Like a Waterfall of Disappointment

Trip Start Oct 30, 2012
Trip End May 30, 2013

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Where I stayed

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Salavan,
Thursday, December 6, 2012

After the tranquillity of Si Phan Don, I had heard of another small place that's not very developed. Tad Lo is a little village of restaurants and guest houses along a river with the sounds of a thundering waterfall to sleep to.

Our lovely little bungalow, though made of grass, had nice mats on the floor, a mosquito net and some blankets for the cool evenings (I can't believe I'm now needing a blanket in the cool of 28C) overlooked the water and had yet another hammock to lay in.

There is a whole set of waterfalls along this river. But the one that made me really want to come here was Ta Soung. Various guides said things like: “The word 'breathtaking' doesn't really describe it -- it's awe-inspiring, and slightly nerve-wracking. Once you get used to the height, the views are excellent and it's one of the prettiest places on the planet.” Sound like a place I would really like to see!

Over 10 km away, we decided to walk with a guide. Tripod and everything came with me.  However, upon arrival, the amount of water coming over the top I think must have come from those having a picnic lunch at the top spitting off the edge. Barely a trickle. I'm not quite sure if this is because it's now the dry season, or because of the hydro electric power plan. I could have cried (which would have created more water than the waterfall!

At least having a guide with us made things a bit more interesting. He was always pointing out little things and took us through a few minority ethnic villages and we interacted more than what we would have on our own which was good.  These tribes are similar to those I saw in Northern Cambodia and are considered the 'native' inhabitants of these areas.

Got to see some freshly harvested peanuts (they taste exactly like freshly shelled peas – coincidence in the name?). Watched men weaving fishing nets out of bamboo.  Young boys carrying their cocks to various fights. Spirit houses in the centre of the villages. Old ladies smoking bamboo pipes stuffed with tobacco and banana.

The next day we had a bit of time to ourselves and went to explore some of the waterfalls on our own (the ones that actually had water). Sat up the river aways and toasted ourselves on some rocks (far enough away so that no one can see us – it's quite offensive to the Laos' not to be covered) and then dipped in the clear running water to cool off.

Walked further up to some more falls that we only saw briefly while walking by before. Now we were able to take some time to photograph. There were men fishing with nets and a woman scouting around for something underwater and when she found it, placed it in a beautifully woven basket she carried.

I also got a Laos skirt made. In Cambodia all the women (when not wearing pyjamas) had Indonesian printed fabric that they wrapped around their waists. In Laos, it's another wrap around skirt, but of beautiful shimmering fabric and detailed hems. I was able to find some fabric and someone near by drove me into the next town for sewing.  An old lady sitting behind an ancient singer sewing machine took my measurements.  Only a few hours later and a few dollars and I have my souvenir from Laos!  On the way back some local ladies stopped and started cooing over my skirt and trying it on for size, so I guess it meets the standard.  Suppose this trips wasn't a complete disappointment!

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Eunah on

It's really green there. You guys are building a lifetime of memories.

2totango on

Laos is a bit more lush than Cambodia was.

Bonnie on

I love reading your posts, so interesting ! What a great place to visit.

fay on

no disappointment from my perspective...sounds like such an idyllic time (all except for the cock-fights)

2totango on

never as idylic as it may seem ;)

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