The Pongour Falls are situated about 40km out of Dalat in southern Vietnam. Since they are a little out of town, the waterfalls are less touristy than their more accessible cousins (Prenn and Datanla). Ever since I came across the photo of the monks crossing the Pongour Falls, they have always been something that I have wanted to see one day. So, during our stay in Dalat in December, we made the half day trip out of the city and went to go get us some waterfall action.
To get to the falls from the city, you can take a local bus heading for Bảo Lộc for cheap cheap (20,000 pp). Buses are frequent and come every 10 minutes in the morning. We got on it at a stop slightly further down the road from the cathedral. Make sure you let the ticket lady know you’re heading to Pongour and they will tell you when you need to get off. Journey time takes about 90 minutes.
When you get off the bus, you will see some shops and a long road to your right. The waterfalls are about 6km down that road. Since we arrived so early, there were no taxi drivers lingering around to offer us a ride so we decided to start walking in the hope of finding someone to pick us up along the way. No one did. However, the walk was quite pleasant and we didn’t meet any angry stray dogs along the way either. We got to the entrance about an hour after we had set off where we paid a small fee of 10,000 dong to enter.
You might have read about the reduced flow of water at Pongour but luckily, this wasn’t a problem when we visited. It felt pretty therapeutic just watching the water stream down the terraced rocks and we decided to climb around some of the large boulders in the lake to get a better view.
It is also possible to clamber up the waterfall rocks. There is a sign that says it’s a ‘prohibited zone,’ but just go past that, crawl under the barbed wire, watch out for the ants and make your way up. Be wary, some of the rocks are slippy death traps. Apparently some people even swim in the waterfall pools but the water didn’t look all that enticing in all honesty.
In total, the whole trip took just over 5 hours and cost 90000. Although the water isn’t as majestic or sublime as captured by that long exposure shot, the Pongour falls are still a wonderful sight and definitely worth the trip out of Dalat.