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Huay Sanon waterfall: The hidden haven in Sangthong

Welcoming Visit Laos Year 2018, Vientiane Times is publishing a series of feature articles and
photographs inviting you to experience the authentic nature, culture, history and hospitality of
South-East Asia’s Simply Beautiful Laos.

Huay Sanon waterfall is a hidden secret of Sangthong district in Vientiane, where tourists can relax to the sounds of cascading water while surrounded by a tranquil forest.
The waterfall is located about 100 km from Vientiane on the road to Sangthong district and its beauty has remained largely unknown.
Last year, a private company was given the concession to develop it as a place for tourists to relax, swim or go for a  picnic while listening to the sound of the waterfall and the insects in the forest.
Paradise in the forest

Visitors enjoy a weekend visit to the waterfall.

I visited Sangthong district many times before, but I had never heard of Huay Sanon waterfall before my latest trip. This is probably because the waterfall was opened to tourists just two months ago, after the district tourism department completed a survey and permitted a private company to develop it as a new tourist site. 
The department has opened it as a tourist site as part of a pilot project, before further improvements are made next year in anticipation of higher visitor numbers, according to a local resident working in the tourism sector, Mr Khamhoun.
The waterfall has long been popular among local people on the day of fasting, when they take a day off from farming to take friends and family members for a picnic in wood huts near the waterfall.
The waterfall is surrounded by forests, and the green trees and sounds of the flowing stream provide a touch of relaxation that will help recharge your energy.
If you want to hike to the top of the waterfall, you can walk over stones into the river and continue into the forest for around 600 metres. You will see the waterfall in front of you and green mountains to your back.
I am sure you will forget all the exhaustion caused by the walk up the hills as you enjoy taking a lot of photos to keep the beautiful location in your memory.
If all the walking makes you hungry, there are some restaurants run by local residents that offer tasty snacks and meals.
If you love organic food, make sure you indulge in some dishes that use amazingly fresh local vegetables.
There are two small cascades before you finally reach Huay Sanon waterfall, an idyllic spot perfect for a picnic with friends and a refreshing dip in the cool waters. The fall cascades into several small pools, providing ideal swimming areas.
It is easy to fall in love with Huay Sanon waterfall - the air is fresh and free of pollution and there are no vehicles and city sounds to distract you as you enjoy nature at its finest.
The amazing scenery and plant life provide for many superb photo opportunities.
The best vantage point for viewing the water tumble down 30 metres is on a small rise that authorities have created for tourists to take in the amazing scene.
The gentle breeze means a fine mist from the base of the waterfall wafts through the air, providing a refreshing feeling and further adding to the relaxing ambience.
The end of the rainy season (October) is definitely the time to visit this spectacular waterfall and escape from the grind and grime of the city.
How to get to the waterfall:
Sangtthong district is a good way to travel by road from the centre of Vientiane to the waterfall.
Sangthong has known for one of most beautiful roads in Vientiane, along which travellers can enjoy stunning views of the Mekong River, rice paddies and mountains while driving around 100 km to the waterfall.
The greenery of the mountains and trees along the roads will help you refresh yourself and leave the stress behind.
Besides the splendid views, the road trip will give you a feel of the local lifestyle. If you travel by private car, you can stop the vehicle to watch farmers planting rice in the rainy season or planting vegetables in their garden or harvesting rice in the dry season. 
As the waterfall was opened for tourists just recently, one can only travel to the site in private vehicles.
There are two ways to go. At the T-junction, if you turn right, it will shorten your trip by about 20 km but some stretches of the road are unpaved, dusty and rather bumpy, but that just makes for more of an adventure!
If you turn left, the road is smoother, but you will spend more time travelling as this route is surrounded by mountains.
However, if you are not a local tourist, you can rent a mini-van or motorcycle to make your adventure. The prices depend on your negotiation skills in Vientiane’s city centre.

By Phoonsap Thevongsa
(Latest Update October 25, 2017)

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