Tad Nam Kat
Pick a trail at Ban Faen Village; they all lead through pristine old-growth jungle and limestone outcrops to Nam Kat Waterfall and Nature Park. A kingdom of boulders, large and small, surround the falls and create a series of 20-metre-high cascades. The rocky maze diverts the stream into smaller cataracts and a final 10-metre leap into a pool. Some of these boulders can seat 5 to 15 people. Add adventure to your trip by swinging over the falls on a zip line, crossing a canopy cable bridge, climbing a cliff, riding an elephant, and hanging out in a tree house.
Nam Kat Falls is 23 km east of Xay Town in the Phou Hiphi Provincial Protected Area. The hour-long drive cuts through forested hills to the Khmu Village of Ban Faen. From here, weather permitting, a 13-km dirt road takes you into the jungle and past creeks lined with fishermen to a 2-km trail to the falls. Ardent trekkers can follow the 13.5-km trail from Baen Faen and up Pha Daeng Mountain to Nam Kat. Ban Faen offers homestays.
Tad Lak Sip-et
A short 11-km tuk tuk, cycle, or motorbike ride from Muang Xay Town reaches appropriately named “Lak Sipet” (11 Km) Waterfall. Located in the Phou Hiphi Provincial Protected Area, the falls tumble down a cliff, landing near a picnic area, popular with locals on weekends and holidays, and a nice daytrip for visitors.
Step into the forest where your path stalls at Talae Waterfall, which cuts through “Candle Trees” on its 600-metre tumble down the Phou Hiphi mountainside. The deluge pauses at seven smooth platforms, before toppling over curved ledges to the next levels. Throughout the flood, trees manage to flourish. The falls are at their best during Green Season (July-Feb), and a popular picnic spot for locals. It is located 42 km from Muang Houn Town.
Tad Nam Haeng
Picture parallel falls appearing from the dense green jungle, and unloading into a pool that topples onto a series of small stages. Mini-gorges force fast-paced streams between the platforms that feed by the never-ending overflow. You can follow the trail to the top while inspecting the flora or stopping for a picnic.