Sitting slap bang on the Cambodian-Lao frontier, the upper Mekong waterfall is a spectacle to behold, as its turquoise-blue stream cascades over a gauntlet of limestone rocks, frothing and churning as it races downstream.
Located in Preah Vihear province’s Preah Lean Community Forest, it is Cambodia’s largest waterfall with 26m of tiered rock-face, and goes by three names; the Sopheakmit waterfall, the Lbak Khoun waterfall and the Preah Nimith waterfall.
Previously, due to poor infrastructure leading to the waterfall, both local and international tourists who wanted to see the beautiful view had to travel via Laos to visit the site.
But a recently constructed road has now opened up this attraction for tourists and locals in Cambodia, says Kong Vibol, the provincial tourism department head.
“This cascade has been in Preah Vihear since the province was established in 1964. But at that time we did not have good infrastructure to reach there, it was quite hard to develop the community."
“According to primary school books, we call it Lbak Khoun. But the name Sopheakmit emerged when Steung Treng province officials brought tourists to the place and famous singers began writing songs using the name Sopheakmit. The name Preah Nimith occurred when the local community worked with tourism department to change its name back to the original one,” Vibol says.
He said that though the road is dusty and difficult, Preah Nimith waterfall welcomes visitors all year round, but between November and May, the water is at its most clear and calm.
To reach the waterfall, drive from Preah Vihear town on National Road 9 through the deserted Prey Long forest to Chhaeb II commune’s Dorng Plet village and continue on the dusty road roughly 65km from Steung Treng town.