Posted by: adventuressetravels | June 1, 2012

Cascades, Connections and, Cornucopias

The largest waterfall in Vietnam is surprisingly poorly marked.   It’s possible to take a tour bus there, but the trip is a lot more fun by scooter.

Visitors take an unmarked little road off the main road, then another unmarked turnoff.  You practically have to have a 6th sense or know where it is to find the cataract.  A 6th sense, or no fear of asking people on the road – people who almost certainly don’t speak English.  I find gestures and facial expressions go a long way but mime training might come in quite handy.

Dray Sap Waterfall cascades over an impressively vast area during rainy season.  Unfortunately, my travel partner and I had arrived at the tail end of dry season, the most arid time of year.  More than half the cliff face was exposed, with only a few trickles running over, teasing us about what we had missed.  But that would be looking at the glass as half-empty.  To be a traveler is to roll with the punches and learn the special way of tilting your head to see the glass as not only half-full, but brimming with delicious nectar.

The hot humid day wasn’t nearly as bad riding the scooter we had driven to the falls, but as soon as we stopped the heat enveloped us.  Since the cascades weren’t plunging with dangerous force into the pool below, this seemed like a perfect time to go for a dip and wash the dusty road grime off.

The water was delightfully cool and exactly what we needed on the hot May afternoon.  Though the current was surprisingly strong in certain places, it was fun to swim against it, almost as if you were swimming on a treadmill.   I marveled at the lush green water lilies, and the graceful dragonflies that perched on their pale violet flowers.

After a good nice swim we backtracked across the park bridge to explore the other, more robust side of the waterfall.  Though not at their height, water still gushed impressively over these cliffs, and fishermen lined the banks, both above the fall, their lines hanging over the cliff into the depth below, and around the bottom of the falls.

As we were taking pictures a Vietnamese man who was sitting on some of the boulders began to talk with us in broken English.  He and two of his friends were at the falls for a long weekend, they had taken the bus from Saigon and were soaking in the clean air and cleansing natural world.  Did we want to join them for a snack?

The man and his friends were so nice that we couldn’t very well refuse so we all sat on the boulders watching curious little gold and red lizards make lightening dashes around the rocks.  Even though our new friends spoke a minimal amount of English, and our Vietnamese was all-but nonexistent, we enjoyed each other’s company.  Sharing food is one of the most basic connections and demonstrations of friendship and these wonderful people were quick to accept us into their group and share their fruit picnic.

We regretted that we didn’t have anything to offer them but that by no means prevented us from thoroughly enjoying the veritable cornucopia of fruit our new friends had brought:  mangoes, red-hair-fringed rambutan, glorious purple mangosteens, little miniature green apple-like fruit, and several other varieties, all perfectly ripe, sweet, and delectable.

My travel companion marveled once again at nature’s perfection; that the top scientists in the world flavor creations paled in comparison to what nature effortlessly produced.  Sticky orange, tantalizingly musky-sweet mango juice running down my chin, I couldn’t agree more.

Surprisingly this side of the waterfall seemed swimmable as well, but I decided against getting my swimming suit wetter than it already was.  Besides, navigating my way around fishing lines and hooks and scaring fish, if not skewering myself did not seem like the best way to make friends.

Instead we opted for exploring the woodland trails, and making our way to the top of the waterfall

Though we may have missed Dray Sap at its full glory, at any time of the year the waterfall is well worth the 30,000 dong ($1.50) entrance fee.  To be honest, I’m almost glad that we came at low season.  I find it much easier to appreciate natural beauty when people aren’t swarming like ants over a candy bar.   And having the place practically to yourself you may happen upon wonderful things.  Hidden elephants, for example…


  1. Could you caption the pictures? I think the last one was a banyan tree.

  2. For the small out of the wat places in life are the best experiences, of which you portrayed so well here, Sally.

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