The Tad Fane resort is on the edge off the Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos, nestled on top of a mountain surrounded by dense jungle and coffee plantations. The simple wood bungalows overlook the Tat Fan waterfalls, twin cascades that fall 120 meters down a near vertical wall of rock and clinging vegetation to the valley floor below.
The resort occupies the other side of what is a horseshoe valley head, with the falls may be half a kilometer on the opposite valley wall.
Even with this distance the sound of the cascading water is still apparent, and brings a sense of calm and relaxation to the area. At night you are lulled to sleep by the sound of the water and, depending on the time, various insects, birds and mammals. There are snakes here, with stories of people being bitten and then carted off to hospital - on the back of a motor bike.
The trekking here is good. Not the same as in northern Laos – the mountains are smaller – but the jungle is dense, there are lots of noisy birds, beautiful butterflies, and plenty of other creepy crawlies.
But the real highlights are the waterfalls. Tat Fan is a star due to its exposed location and vertical drop. You can trek to the top of the falls, and peer (carefully and with some trepidation) over the edge down the drop to the valley below. But you can’t access the pool below – the valley walls are sheer.
Tat Yuang is easily accessible by road, and you can walk to the pool at its base and take atmospheric photographs as you stand it its mists. You and the one hunderd Thai tourists who are also there wading in the river and photographing each other. Thamchampee falls are accessible after a hike, hence they see far fewer tourists. The pool below is a great place for an afternoon swim.
Trekking here will also take in the coffee and tea plantations for which this part of Laos – the Bolaven Plateau – is famous. It really is great coffee, and well received after a sweaty trek through the jungle. That and copious amounts of the ubiquitous beer Laos. That really is great beer.....