On December 5th we had planned a whole day out, as it was our anniversary and thought a ride in the sun to see the surrounding sights of Luang Prabang was the best option. It definitely was! We rented a bike from our hostel, just your standard scooter with a 125cc engine for 120,000KP (bloody expensive, but we found everything in Laos a bit more expensive) and headed on our way. The roads in Laos are a joke anyway and this route was no exception, you spend more time avoiding pot holes than you do looking at the incredible views. The minute you look up to check on the scenery BANG your down a hole, so be careful! When you do pull over to check out the view it is incredible, surrounded by mountains with the Mekong river running through the middle, it is a spectacular place to visit. We were heading towards the Kuang Si waterfall which is situated about 30km out of Luang Prabang. The journey took around 1 hour 30 mins with one small break. The roads are small and windy and you will get stuck behind a lorry or two. Once you arrive, drive your scooter to the top and park in the car park to the left, it’s only 2,000 to park. If you park lower down where the taxi’s are you’ll get charged a lot more. The entrance fee to gain access to the waterfall along with a bear sanctuary (which was an amazing bonus) was 10,000 per person, so less than £1! Great value for a full day out.
Once entering you come to the bear sanctuary, we really enjoyed it. We thought there may be a couple of areas with 2 or 3 bears in. How wrong we were! There were 4 big outdoor areas and a few indoor rooms with glass viewing panels. There must have been 20+ bears, of a few different varieties, my favourite being the moon bears which were trying to balance on any object they could find. They seem to be doing an amazing job there, really showing the horrors of the bile trade and the conditions the bears were living in before being rescued.
Once you pass through the bear sanctuary you come to three picturesque pools with small waterfalls entering each. The water is turquoise blue and surprisingly chilly, but you have to get in. There are changing rooms on the side so prepare and bring some spare clothes, as on a hot day you will want to get in.
BEWARE there are little fish that give you one heck of a surprise. They will nibble the hell out of your feet and legs! We weren’t expecting it and was the funniest shock.
Once you move on from the beautiful swimming pools you walk through to a colossal 50m plus waterfall. You can’t swim near this one unfortunately as the water is way too ferocious. The site of it was enough, our pictures don’t quite do it justice. It was amazing.
There are stairways either side, we took a trek to the top hoping to gain a better view of the falls from the side or above but unfortunately there were no such views. A good hike but not much to see apart from sweaty Chinese tourists giving up half way and heading back to their buses. From the falls we headed back towards LP to the Mekong sunset point. You can find it by typing it in on google maps or Maps.me. You have to pay 10,000 to get across the bamboo bridge, the bridge is only here in dry season, during wet season they have to take it down as the waters would wash it away. I honestly thought I was going to fall through parts of it, but it must be genuinely safe as there were quite a few people on the other side.
The view across the Mekong was incredible! The whole landscape turned from green to orange to pink to pitch black within minutes. We got there around 5pm, sun went down around 5.20pm, so make sure your timings are correct. You don’t want to miss out. It was the perfect way to end our day in Luang Prabang.