Although it's probably one of the top stops for most tourists visiting Luang Prabang, after nearly two weeks in the city (on and off) I had yet to visit Kuang Si Waterfall. I knew it was one of the must see destinations in town but my motivation for traveling out there was severely lacking. Mostly I was just being super lazy in figuring out what method of transport I wanted to take (tuk-tuk, mini van, bike, hike, motorbike), it seriously seemed like the possibilities were endless. I was nearing the end of my time in Luang Prabang and thought I might not actually make it out to see the gorgeous falls , that is ,before one of the boys from Big Brother Mouse saved the day.
After our morning session one of the boys asked me what my plans for the afternoon were. Honestly I had none but mentioned that I might go to the waterfall which caught his attention. "If you like we can go together" was his quick response. This is exactly what I was waiting for, not having to figure out my transportation method, going on my own (his) time and having a friend join me! Perfect. He dropped me off back at my hostel so I could change and eat lunch before we headed out for our afternoon adventure.
The drive out takes nearly an hour by motorbike and involves some long and winding roads, after we were about halfway there I was appreciating the fact that I was not on a bicycle. The views were spectacular but the road had seen better days, doing this by bike would have taken all day and left me tired and sweaty.
When we arrived at the waterfall there was a short walk to the top before we were awarded with an amazing view, and this was just the start of it all. The top level of the waterfall looks pretty standard, that is until you look up through the branches and realize just how many layers there are. As we began taking pictures mother nature started to tease us and open up one of her rain clouds, thankfully though it didn't last too long. A short walk down from the main waterfall is where you'll find the smaller waterfall pools which are much more unique and an amazing shade of blue. There was a group of Korean girls next to me which may have made it even more enjoyable. Their '와우', 'oohs' and 'ahhs' seemed to make it appear that much more beautiful, seriously though I miss that genuine excitement you so often hear in Korea.
Closer to the entrance you'll find a few different swimming holes, which provide for more entertainment, both in and outside of the water. There are two different pools open for swimming, complete with changing rooms, benches for sitting and plenty of photo ops. I took a quick dip in the first pool before we decided to move on to the second, larger pool, found a place for our bags and went to enjoy the water. Thanks to freezing temperatures and some curious little fish I didn't last too long in the water, but I found plenty of entertainment from the sidelines. Tourists made the most of a tree overlooking the waters edge by using it as a diving board and supplying me with some great photos.
By the end of the day we were both exhausted, amazing how a good dose of sun and swimming could do that to you. A few hours exploring the falls, swimming and taking pictures was enough time for us to call it a day. After another hour of driving through beautiful scenery we were swept back into the hustle and bustle of Luang Prabang. What started as a 'what will I do today' turned into one of the best days spent in Luang Prabang, all thanks to one of my many new friends at Big Brother Mouse!
Often overlooked on the backpacker trail, this is a destination to not be missed. Without the influence of 7/11, Mc Donalds or Starbucks this is a country that offers a raw, rich experience.