Ponggur – the largest and most beautiful waterfall of Dalat
One of the main attractions of Dalat are the waterfalls in its vicinity. And the most beautiful and largest is undoubtedly Pongur waterfall.
To truly appreciate all the beauty of nature surrounding the small town in the mountains, which was once built by the French, you must visit all the waterfalls:
- the most beautiful – Pongur
- the most powerful – Elephantiasis.
- the most secluded – Gougah
- the most extreme – Datanla
- the most popular – Prenn.
Each of them deserves a separate story, so we will start with the waterfall that is recognized by the Vietnamese themselves and by many tourists as the most beautiful – Pongour Waterfall.
Many waterfalls are quite typical and do not have any zest. But the same cannot be said for Pongour Waterfall. Despite the fact that its height is only about 40 m, it is quite wide and reaches 100 m in width. Descending through 7 natural terraces water is capable of mesmerizing, and the opportunity to sit down or walk through several of them adds a special charm to the trip. Thanks to the close proximity of the cascades, there is virtually no splashing and no danger of getting wet during the walk. But we recommend you to be careful, as slippery rocks and water flow threaten to injure an awkward hiker.
You’ll be most impressed with Pongur Falls during the rainy season, which lasts from October to December. During that time, it is at its fullest and reaches its maximum size. Many Vietnamese say it was like this before a dam was built upstream. But even if you come at a different time, you still won’t regret driving fifty kilometers and visiting the waterfall and the lake below.
How to get there
Pongur Waterfall is located fifty kilometers from Dalat. Unfortunately or fortunately, local tour companies do not organize group visits to this Vietnamese natural wonder. However, you can rent a car with a driver or book an individual tour. On the way to the falls themselves you will meet other places worthy of attention and a short stop, such as coffee plantations.
If you are travelling by car or motorcycle, you have two options: follow the DT 725 freeway or take the short cut across the road to Prynne Falls, the most visited of the five. If you take the short route, follow the Thac Ponguor sign and then turn and drive another 6 km or so. Be careful as you might miss the signpost itself due to its not very convenient location. The newly renovated DT 725 road from Dalat will please you with low traffic.
Entrance to the park Ticket Office Ponggur Park Tickets
On the shore of the lake is a picnic area, several souvenir stores and local coffee shops. And on the way to the top of the waterfall, which will take about half an hour, the tired traveler can rest in the gazebos built near the road or on the benches. Please note that swimming in the lake itself is prohibited (although the Vietnamese break the ban).
The area of the park where Pongur Falls is located is quite large and there are almost no tourists here (because, as we said, there are no group tours). So on a normal weekday, there is almost no one at the waterfall, but if you suddenly decided to come on one of the Vietnamese holidays, be prepared for the crowds of locals who gather near the waterfall for a picnic, eating and drinking in large noisy companies.
Have a great vacation and plan your travels correctly and wisely!
A little video about the waterfall:
Since 2013, I have been living with my wife in different countries, including China, the Philippines, the USA, and Vietnam. I photograph and write about travel blogs.
Pongour Waterfall (Khu Du Lịch Thác Pongour, or Pongour Waterfall) is located about 50 kilometers from Dalat, South Vietnam. It is interesting with its cascades falling down the natural stone steps. Pongour is called “the most magnificent waterfall of Indochina”. It is low, but quite wide. It is especially beautiful during the rainy season. Pongur is surrounded on all sides by a nature park.
In this article I will describe all the features of this waterfall, tell you about how it appeared. You will learn how to get to it and what to see nearby. At the end, I will advise on how to organize the trip.
Description of the waterfall and its area
If you’ve ever been to Niagara Falls or visited Angel Falls, it’s unlikely that Pongur will cause you a frenzy of excitement. It can not be called a powerful, but in Vietnam and there are no powerful waterfalls. It’s just a nice and peaceful place away from the s o u t i o n.
Next I will tell you what Pongur looks like and then describe the area around it.
The waterfall is 40 meters high and 100 meters wide. The water rushes down seven stone ledges, forming cascades. Because of this, the locals call it Thien Thai, or Seven Stages. Climb to the top can be achieved in half an hour, go down – about 20 minutes.
During the rainy season – from June to October – Pongur is especially full. This is the best time to visit it. A lot of splashes rise from the water, forming steam. However, sometimes the streams are rusty brown in color, and it all looks not very attractive. During the dry season, Pongur is calmer, it dries up and turns into brooks.
