Waterfalls and elephants in luxuriant rainforest
Updated: 2013-12-22 13:49
By Wu Liping (China Daily)
Tad Sae Waterfall is multilayered and interspersed by boulders and trees. It provides such activities as swimming, mountain-climbing, ziplining and elephant-riding. Wu Liping / China Daily
Luang Prabang is known for its gentle citizens downtown, but its natural landscapes in the outskirts are no less charming.
One of these is the Tad Sae Waterfall, just 11 km away from downtown. To reach it, we take a long-tail boat ride upstream along the Nam Khan River, one of the tributaries of the Mekong.
This is rainforest filled with the sound of twittering birds and rippling streams. Not too far from the riverbank, we discover the waterfall. It is not very tall but is very wide and multilayered, and interspersed by boulders and trees, the water tumbling down tier upon tier, forming pools along its descent.
The water is blue and clear and many young people climb to the highest pool via wooden steps and dive down to the lower pools. Families with children frolic in the lowest and largest pool, their laughter echoing against the mountain.
There are zip lines for adventurous visitors. Mooring ropes are connected through poles erected among the trees and equipped with special facilities, and people are slung along the zip line, sliding down from the mountainside to the foot, like birds flying through the forest.
The most enjoyable activity for some is the elephant ride. A wooden seat on the back of an elephant seats two people, for balance. The trainer rides on its neck, leading the way through woods and water. Older elephants are well trained and follow instructions, while younger animals tend to wander off against their trainers' wishes.
There is a restaurant featuring both local meals and fast food, all served with an excellent view of the waterfall.
For other activities in Luang Prabang, tourists can cruise along the Mekong River, explore the Pak Ou Caves, and visit the weaving village of Ban Xang Khong and the pottery village of Ban Chan. Another scenic spot is Nam Ngeum Lake, inside Vientiane Province, which borders Luang Prabang to the north.
IF YOU GO
Many downtown tourist agencies in Luang Prabang offer trips to the outskirts. They have leaflets available outside their doors.