Tad Jao Waterfall in Sainyabuli Province

The waters feeding this narrow, 20-metre plunge on the banks of the Mekong have attracted royalty from Lane Xang Kingdom rulers to present-day Thai Princess Prathep as bathing in or drinking from them is believed to bring good health and wash away bad luck.

A small hermit cave and shrine sit at the head of the falls, and villagers built a shrine above it in 1985 as they consider the area sacred, and disturbing it leads to illness and death. Elders remember when a Lao Airlines flight crashed after flying over the falls, air space that is now a no-fly zone. They say a Khmu soldier returning home in 1976 moved rocks in the stream, thus changing its course. The soldier died shortly after. A family once built a house there, but the stream washed it away.

Steps built for the Thai princess’s 1990-visit lead down to a picnic area on the Mekong and a view of the Tad Jao Waterfall.

Location: From Sayaboury municipality, drive for about 1 hour to Tha Deua and turn left at the turnoff to the under-construction bridge to Luang Prabang. At the cul de sac, a short trail leads to the falls.