Tad Sae Waterfall in Luang Prabang Laos

Visiting Tad Sae Waterfall in Luang Prabang in Laos

The multi-tiered Tad Sae waterfall, or Tat Sae waterfall, is a stunning nature attraction just outside of the Old Town in Luang Prabang. Read on for everything you need to know to plan your Tad Sae day trip!

Often overshadowed by the famous Kuang Si Falls in Laos, Tad Sae Waterfall is a lesser-visited cascading waterfall with glistening turquoise-tiered pools.

Tad Sae Waterfalls lower pools

Like Kuang Si, you can trek uphill through lush jungle foliage to explore the upper-level pools, or stay near the lower falls to go for a dip in the cool waters.

Tad Sae Waterfall in Luang Prabang Laos with text overlay Woman standing in pool at Tad Sae Waterfall in Luang Prabang Laos with text overlay Tad Sae Waterfall in Luang Prabang Laos with text overlay
Tad Sae Waterfall lower falls in Luang Prabang Laos

Despite the fact that the Tad Sae Falls is only a 30-minute drive from the heritage town, it took me four visits to Luang Prabang before I finally made it out to explore the waterfall.

Old Town in Luang Prabang Laos

It is a fantastic and easy day trip option if you have 3 to 4 days in Luang Prabang and are looking for a waterfall experience away from the crowds.

Ready to book a trip to Luang Prabang? I recommend staying at The NamkhanMaison Dalabua or Moonlight Champa Riverview â€“ all of which are within walking distance or a short tuk tuk ride to Old Town and the night market. Alternatively, you can click here to see other highly rated hotels in Luang Prabang!

Best time to visit the Tad Sae Waterfall

Tad Sae Waterfall in Luang Prabang Laos

Luang Prabang typically experiences a dry and wetter season. While Kuang Si Falls is at its best during the dry season between about November to March/April, Tad Sae Waterfall is at full flow during the rainy season between about May/June to October.

Tad Sae Waterfall during the dry season in Luang Prabang Laos

That being said, I happened to visit at the end of January during the dry season despite being told not to bother! While it’s true that some areas were stagnant, moss-filled and the waterfall had basically slowed to a trickle, there was still some water flowing into certain pools and sections.

Tad Sae waterfall in Luang Prabang in Laos

The second pool was full of crystal clear water and a delight! This may change year-on-year depending on how heavy the preceding monsoon season was.

Tad Sae Waterfall in Luang Prabang Laos

I absolutely loved my morning at Tad Sae falls swimming in the near-empty, refreshingly cold natural pool.

Tad Sae Waterfall in Luang Prabang Laos

I had it all to myself for at least half an hour, with only a handful of other people around.

Ready to explore the sights of Luang Prabang? I have personally stayed at and recommend The NamkhanMaison Dalabua or Moonlight Champa Riverview. Alternatively, you can click here to see other highly rated hotels in Luang Prabang!

What to see at Tad Sae Waterfall

Long exposure of lower pool of Tat Sae Waterfall in Luang Prabang Laos

This is one of the most stunning and peaceful waterfalls in Laos and not to be missed. The turquoise pools glisten when the sunshine hits it, and in the upper levels the shade from the trees seemingly turns the water a deeper tone of emerald.

Standing at upper pool of Tad Sae Falls in Luang Prabang Laos

The paths between the lower three tiers are fairly well maintained, but if you want to venture to a higher pools you’ll need to do a little scrambling uphill.

Path to upper falls of Tad Sae Waterfall in Luang Prabang Laos

Make sure you wear proper walking shoes as flip flops and sandals won’t cut it!

Restaurant at Tad Sae Falls in Luang Prabang Laos

If you plan on going for a swim, there are a number of makeshift changing stalls so you can get into your bathing suit but bring your own towel along. There are also small restaurants on-site if you decide to stay for a drink or meal.

Tad Sae Waterfall map in Laos

Tad Sae waterfall is open from 8 AM to around 5-5:30 PM in the afternoon. I noticed a few more people arriving around 11 AM to noon when I was leaving, so if you want to avoid the crowds then I recommend heading there as early as possible.

Tad Sae waterfall in Luang Prabang in Laos

A word of warning, there is an elephant camp at Tad Sae which organizes elephant riding experiences for tourists in Luang Prabang. I did not see it in January 2024 when I visited Tad Sae falls nor did I go out of my way to see it, but if you are looking for an ethical elephant interaction experience in Luang Prabang then I recommend visiting MandaLao Elephant Conservation instead.

Researching where to stay in Luang Prabang? I recommend staying at The NamkhanMaison Dalabua or Moonlight Champa Riverview â€“ these Luang Prabang boutique hotels all offer stunning rooms and excellent service. They are either within walking distance or a short tuk tuk ride away from the Old Town and the night market. You can also click here to see other highly-rated hotels in Luang Prabang.