The waterfall is located in the lowlands, so be prepared – it will be hot here even in the shade. You can climb the rocks and cool off under the streams of falling water. Bear in mind though that the rocks are slippery and it is not safe to climb them.
Warm and clear water falls into a small muddy lake. It used to be possible to swim in it. In March 2016, British tourists died here, after which Dalat authorities banned locals and tourists to enter the water. Everywhere at the foot you will see signs warning about safety regulations. It is best not to break these rules.
The falls are in a small park called Thac Pongour. It is surrounded by 25 hectares of pristine rainforest. You can hear the deafening singing of cicadas, exotic birds and big bright butterflies in the park. Here you can see bamboo and banana trees growing. In October, the ground near the waterfall is covered with bright golden flowers.
The road to Pongour skirts it on the north and west sides, and on the south side leads to the foot of the falls. A gate with the inscription “Khu Du Lịch Thác Pongour” (literally it translates as “Pongur Waterfall Resort”) leads to the waterfall area. In front of them is the parking lot. Next to it, the entrants are greeted by a gilded sculpture of a woman on a rhinoceros. Associated with it is a legend about Pongur, which I will tell a little later.
By the waterfall directly from the entrance gate leads a path sprinkled with gravel. Walk along it should be about a kilometer. The way is easy because you move uphill. Signs in English help you to find the waterfall. If you get tired, you can sit down to rest on a bench or hide from the bright sun in a gazebo, enjoy the beauty of nature. When the path ends, immediately begins a steep descent down a stone staircase to the valley, to the waterfall.
On the shore of the lake are picnic grounds, a number of souvenir stores and small coffee shops. Those who have reached the top of the waterfall by a special staircase or by its natural steps can visit the observation deck. From here you have a clear view of Pongur. There are several plateaus on which you can walk, take pictures and admire the waterfall.
The way back will be much harder. Therefore, there is a small truck waiting for tourists at the bottom to take everyone to the top. The cost is 15,000 VND per person. In the vicinity of the waterfall you can relax and take a walk. There are coffee plantations where you will see how Vietnamese coffee grows.
The History of the Waterfall
Next, I will tell you how Pongur Falls came to be and what its name is related to. You will learn the legends of these places, and then we will talk about the modern status of this attraction.
History of Origin
The falls originated from the Da Nhim River in the volcanic region of the Central Highlands. The Na Nhim Dam, which controls the flow, is located 10 kilometers from the waterfall. Before the dam was built, Ponggur was full year round.
The stones on which the water flows are very strong, almost indestructible, as formed by a strong igneous rock. During the colonization of Vietnam, the French discovered here a deposit of granite and kaolin (white clay). In fact, Pongur is an abandoned quarry where minerals used to be mined.
The name of the waterfall is not similar to Vietnamese. It is a French word that translates into Russian as “white clay. There are also mentions that the colonizers called this deposit the “king of kaolin.”
After the end of World War II, mining in the quarry ceased. Gradually the nature around began to recover, and the nearby river formed a waterfall here. Subsequently, the territory was ennobled and turned into a tourist site.
There is another deciphering of the name. In the language of the ancient Kho people who once lived here, pon gur means “four horns of a rhinoceros.
Legend has it that the local tribes were ruled by a beautiful woman named Kanai. Four rhinos helped her protect her people from enemies. But one full moon in mid-January, she suddenly died. The rhinos loyal to her died of grief after their lord. And in the morning they turned into stones, over which a waterfall flowed. Cascades of water formed from Kanai’s hair.
Next to Pongur is a large sculpture of a rider on a rhinoceros. This is Kanai.
What is interesting about the waterfall today
Every year on January 15, the day the heroine of the legend died, the people gather at the waterfall. Here they celebrate the celebration of spring, love, and prosperity. It is an occasion for couples in love, both young and old, to meet. Some people even specially come from other countries on this day. There are dancing and cooking contests and songs at the waterfall. If you will be in Dalat in mid-January, do not miss the opportunity to visit this event.
The waterfall is not only a place for national festivals, but also for Buddhists seeking solitude. Often in the dawn hours you can see monks praying here, standing directly under the jets of the life-giving waterfall. If you want to see the beauty and majesty of nature and enjoy the silence, it is better to visit Pongur at sunrise.
While the waterfall used to be known only to locals, in 2000 it was recognized as a national landmark and is open to visitors. Despite this, it is still sparsely populated. The fact is that Pongur is away from the popular tourist sites in the vicinity of Dalat.
