Bo Bla Waterfall

First published May 2014 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle

Bo Bla Waterfall, Dalat

Bo Bla waterfall is 80km southwest of Dalat on Highway 20. Set in an undulating landscape covered in coffee plantations and dominated by the Di Linh Massif, these spectacular falls were once a major attraction for Vietnamese tour groups. Now, it seems, Bo Bla’s glory days have passed, and this once popular tourist site has been left to rot and decay in the sun and rain of the Central Highlands. The car park and entrance are now almost completely concealed by bushes and trees; there’s mild graffiti on the ticket kiosks; young lovers have carved their names into the concrete viewing huts; the steep, winding stairway down to the falls is blocked by fallen bamboo and banana trees; and the kitsch concrete elephants on the grassy bank by the falls have lost all their painted colour and a few of their tusks have fallen off.

Bo Bla Waterfall, Dalat

However, Bo Bla’s state of decay is great news for travellers, like me, who prefer their waterfalls to be empty of tourists and left in their natural state, rather than ‘embellished’ by fairground statues and ruined by trash. Indeed, the abandoned theme park feel of Bo Bla only adds to its appeal: there’s something of the magic and mystery of ‘Spirited Away’ about this place, and all the kitsch decorations look much better with age and neglect – it feels as though you’ve stumbled upon an ancient sacred site of ritual worship.

Bo Bla Waterfall, Dalat

The dilapidation of the tourist infrastructure is in stark contrast to the vitality of the falls themselves, which crash down onto volcanic rocks from a height of over 50 metres. There’s a wide pool at the base of the falls where you can bathe, watched over by the surreal concrete elephants. The river beyond the falls is rocky and shaded by big tropical trees with exposed roots reaching to the waters’ edge. This is a good spot for a picnic, although there’s still some rubbish around, left here by the not-so-thoughtful visitors who once descended upon this place when it was still a popular tourist site. The crumbling stairway down to the falls offers superb views of the cascade, glimpsed through dense foliage. Bo Bla is certainly the prettiest and also one of the most atmospheric of all the falls I visited in Lâm Đồng Province.

Bo Bla Waterfall, Dalat

There’s no admission charge as there’s no one here to man the ruined ticket kiosk. Young locals still visit from time to time for a romantic walk at dusk, but, if you come on a weekday morning or afternoon, you’ll have to entire site to yourself. The nearest town is Di Linh (10km) where you’ll find food and accommodation, including Juliet’s Villa Resort. You can take a local bus from Dalat to Di Linh and then find a motorbike taxi to take you to the falls. Or you can rent a motorbike or larger vehicle from Dalat and drive here yourself. The falls are a two hour drive from Dalat on Highway 20. The entrance is on Highway 20, opposite 208 Thôn 8, Xã Liên Đầm: [MAP]

Images of Bo Bla waterfall:

[Back to main article: Dalat’s Waterfalls]


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5 Responses to Bo Bla Waterfall

  1. Pingback: The Tết Classic: Lunar New Year Motorbike Loop » Vietnam Coracle

  2. Hayden says:

    Thanks for this Tom,

    Yazmine and I camped out here last night, right between the elephants.
    A group of young kids came down to fish, they gave us some fish and frogs to skewer and cook on the campfire.
    Had an awesome time.

  3. Daniel Wiens says:

    I just spent two nights camping down by the falls. You can find it on google maps as Thac Bo Bla and the parking area is about 6.5km past Di Linh on the left across the street from a small market.
    I was completely alone almost the entire time and only saw three tourists. A few guys live up top and work the fields and there was a group that came up the river to fish with nets every evening. Be carful of rain if you decide to camp though because the river can rise very quickly.

    • Hi Daniel,

      Glad you enjoyed the waterfall. Yes, it’s usually very quiet there, although sometimes on weekends and public holidays it is still popular with young Vietnamese groups picnicking by the falls.

      Enjoy the rest of your trip

      Tom

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