Us sitting by the falls
Pongour Falls is 50 km from Dalat—-a rather uninteresting ride repeating 30 km of the highway we were on for the Chicken Village. The street got crowded as we went through a town. I worried maybe there was a road we should turn off somewhere since the only directions we had were to go down the road to Saigon.
We stopped and asked a man. First he pointed back where we came from (there had been a turn off to some different falls). Then he seemed to change his mind and pointed the other way giving detailed directions (or what was assumed were detailed directions in Vietnamese. He drew a map-- 500 meters to a paved road on the right (pointed to a pavement and stomped showing it was hard). The falls were 6 km up that road. I thanked him in Vietnamese and he gave us a big smile. The turn off was probably more than 500 meters but aside from that his directions were perfect. There was also a big sign pointing the way-- a pleasant surprise.
The road became quiet and rural with fields on either side and a section covered with cow shit. We wondered if they kept the cows on the road at night.
The falls had no concrete sculptures to our relief. A forested path led past souvenir stalls and little cafes--though all pretty dead-- down to the falls. It was so empty I began wondering if the falls were there. I'd heard they were greatly reduced during the dry season-- maybe they were completely dry. A woman beckoned us to look at the view from her cafe. It looked down to a patch of river between hills but we didn't see any waterfalls.
As we approached the end of the trail, we heard the sound of a falls but not one as big as the photos. Pongour is the largest falls in the region. The falls were, due to the dry season, made up of two falls: one wide and cascading down terraces of rock and a narrow falls on the other side. Between the two were more rock terraces which during the rainy season would be covered with rushing water connecting the 2 falls into one huge one.
Section of Pongour Falls
It was a peaceful spot (with the exception of a loud group of young people banging drums and singing). The falls formed a pool that fluctuated between emerald and olive. The air felt hot and dry, though a bit of rain soon followed.
As we headed back up the path, Rowshan commented that the group was behaving like the Island of Yum-Yums.
“What?” I asked.
“Don't you know what a Yum-Yum is in Turkish?” he asked.
“People who eat other people”
We stopped at the view cafe and had delicious coffee with milk. The view had the added benefit of birds-- green, blue, yellow, and black zipping between the trees and calling out their songs. The hills rose green beyond the river and a tree with flowers like cotton candy added a touch of pink.
View of the river valley from a cafe
We headed back stopping to look at a view of the other falls from the busy town. We fondly watched for the chicken statue from the highway and chanted, “Chicken! Chicken!” when we saw it. Rowshan commented how it was so much better than just having bunches of political figure statues.
View of another waterfall