If you’re in Luang Prabang, Laos, and looking for a good day trip outside of town, Kuang Si Waterfall is probably the go to place. You’ll no doubt get asked about a hundred times if you want to go and see the waterfall when you’re walking along the streets in town, so you definitely won’t have any trouble getting there. It’s also a very popular place these days, so finding someone to share the cost of the ride is fairly easy as well.
After a very picturesque drive through the countryside surrounding Luang Prabang, you arrive at a parking area with plenty of restaurants and food stalls. Once you’ve paid your entry fee, it’s only a short walk through the jungle to reach the falls; but don’t rush straight to the falls. Make sure to stop in at the bear sanctuary on the way to check out the rescued Sun Bears, and if you can, make a donation to help them out. The sanctuary does a great job and the bears look really happy.
I first visited Kuang Si when I visited Luang Prabang back in 2011, but I returned with my wife during my recent return to Laos. Back in 2011, there were probably about ten other tourists there with me. This time around the place was packed. Still, the crowds can’t really take away the beauty of the place.
The best way to experience Kuang Si is to follow the stream along from the bear sanctuary where the water flows over a series of beautiful cascades, resulting in lots of cool refreshing swimming holes to take a dip in. The most popular swimming hole has a pretty awesome rope swing that’s worth a go.
From there, continue walking along the jungle path upstream to Kuang Si Waterfall itself. It’s pretty spectacular, particularly in the wet season when there is a lot of water coming down the stream.
Most tours to Kuang Si allow you to stay for about three hours, which is more than enough time, but if you wanted to stay and cool off in the crystal clear water all day, you could easily do it. Just get your own driver for the day in Luang Prabang and you can stay for as long as you want, cooling off in paradise. Not a bad way to spend the day.