Laos is one of those countries that just knocks you off your feet. From the friendly people to the gorgeous landscapes— everything about the country was just unreal beautiful. So when I heard someone say that the prettiest waterfall I would ever see was located just outside of Luang Prabang, I knew I had to go. And to be honest, all of the hype didn’t even do the Luang Prabang waterfalls justice. Kuang Si Falls needs to be on the top of your Southeast Asia bucket list!
How to get to Kuang Si Falls-
There are a few different ways you can get to the Kuang Si Waterfalls— by minivan, tuk tuk, or motorbike.
This is probably the most popular way of getting to the falls. You can find drivers walking around town or organize a pickup with your guesthouse. I found that I was able to negotiate price better closer to the leaving time, as the drivers wanted to make sure their van was full. This option should cost you 50,000- 70,000 Kip ($6-$9 USD) per a person. This is definitely the cheapest option for getting to the falls but you are only allowed to stay at the falls a set amount of time.
This option can be quite expensive depending on if you want to leave right away. If you want a private tuk tuk to the falls this can cost anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 Kip ($25- $37 USD) roundtrip.depending on your negotiating skills. The driver will wait around for an agreed upon amount of time while you visit the falls. However, if you are traveling solo you can find shared tuk tuks which will drive around to guesthouses to find other passengers before leaving. You would then split the above rate.
This option is great if you want to take your time at Kuang Si Waterfalls and really take in the scenery. You can rent a motorbike in town for around 125,000 Kip ($15 USD) but keep in mind that you will also have to fill it with petrol and pay to park it at the falls. I’ve heard that ride to the falls is really beautiful, so this option is definitely worth exploring.
Side note: If you decide to rent a scooter, please be careful. This isn’t your home country and road the traffic rules you are used to aren’t the norm here. Many backpackers hop on a scooter for the first time and take off, only to get in accidents on the less than perfect road conditions. Just be careful, stick to the side of the road and ride at a slow pace!
When to visit Kuang Si Falls-
The falls are at their prettiest during the dry season. If you visit during the rainy season you might not get the turquoise waters and nice swimming but you will certainly be awed by how powerful the falls are. The recommended time to visit by the locals is late December to late April but I visited in late November and the falls were beautiful. It’s all luck and how much rainfall they have had.
If you want to have Kuang Si Falls to yourself, visit in the early morning or just a bit before closing. This will help you to avoid the tour groups that can sometimes clog up the area. There are tons of food options and changing rooms available so you can totally come early and spend the whole day enjoying these gorgeous waterfalls.
Exploring the Kuang Si Waterfalls-
The entrance to the waterfalls is located just past the Black Bear sanctuary. The entrance fee is 20,000 Kip or around $2.50 USD.
The actual falls are located further back in the park but if you are hoping for a refreshing dip there are several stunning pools to swim in not too far from the entrance. The pools near the picnic area and changing rooms also have rope swings and a tree you can jump into the pools from.
I wanted to hike to the top of the falls so we skipped the pools for now and headed right for the big waterfall.
Let me just reiterate that this waterfall does not disappoint! It is still one of the most beautiful things I have ever scene.
If you want to climb to the top, don’t make the same mistake I did and take the path to the right which is a muddy almost vertical climb to the top. If you take the path to the left there are some stairs that will take you all the way to the top.
Side note: There were whispers about a secret pool that you could access by climbing the right-hand sign. I think I saw the entrance, but we didn’t go through as there were tons of climb at your own risk/ uneven ground signs in the area. I heard it is beautiful, so if you’re brave enough definitely check it out!
Read More: 20 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Laos
The view of the Laotian countryside from the top of Kuang Si Waterfalls is breathtaking. Up at the top, you can picnic and swim in some shallow pools depending on the time of year.
At the bottom of the stairs, there are many vendors selling food and drinks. It’s the perfect place to munch on some sticky rice and enjoy a Beer Lao before taking a refreshing dip in the turquoise pools!
Things to know:
- Many locals visit Kuang Si Falls on Sundays, so this is the most crowded day to visit. Try and avoid the weekend if you want a more quiet experience.
- Appropriate dress is appreciated. Laos culture is very conservative and while no one will say anything if you are wearing a bikini while swimming, it is appreciated if you remain covered up while walking around.
- You are not allowed to swim in all of the pools. Make sure to check for no swimming signs before you jump in anywhere.
- When you first arrive at Kuang Si Falls falls you are walked through a sanctuary for Black Bears that have been saved from illegal trading by the Laos government. The animals are rehabilitated here before being released back into the wild. The sanctuary doesn’t receive any of the funds from the waterfall entrance fee but there are t-shirts you can buy to support the cause.
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