Pha Suam is one the few waterfall in the northern parts of the Bolaven Plateau. While the falls are not very high, it is nonetheless a very impressive site.
On Road 20 the signed out dirt road towards the falls are 35 km from Pakse and 50 km from Tad Lo. Coming from Tad Lo the road is on your right. Follow the road for a couple of kms and you get to a car park, with the usual places for the bikes (in the shade).
For the main area of the fall follow the path and crossing the bamboo suspension bridge (it might not look like that, but it is very safe). From the bridge you get the first view of the falls. Rather one or two large falls where the water crushes down 50 or 100m Pha Suam is U-shaped and the water comes down from all thee sides. With the river above it looks very impressive, and beautiful.
Once crossed the bridge there is a little seating areas with benches with a nice view. You can also walk along the pool to get closer to the falls. If you do not mind getting wet feet you can actually walk towards the edge, which gives a nice view over the river, falls, pool and bridge. In this corner you will also find a little shop selling water and souvenirs.
On this side next to the bridge is also a lovely restaurant. I am usually not a big fan of such places, but this one is actually nicely done with a nice atmosphere. You can either sit on some normal tables, or you head up the platform where you can see a number low-level table, however there is lower floor underneath the table, so you can comfortable sit here. The food is normal priced, and actually quite good. So if you need a place for a wee lunch break, that wouldn’t be a bad place.
There is also another area to see the falls from. Before you cross the bridge from the parking lot, turn left and you see the stream on your right. You can easily get there, and in the afternoon you see quite a few locals swimming or washing their cloth. Here you can wade through the water (or walking over some rocks to keep your feet dry) to get to the edge of the waterfall. On this side it is actually a little bit easier to find a dry rock to sit down, legs hanging down the falls. I actually preferred that side of the falls. Obviously be careful…the rocks are slippery.
Overall I like Pha Suam. There is a nice set up with stalls and a nice restaurant, but the whole area has a peaceful setting. The waterfall is actually beautiful with its U-shape, and the ability to get to the edge and sitting down, feet down, is great to relax. Though, this might not be as easy during the rainy season. If you are in the northern area of the Bolaven Plateau do not miss this waterfall.
(Visited November 2013)