Okay so the waterfalls of Luang Prabang were so stunning that they deserve their own post 🙂
Luang Prabang is one of my favorite cities for so many reasons but the nature has to be one the top ones. A group of us got a tuktuk from town to Kuang Si Waterfall.
It’s 23 km from town and takes approximately 45 minutes by tuk-tuk. I think we each paid about 45,000 kip for the roundtrip. It’s best to go with a group to keep the costs down- but no worries if your solo you can just walk into town and join a group as the driver doesn’t like to leave until its full (this is how I met one of my best friends traveling actually!)
note: pay the driver when you return to town, or pay half once arriving if you need to.
*When going with a big group of strangers it’s harder to negotiate a longer time to stick around-so try to do this ahead of time- usually the driver says 3 hours but we found 4 would have been much better *
Entrance fee is 20,000 kip
Upon arriving you will walk through Free the Bears sanctuary. This is free to visit as it is a non-profit and included in the admission to the falls. The bears here are rescued as a result of illegal hunting but also through human confrontation, deforestation, loss of habitat and for entertainment purposes. Definitely take at least ten minutes to walk through the sanctuary and see the bears up close with a better view than the first stop.
I heard there was also a butterfly garden which we wanted to see but had not enough time.
Exploring the Falls:
There are multiple different pools to visit and as we left the park we realized that we had missed some of the lower pools. At the main basin of the falls there are beautiful views of the water cascading down into the turquoise pool.
We decided to trek up the path to the right of the falls. After about 15-20 minutes in we found that we had gone in the wrong direction baring right instead of left at a fork. Another group told us to turn around- I’m not sure if we would have found something up there. I had read about a ‘secret pool’ which is behind a do not enter sign (I also read that some pools are considered sacred and there is no swimming in them- so this made me think twice about hopping the fence out of respect for the culture). I did see this on the way back down but we opted to back track to find the other path and head for the top of the falls.
The hike up to the top isn’t for the faint hearted. At least on the right side of the falls one portion we were climbing a nearly completely vertical incline. But we found on the way down that the left side of the falls have a more natural stair like structure!
After crossing some man made wooden bridges we arrives at the sparkling pools at the top. Though pretty busy with tourists it was still worth the views and if you took time to wade a bit further you could have some peace.