Sephaseuth Guest House, Tadlo (Laos)

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The only word to describe today is "awesome". Rich and I left the Guest House at 1100 for the 4 hour circular trek to the "Big Falls". For the first hour we were beating our way through jungle with a big stick (it became my 'comfort blanket'). After a few minutes we came across an awesome set of waterfalls which were on a par with Tadlo's. It was really good being in the jungle trying to follow paths that clearly hadn’t been used in ages. We came across a HUGE spider in the middle of the path. He had decided to spin his web across the path, but high up - it only came down as low as my shoulders. The spider’s body was about 3 inches long and his legs were another 4/5 inches front and back. We were both really scared of it - it was that huge! We darted under the web and turned around to take photos. Rich got his big lens out and got some good shots, I, however, couldn’t zoom very far and neither of us wanted to go any closer so I’ve only got 2 mediocre shots, one of which isn’t focused particularly well. It made us all rather jittery for the next 10 minutes, any butterfly or dragonfly made us jump out of our skins! This was why I got the big stick - to wave around in front of me to make sure there were no more cobwebs!

After about an hour we came across a tribal village whose huts were arranged in a circle. All the women were sitting around smoking huge rolled cigarettes. Later in the day we found out it was marijuana. They wouldn’t let us take photos of them - which was a recurring theme for the rest of the day. For the next hour and a bit we were walking through fields and plains in search of the waterfall. In the end we enlisted the help of a boy in a field to set us on our way. We eventually came across another village - which had a road! This is the one on the GPS. Some kids and a guy, whom we met on the path, took us closer and closer to the waterfall.

Depending on where you read about them they are either 80m or 120m tall. They were superb, really huge, wide and powerful. It was an absolute mission to get to them. We approached the river (which was a large, deep raging torrent of water) and dumped out boots and proceeded to wade in up to our knees and then walk up stream by the bank to get a better shot. The foliage was so dense that it was impossible to walk on the land, so the river was the best shot. Ideally we wanted to get on the opposite bank to get a clear photo of the falls, but this was impossible, it would have been silly to try. We therefore decided to stand on a rock in the middle of the river so that we could get a clear, unobstructed, photo of the falls. This involved me wading up to my hips in extremely fast water. If I hadn’t been able to hold on to rocks, people or trees then there’d have been no way I could have stood in the river. After a lot of effort Rich and I, with our 3 guides, were able to stand on a large boulder in the middle and take shots of the waterfalls - our cameras got drenched by the spray. It was certainly an adventure, a really great day, it had everything!

We then walked back to Tadlo along the road (3km) and arrived at the Guest House at 1830-1900 after eating no lunch and only drinking 5 small bottles of pop - I’m knackered!