How to get to Tad Sae Waterfalls

Longtail boat ride to Tad Sae Falls in Luang Prabang Laos

Tad Sae waterfall is about 30 minutes by car or tuk tuk from the old town. I stayed at The Namkhan, an amazing eco-farm and yoga retreat destination with luxury glamping tents. They organized a private tuk tuk and driver to take me to and from Tad Sae for approximately US$40 – this included the waiting time.

Longtail boats to Tad Sae Falls in Luang Prabang Laos

Once you have reached the riverside, you will then need to take a small longtail boat for about 5 minutes to get to the falls; the Tad Sae boat ticket costs about 30,000 Kip for solo travelers for the return trip (so hang onto your boat ticket).

Ticket booth at Tad Sae Waterfall in Luang Prabang Laos

Entrance into the waterfall itself costs another 30,000 kip as of March 1st 2024.

Should you visit Tad Sae Waterfalls or Kuang Si Falls?

Kuang Si Waterfall in Luang Prabang Laos middle pool
Kuang Si Waterfall in Luang Prabang

If it is your first time to Luang Prabang and you are short on time, then a visit to Kuang Si Falls is highly recommended – especially if you are there during the dry season between November to April. You should, however, be prepared for crowds of people as it is one of the top tourist attractions in Laos.

Long exposure of lower pool of Tat Sae Waterfall in Luang Prabang Laos

For those looking for a waterfall that is slightly off the beaten track, then Tad Sae is spectacular. If you are traveling to Laos during the monsoon season from May to October then visiting Tad Sae waterfall is a no-brainer, as the water flow at Kuang Si can often be too heavy which can turn the pools brown and murky.

Kuang Si tiered waterfall in Luang Prabang Laos
This was taken at Kuang Si Falls, but looks very similar to what Tad Sae is like during the rainy season.

If you have an extended amount of time in Luang Prabang – say 4 to 5 days – then it is totally possible to visit both as they are easily accessible from the old town area.

Where to stay in Luang Prabang

Maison Dalabua in Luang Prabang Laos

Maison Dalabua is situated a short walk away from the historical center of town and is the perfect place to find serenity in a popular tourism destination. Click here for my full review of the property. The hotel is one-of-a-kind and visually stunning, the rooms are the epitome of comfort and class, and the staff are well-trained, warm and were true ambassadors for Laos. Click here to book your stay at Maison Dalabua!

Moonlight Champa Riverview Hotel in Luang Prabang Laos

I also highly recommend Moonlight Champa Riverview, a stunning boutique property just outside the old town in Luang Prabang. The rooms are spacious and the area is extremely quiet and peaceful. We loved the breakfast options and the terrace overlooking the river. The property is a 10-15 minute stroll from the night market/Mount Phousi, or you can also rent a bicycle for no additional cost. Click here to check current rates at Moonlight Champa.

For a truly unique experience in Luang Prabang check into one of these luxury glamping tents at The Namkhan, a boutique yoga and wellness-focused resort a short 10-minute tuk tuk ride from the Old Town area. Located by its namesake river, it is one of the few retreats in Laos that offers a variety of wellness offerings from twice-daily yoga classes and Qi gong lessons in its open-air riverside shala, as well as a sublime farm-to-table restaurant. There are a number of non-glamping room options on offer including the deluxe family rooms, two-bedroom villas and private suites. Click here to check rates and availability at The Namkhan or here to see other highly rated hotels in Luang Prabang!

Quick logistics tips for Luang Prabang:

✈️ The main airport in Luang Prabang is located just 20 minutes by car from the main town. Several airlines including Lao Airlines, Vietenam Airlines, Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways fly to Luang Prabang, most flights originate or stop over in Bangkok, Hanoi, Chiang Mai or Siem Reap. A 30-day tourist visa-on-arrival is available for nationalities (US$40 + one passport photo), or you can you can also apply for an electronic visa ahead of your trip here.

💱 The currency is the Lao Kip, and the exchange rate varies from approximately 20,000 LAK: US$1/1 Euro as of early 2024. You will need to ensure that your notes are clean and unmarked in order for them to be accepted at any currency exchange locations.

📱 You can get a local Laos SIM card at the airport.

🌤️ The peak travel season for Luang Prabang is from around October to March during the dry season. This is when you can expect heavier tourist crowds and higher hotel rates.

🛺 How to get around Luang Prabang in Laos: The best way to get around Luang Prabang is either on foot or by bicycle (most hotels offer bicycle rental) – traffic is minimal and slow, just make sure you ride carefully. You can also take tuk tuks, but make sure you agree on a price before you hop in. A 5-10 minute ride will cost you anywhere from $2-5 USD. The Uber-equivalent in Laos is called Loca, which works well in Luang Prabang and Vientiane but you will need a local SIM card and number in order to register.

Long exposure of upper pool of Tat Sae Waterfall in Luang Prabang Laos

I hope this Tad Sae Falls travel guide inspires you to visit this very underrated waterfall!

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