In recent years, the waterfall began to take tours from Nha Trang, Mui Ne and other resorts. It is possible that soon it will be filled with souvenir shops, cafes and other institutions. But until that happens, you have the opportunity to visit this place in peace and quiet.
And how to do it, I’ll tell right now.
How to get to the waterfall
To get to Pongur, you can:
- take a cab
- take a bus
- rent a bike
- book an excursion
Below I will tell about these ways in details.
You can order a cab from Dalat. This is probably the most expensive way to get to the waterfall. In addition, you will have to arrange with the driver to wait while you walk at the waterfall. Otherwise it would be very expensive and expensive to order a cab from Dalat. If you don’t mind all this, I recommend taking a cab for the whole day. This service costs VND 1,000,000-1,200,000, but you can visit not only Pongur, but also other attractions in the region.
The cab ride to the waterfall is about an hour. You can call a car through a mobile app (such as Uber) or by phone.
Here are the contacts of the official taxi companies in Dalat:
- Dalat Taxi Company Phone: (+ 84 63) 355 66 55, (+ 84 63) 353 32 22 Website: www.dalattaxi.com.vn
- Dalattourist Company Telephone: (+84 63) 82 25 20 Website: www.dalattourist.com.vn
- Robin Hill Ward Telephone: (+84 63) 83 79 38
An inexpensive but very inconvenient way to get to the falls. You need to take a bus from Dalat to Bao Loc. From Dalat you need to get off at the Khu Hoa Binh terminal station.
Here are the route details:
- Bus departure times: 05:30 and 19:00
- The duration of the trip is about 1.5 hours
- The ticket price is 20,000 VND
Ask the driver to drop you off at the crossroads towards Pongur Falls. You will have to walk about 6 kilometers to your destination. You can walk for an hour and a half on the roadway or catch a passing car.
For more information on route numbers and additional fees, contact Phuong Trang Bus Company at (+84) 263.358.5858.
For those who know how to handle a bike, this method is ideal. You can ride at your own pace, stopping along the way, resting and admiring the beauty of nature. Take a raincoat, first aid kit, food and drink just in case.
When leaving Dalat, take Highway 20, then take Highway 260 and continue for another 6 kilometers to the waterfall. You can also take the Dien Bien Phu road to Ponggur. It goes past Elephant Falls and is shorter.
The cost of renting a bike for the whole day – from 100 000 to 120 000 VND. If you ride a bike, make sure you have a full tank of gas. You can rent a motorcycle at the hotel.
A convenient option for those who are not in Dalat. Travel agencies arrange sightseeing trips from popular resorts. As a rule, these are group excursions that include visits to several places. They can be one-day or multi-day.
You can find out about the possibility of organizing such a trip at your hotel reception.
You can also contact me. I offer 1 or 2 day excursions to Dalat. You don’t have to plan anything – I will arrange the transport myself, take care of the entrance tickets where they may be required, and give you details of all the sights we will visit. Pongur waterfall will be among them, of course.
What to see nearby
If you go a little further than the fork to Pongur, there is a settlement. There you can visit the Buddhist pagodas, as well as relax in a cafe. I want to elaborate on the Thiền Viện Long Tượng pagoda. It is the largest and most interesting.
Thiền Viện Long Tượng Pagoda
From the waterfall, the pagoda is about 3.5 kilometers in a straight line. At the entrance, visitors are greeted by a large white statue of the future Buddha Maitreya. Buddhists believe he will appear when there is complete enlightenment on Earth. The statue sits on a lotus-shaped pedestal set in a small pool.
Inside the pagoda in the center is the altar of Buddha. His statue is dark brown, almost black, also large. The Buddha is depicted seated. There is an aroma of incense in the temple, vases of flowers everywhere, and many pictures of dragons. There are dwarf bonsai trees and various flowers planted on the grounds of the pagoda. Visiting this temple you will know what a Buddhist pagoda is and enjoy the silence that is conducive to meditation.
- Address: Unnamed Rd,, Phú Hội, Đức Trọng, Lâm Đồng
- Admission is free.
To visit this pagoda, or not, is up to you. I won’t say it is truly unique. But there are almost no sights in the vicinity of Pongur. If you have time to spare, I suggest visiting the town of Dalat. It is a popular mountain resort, and you can spend a whole day there.