Though slightly less impressive than the well-known and picturesque Kuang Si Falls, nearby Tad Sae Waterfall is still worth a visit—but only during the July through November rainy season when water flows easily.
This spot is lesser known than others in Luang Prabang, meaning fewer tourists and more locals. (Be sure to dress modestly, especially if swimming.) Laotians often gather in the crystal blue waters to bathe fully clothed during hot summer months, and travelers can lounge along the waterfall’s many natural “stairs” to enjoy what locals call hydro-massaging. Swimming is very popular, as the many streams of water cascade over limestone rocks into large pools prime for the activity. There is also an area nearby where visitors can feed, pet and ride elephants, sample traditional fare and zip-line through the lush green forest.
Tad Sae Waterfall is located about 12 miles (19 kilometers) south of Luang Prabang. The waterfall is best seen during rainy season, between July and November. Don’t expect much during other months; then there is only a trickle of water, if that. The area is only accessible by boat—it’s best to take a tuk tuk to the banks of the Nam Khan River and then rent a boat for a 10-minute ride across to the waterfall. The area includes public bathrooms and a restaurant for visitors and is open every day from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.