A visit to Kuang Si Falls is the perfect side trip from Luang Prabang. EVERYWHERE is town offers tuk-tuk rides and tours of the waterfalls for about $30 per person but the 29km journey is easily covered by motorbike which will set you back $12-15 per bike. We hired one bike between us so when you include the entrance fee to the falls ($2) we ended up doing the whole trip for about $8 each. Bikes are much more than twice the price to hire in Luang Prabang than in other areas of Laos and Cambodia but if you bargain hard you should get a pretty good deal.
The ride is pleasant, not too much traffic and lots to see along the way. When you arrive at the falls, there is a parking area near the market that charges something like 50 cents and gives you a receipt for your bike.
Once inside, the first pools you come across are stunningly turquoise with shallow ridges and dreamy clouds of pure-white butterflies. Continue just a few meters and you reach the swimming hole with THE best rope swing ever. It’s higher than it looks and the pool below is pretty icy but definitely worth the plunge! Everybody seems to give it a go, old men in speedos, chinese gangsters in arm bands and us of course! Some of us were graceful…..ish
Others, not so much…..
When you get used to the initial shock, the temperature is actually really refreshing. Theres even some proper changing rooms that would be pretty nice… however, (how can I say this in a politically correct manor?) a certain group of people who may live in a less modern area and aren’t used to modern standards of hygiene thought it was ok to wee on the floor.. in every changing cubicle.
Nevertheless, a bit further on and the trickling pools turn into a 200ft cascade!
It was pretty impressive from the bottom but a bit crowded so I grabbed Pippy long-stockings and headed up the path to the top.
It was a tough one but you can walk right across the top of the falls and down the other side! The water is only shallow but you wouldn’t want to slip on the rocks!
Totally worth the $2 entrance fee but as a super unexpected bonus…. there is also a sanctuary for rescues Sun Bears! Apparently they are hunted and used in Chinese medicine. It has been proven many times over that the bear bile isn’t at all effective and that synthetic reproductions are cheaper to produce and more effective but does that stop them? Of course not! These little beauties were just tucking into some fresh coconut when we arrived.
A visit to Kuang Si Falls is such a great way to spend a day and no visit to Luang Prabang would be complete without it. Just don’t forget your swimmers!