Kuang Si Falls, I found it, along with other sights to see in Luang Prabang, Laos, on Trip Advisor. The water looked pristine and cool. I quickly jotted down notes about it in my notebook. But wait, it’s far from the backpackers’ area. I had to rent a songthaew to be able to get there. There was a little budget constraint. I almost erased it from the list.
Few weeks later, I was already there. My company didn’t want to go out that morning. She must have been feeling so tired after we took a plane from Hanoi the night before. She wanted to sleep and rest but I wanted to explore. So I went out and noticed a sign of arranged trips to Kuang Si Falls in the reception of the hostel for 40,000 kip. I inquired and booked a trip which will commence the afternoon of that day. The guy said I didn’t have to pay yet. I just needed to make sure I would be there before the tuktuk comes to pick me up along with the rest of the people who booked the trip.
I tried to walk around the streets of Luang Prabang to kill time. It looked like the Philippines I must say-fruit vendors along the road, Filipino-looking locals less the pack of Westerners bustling around the area. I found this spot beside the street filled with small stores of food and drinks-from their heavenly crepes which were outrageously delicious and cheap to fruit shakes and humongous sandwiches. Everything was basically good yet affordable. I had a taste of one of their crepes, the Nutella-Banana-Peanut Butter crepe and a watermelon shake. Man, I made one of the best decisions of my life.
While I was eating, two young ladies approached a foreign couple sitting and eating across my table. I heard them ask the guy if they were interested in going to Kuang Si Falls. The guy said they’ve been there and so off they went. At first, I wondered why they didn’t ask me. Well, probably they thought I’m a local. Anyway, I would’ve said no because I already have a booked tour.
After a while, I saw them with a group of other young backpackers. They must’ve found enough people to chip in for the fare. They were trying to “threaten” the driver that they will find another vehicle if he doesn’t agree with their price. Cool kids!
I thought of tagging along with them and forego my booked trip. I cannot afford killing more time. So I hurriedly finish my crepe and ran towards them. It was a quick conversation between me, them and the driver which ended to us walking across the street looking for another driver who would agree to our price. We found one right away.
We finally got the chance to ask questions to each other. Their names were Lisa and Jean-Jean as in Jean Claud van Dam which I kept on insisting to be Jean, as in Jean Gray of X-men (what a busybody I was, hahaha!). They were Germans, and they were kind of nice. They told me how they got to Luang Prabang from Hanoi. They took a bus instead of taking a plane and I realized I made the right decision to shell out a few more bucks for the plane. The bus ride was like hell as per the video they showed me.
We finally arrived at Kuang Si Falls after a more or less thirty minute trip. There was an entrance fee of 20,000 kip payable upon entering the gate and a short trek going to the falls. We passed by the Asiatic Black Bear Rescue Center, a center for rescued black bears from poachers and traffickers. They roam around a large enclosure with wooden and tire swings, drums and improvised hammocks. Parents and children enjoyed watching the bears as they play, sleep and eat.
We reached the falls after a few minutes of walking. Every stop was worth taking pictures-clean turquoise water with lush green backdrops, a number of smaller cascades that flows to a calm basin. There were areas where swimming is not allowed so tourists swam in an area near the main cascade. There were tables and chairs beside the swimming area. Changing rooms, restaurants and rooms were also available nearby. A large tree trunk extending right on top of the basin were used by tourists to jump into the water.
In front of the main cascade was a small platform with benches and a bridge that connects one end to the other where you can trek up to the crest of the waterfall. I didn’t go all the way up. I hate climbing. However, the two German girls did. It was a relief when they came back and told me there’s nothing special up there.
I stayed for a while, sitting and admiring the natural beauty of the waterfall and occasionally walking around to take pictures, lots of them.
There were different stores outside-restaurants, souvenir shops, etc. You can grab your lunch or snack anywhere there before going back.