About 20 miles south of Luang Prabang, Laos…
While the rest of my tour group was content to enjoy the three pools at the bottom of the falls (not that I could blame them: just a couple of minutes in the waters was a great relief from the heat and humidity), I felt led to ignore our guide's warning that the hike to the top of the falls was too dangerous to attempt. My only regret was that I didn't have time to go further to explore the caves and the springs that are the sources of these waters.
Everything about this place with the exception of the crowds at the pools (especially the third pool: the highest and biggest) was incredible. But up top was truly paradise: there were only four other hikers there, the area was shaded by a thick canopy of trees, and bamboo fences build right at the cliff face allowed me to get into the knee-deep pools without risk and enjoy amazing views. Wish I had time to return here on my own to spend a full day, hiking, exploring, and swimming.