Pon is keen to tell me how lucky I am. “In the wet season, you cannot walk on this track,” he says. “But now, it is safe – we can go to the waterfall.”
This is the grand finale, the cherry-on-top reward at the end of a day’s trek. It’s a reward that feels greedy, however. The walk across the Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos begins with purposeful striding through the Arabica coffee plantations that mean relative prosperity for the local bean-growing co-operatives. This leads to the rocky, semi-barren landscape of the Dan Sin Say plateau, where cows mooch around with a flabby lack of menace, over stepping stones and down to the banana-fringed pool at the bottom of the Tad Cham Pi falls.
In a sweaty, sticky heat, this feels just about right. But we must press on. Tad Cham Pi is just a baby. If I want something truly impressive, then forging ahead to Tad Fane is imperative.
We get to the lookout; the twin falls daintily tumbling through the forest into a deep chasm are indeed impressive. But we can get closer.