Smaller and harder to reach
Published/Last edited or updated: 12th February, 2017
While day-trippers and tour groups visit Li Phi waterfall in droves, few make the extra effort to get to Khone Pa Soi, a smaller, harder to reach set of falls accessed via the east coast of Don Khon. The falls are created as one branch of the Mekong is funnelled between a small isle and larger Don Chom.
Upon arriving there is a lovely restaurant overlooking the river, worth earmarking for a post-wander refreshment. Cross the dodgy suspension bridge from which you can grab a photo or two of the raging, boiling waters—hang onto that camera because a slip of the fingers and it’s well on its way to Cambodia. This channel was the so-called “Teak Way”. The French funnelled timber down to the port at the tip of the island so it could be loaded onto vessels destined for Cambodia and Vietnam.
Across the bridge, head 200 metres towards the sound of the roar on the east side of the isle. Do keep track of your track, as the paths are overgrown and it is easy to get disoriented.
Back at the parking, a sign also points to “Khane Paksy waterfall Area History France 100 m”. A short bridge and path leads to another vantage of the “Teak Way” rapids and the suspension bridge.
There are two ways to reach Khon Pa Soi from the concentration of Don Khon accommodation/the French bridge. The simplest is a bumpy unpaved track that starts north of the bridge and transects the island. Walk across 1.6 km to a point that it merges with another road, then turn left/head north 600 m to the signposted turn off.
The even bumpier route is by following the tourist strip to the northern tip of the island, then continue on the dirt path as it skirts down the eastern edge of the island. It can be incredibly scenic, especially when rice is growing, but the track is difficult, parts narrow, muddy and sandy. If going by motorbike experience is required. Those staying on Don Khon, a relatively fit person can manage it by foot, however, there is hardly any shade on this part of the island.
There’s no admission fee or paid parking.
Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you’ll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.