trees, a temple and more. An impression video about the Liphi falls and the Lao railway can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnzvcT7mois

Lao Railway 

Liphi info panelOn the way to and from the waterfalls you suddenly pass an unexpected very old steam locomotive. Never known about a railway in Laos? Correct, it’s dating back all the way to 1866. The English were interested and so were the French, for a railway here. Liphi old trainDon Khone was seen as a strategic area. It never got any further than building bridges and steam boats for shipping materials. By the time it was 1938 the whole railway project got its final blow when roads were constructed to connect Saigon in Vietnam with Luang Prabang in northern Laos. All there is left, is this old steamer train and the panels with complete history on it. Still worth to stop for a moment to learn about it.

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