Around Pakse, in southern Laos, are several waterfalls. There are not too many options to get there. Tuktuks can be an expensive ride and buses are hardly available and will only get you to the main road, which leaves you with a part to walk. So the best way to get yourself to the waterfalls on a 35 to 40 km distance is to rent a motorbike. Those are small ones of a 100 or 125 cc. The speed goes to nearly 100 km/h. The price to rent such a thing in Pakse is 70.000 kip ($9) for one with gear and 120.000 kip ($15) for an automatic one.
You might get a copy of a drawn map which should show you how to get there. Just follow the main road. That’s it, according to the paper. Most people are traveling with a phone in their hands nowadays, to look at Maps. It’s sure an easy way not to get lost, but it also stops you from getting to new unexpected places, meet new people and get new experiences, which you wouldn’t had with your phone. The paper with drawing which some rental places give you show one direct way, but in reality you must turn left from the main road at some point. The traffic signs are somewhat unclear with three huge boards above the road with pics of sightseeing places and right of that three big blue boards with place names and distance.
When you follow the main road as given on the paper you got, you will reach after about 40 km a brown board with Champasak Town and Vat Phou Champasak, a World Heritage Site. When you take that road to the right, you will reach a wonderful spot at the Mekong. There is a river crossing for cars and motorbikes by boat. A great spot and village.
Once you are on the correct road to Tad Fane waterfalls, you turn right from the main road at the sign and follow the road a bit to the entrance and ticket sales office. A ticket cost 15.000 kip ($2). Park the motorbike at the souvenir shops. You walk the path next to a coffee shop and a sign of Tad Fane Resort to the viewpoint. The impression of the waterfalls depends on your own expectations and history of other waterfalls you have seen. When you’ve been in the Himalayas on trekking, then this is nothing special. When you’ve seen the Kuang Si waterfalls in northern Laos, then this is nothing special either.
The waterfalls itself exist of two streams, or two falls. They are big in height, not much in water. From the viewpoint you look at equal height on the other side where the green is and where the water should come from. The hills and surroundings are very nice. The complete scenery, nature and place is interesting and nice to be and Pakse has not much else to offer than this, so why not bring a visit.
When you drive back from Tad Fane to the main road, you cross it and get over a dirt road to another of the four waterfalls close to each other. This one is called Tad Tham Champy, or Tham Champee. Depending on the signs that you see. Here too you follow the road and there are no clear signs except for one in Laotian script as a fishbone to the left. That’s exactly the way to follow. When you go straight, you end up in a kind of jungle. Follow the signs and there is a ticket place right and restaurant left. When the ticket place is closed, a girl of the restaurant orders you to park and pay both the entry ticket and parking fee. Total 8000 kip ($1).
You walk down either left or right from the restaurant to a viewpoint and a sign ‘careful’. You see the waterfalls now. When you decide to get down to the falls, you can choose the sign ‘easy way’ or the sign ‘careful’. The last one takes you down by steep wooden or bamboo stairs. Nothing dangerous when you keep a good grip and take into account that they can be slippery. When you’re a bit worried or having any issues, just take the ‘easy way’. When you get down, you walk over a lovely wooden piece which you could call a pass over, that goes over the stream water. Then you walk 30 meters.
Often there are guys at that point who rent out tubes to get into the pond in front of the falls, or they can get you by rope to under the falls for a hard shower. You might be able to have a beer with them or an interesting conversation about their place of origin and more. For the falls count the same as for Tad Fane. They are not very impressive in some ways, but still it’s worth a visit.