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Manmade waterfall on course to be Vientiane province’s newest attraction

As a simply beautiful land-locked country, Laos has now become a world recognised tourist destination, and now Vientiane’s outskirts will soon have another new destination for weekend getaways.
About half an hour’s drive from Vientiane on Road No. 10 to Ban Keun in Thoulakhom district, Vientiane province, try turning right at Napheng and then go straight on the asphalt road for 7km to find a pleasant place to visit.
Recently Vientiane Times’ reporters made a visit after seeing the waterfall’s Facebook page and our team also met with the owner of this stunning place, Mr Lilao Bouapao.

The waterfall is actually manmade with the water mainly coming from the Nam Mang power plant.

The friendly Mr Lilao told us about the background of this beautiful place, beginning from his first interest when he and his brother visited his brother’s parents-in-law back in 2000.
His brother’s wife is from the nearby Nam Yam village and her father owned a plot of land in the area.
“We decided to buy plots of land because we intended to develop this place as a relaxing site for our family, but after that we thought it should be a tourist attraction and had the idea to invest more capital in the construction of accommodation,” Mr Lilao said.
According to Mr Lilao, the waterfall is manmade as almost every single piece of rock had to be brought in from quarries using excavators and backhoes to place the giant rocks into position.
If visitors didn’t know any better they would think it is a natural waterfall because it’s been expertly landscaped in an ideal location.
In the dry season, the water comes directly from the power plant if the turbines are generating electricity but if they are not generating, very little water will flow down.
From Monday to Friday, the falls are full of water but very little flows on the weekend because the power plant is not operating.
While the dry season water flow is unpredictable, the natural beauty of this place remains a selling point with its many trees being preserved by the owners.
“We bought land from more than 10 people little by little and now we have about 30 hectares in total. We also plan to build four accommodation blocks with each having 10 rooms, so there will be 40 rooms, a conference centre and a sports field,” Mr Lilao said.
His plan for the venture has been submitted to several ministries and if approved the next step will be to seek financing from a bank.
Construction will require US$300,000 to US$500,000 in capital, Mr Lilao said.
He hopes to complete construction of the accommodation and be able to provide services to customers by the end of this year.
“I’m very enthusiastic to proceed with my plans which have been presented to various departments at the central and local government levels,” he said.
Known as Suan Nam Pa Phoukhaokhuay or Phoukhaokhuay Water Garden, the natural attraction is ideally located at the foot of the Phoukhaokhuay Forest Protected Area.
However, ownership of the site is certified by district authorities under the law on land management, Mr Lilao explained.
The friendly entrepreneur is very upbeat about the future of tourism with increasing numbers of foreign travellers coming to Laos as the country has a wide range of tourist attractions.
“I’m quite optimistic about this project as it offers a relaxing venue for both domestic and foreign guests. It’s also close to well-known places like Dansavanh Resort, Phoukhaokhuay Forest Temple and the road linking Thoulakhom district to Hom district in Vientiane province,” he said.
Besides the waterfall, a large fishpond is another intriguing feature, and visitors can enjoy paddle boat rides in its crystal clear water.
Visitors can bring their own food to eat but management fees for garbage will be collected by the landlord.
“At the moment, we’re not sure about charging admission fees but local vendors will need to pay about 5,000 kip for garbage disposal,” Mr Lilao explained, adding that his place was open to the public every day as the result of positive feedback from Facebook users.
He’s also confident that if his family’s business goes into full service with the accommodation, conference room and restaurant, at least 50 employees will be recruited, generating direct income for local residents.
Mr Lilao hopes that lovers of nature, especially domestic tourists, will enjoy swimming in the fresh waterfall rather than venturing further afield at unnecessary expense.


By Bounfaeng Phaymanivong
(Latest Update May 13, 2017)

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