Boulders create an intriguing cascade in this section of river in Savannakhet province.

Sa-oy Falls the place to beat the heat

For Visit Laos-China Year 2019, Vientiane Times is publishing a series of feature articles and images promoting the two countries’ collaboration in tourism and hoping to inspire more people, especially from China, to experience the nature, culture, history and hospitality of Laos, the jewel of the Mekong.

April is typically the hottest month in Laos, when the temperature is particularly high in large towns and this year is ranging from 38C to 42C every day. So what better way to seek relief than to head for a river or waterfall.
Sa-oy waterfall in Sa-ee-ton village, Xepon district, Savannakhet province, is one of the largest in the area but few people go there because of the bad road.
Right now I’m stuck in grimy Vientiane but in this extremely hot weather I’m dreaming of a refreshing dip in the Sa-oy waterfall after I discovered it recently.
I went there in a minibus along a small and dusty road after the locals said it was definitely worth a visit.
It looks very inviting before you even get to the main cascade because of the many boulders that line the river and give you the feeling that something special is just around the corner.
I walked along the boulders by the river with some local people while my friends decided to walk through the trees because they didn’t want to walk under the blazing sun.
My friends arrived at the falls about 20 minutes before I did and immediately started taking photos. But I and two local men could not wait to strip off and get into the water, where we played with some children who were already enjoying this lovely section of the river.
The water was clear and cold. The pools that formed at the bottom of the rocks were quite deep, so the children could jump from the highest place into the river.
Other children who could not swim well enjoyed playing in the shallower water at the end of the falls where the water was not so deep.
Unfortunately we couldn’t stay there for long because we had to visit other places in the area.
I walked back the way I had come but went a little further so I could make the most of this relaxing spot and take in the beauty of the natural world that surrounded me. I really enjoyed the walk even though it was quite hot because the sparkling river was so beautiful and the boulders were an impressive sight.
Two of the men from Sa-ee-ton village engaged me in conversation and told me a bit about the falls.
They said that in the wet season the river is very high and all the rocks disappear under the water. No one comes here to swim then but the menfolk bring their fishing gear in hopes of a catch for their families’ dinner.
More people come here in the dry season for a picnic with friends and family, with numbers swelling at weekends. They spend the day by the river and grill some fish, or make a soup with ant eggs and vegetables they’ve gathered from round about, and eat and drink together near the falls.
This is an enjoyable way for people in the area to spend their free time, especially after the rainy season when the river has enough fish for them to catch and cook.
“In general, not many people come here because the road is not really safe and the falls are difficult to access,” one man told me.
But with such an enticing place just waiting to be explored and enjoyed, it won’t be long before more people get to know about Sa-oy waterfall and find their way there in greater numbers.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update April 22, 2019)

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