Of all the things you can see and do in Luang Prabang, the Kuang Si Waterfall is our undisputed favorite. We were really thrilled and can only recommend the waterfall to everyone. It’s really beautiful and there are several other reasons why a visit is mandatory.
Those reasons are:
– With a little luck you may even see (rare) plants and animals
– Unlike the Tad Sae Waterfall, the Kuang Si Waterfall has water all year round
– Once at the top you've the opportunity to relax on a raft and enjoy your surroundings
– It's without question one of the most beautiful waterfalls we have seen in our whole life
– Entry is cheap and there's an area in front of the waterfall with numerous dining options
That sounds pretty good right? Well, in reality it’s even a lot better and actually there are even more reasons. And that’s why we want to go more into detail, so you can imagine what awaits you. First of all: We made the cover picture by ourselves (like all the other pictures too) and didn’t edit anything. So the waterfall is really as beautiful as what you see in the photo. We could hardly believe it ourselves and initially thought that the pictures on Google don’t correspond to reality. Until we were on site and saw that that’s actually the case.
As it’s usual with large waterfalls, the Kuang Si Waterfall has several levels. Some of these levels are particularly beautiful but they’re all worth seeing. Your goal will be to get to the origin of the waterfall anyway. So on the way there you’ll see all levels. The paths to get to the origin of the waterfall are all walkable and signposted. You shouldn’t have any problem to get there. By the way, bathing is allowed on some of the levels. If you need a refreshment, just plunge into the water and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Since the waterfall is one of the most popular destinations among tourists, it can get a little crowded. Especially at the lower levels. If you want to avoid the crowds, try to come in the early morning.
In this video you can see some of the waterfalls levels. However, this is only a small taste of what awaits you. In our opinion, neither photos nor videos can capture the beauty of the waterfall. It’s simply not the same as when you are right there.
The origin of the Kuang Si Waterfall
Once you get to the top, you have reached the origin of the waterfall. Now you have two options. Either you walk a few kilometers through the jungle until you come to a restaurant and the Spring Water Cave or you ride a bamboo raft on the water and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere. Of course you can also do both. As you can see everything is signposted, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding the way. Since we were very exhausted that day, we only decided to take the raft and therefore can’t tell you much about the other option. Well, the ride on the raft was definitely worth it and also quite cheap. You’ll only have to pay 10,000 Kip (about 1.1 US dollars) per person. Since that’s really not much, there’s absolutely no reason to miss this activity.
Watch out for the yellow sign above! Below you can see the beautiful path that awaits you.
After paying, you step onto the raft and an elderly gentleman drives you around. Since only a certain number of people are allowed and the ferryman doesn’t wait until the raft is full, the ride is perfect for relaxing and enjoying the cold water. Usually there won’t be many people around anyway, since it’s a bit exhausting to get to the top. As you can see, the origin of the waterfall is a truly beautiful place. With a little luck, you can even see rare animals here. What kind of animals you can see on a sign that’s placed right in front of the ferryman’s hut. You can also buy drinks from the ferryman’s hut. So if you need some strengthening for the way down, you won’t have to bring much with you.
In this video you can see the ferryman driving us around. We were only two persons and that’s why everything was really calm and quiet. Since we really enjoyed the experience, we can only recommend it. You can put your feet in the cold water and just enjoy the stunning surroundings. By the way, you don’t have to worry about snakes. They’re some but no sea serpents and the others don’t come close to the water. At least that’s what the ferryman told us. If you like your ride too, don’t forget to give the ferryman a small tip. He’ll be really happy about it.
How to get to the Kuang Si Falls?
If you’re asking yourself this question, you’re probably in Luang Prabang right now. In this case, the waterfall is about 30 kilometers away from you. Doesn’t sound like that much at first. However, you should keep in mind that you’ll have to go through the mountains and there are hardly any real roads. If you aren’t a good driver and you don’t need the extra action, we advise you not to go there with a rented motorcycle or car. Most of the roads in Laos are not in good condition and the driving style of many locals is quite turbulent. If you’re not used to it, you could easily underestimate it. Especially since even as an experienced driver you need about an hour and a half for the route.
We therefore recommend you to do the same we did and simply take a taxi. Strictly speaking, there aren’t typical taxis in Luang Prabang, but you can simply approach a tuk tuk driver and tell him your destination. After negotiating the price, the tuk tuk will tell you, that with his vehicle he can’t drive the route (which is true) and will forward you to a taxi driver. Since the taxi driver drives a normal car, you can’t know by yourself that he’s actually a taxi driver. But don’t worry, you don’t have to pay more than the price already negotiated. At least as long as you don’t have any special requests. The price from Luang Prabang to the Kuang Si Waterfall is around 200,000 kip (about $ 22). Of course, you can bargain a little, but we don’t find it really necessary, since the price also includes the way back and the driver’s waiting time.
Attractions near the Kuang Si Falls
A visit to the Kuang Si Waterfall isn’t only great because of the waterfall itself, but also because there are other great attractions in the immediate vicinity. One that is right by the waterfall and that you simply can’t miss is the Luang Prabang Bear Sanctuary. The place is a rescue center for Asiatic black bears and sun bears, which are hunted because of their bile. Many bears have already been saved from the hands of criminals who maintain so-called bear farms to sell their bile to (among others) rich businessmen.
The fate of those bears is of course a sad thing, but luckily some of them got saved and now have the chance to live a better life. And that’s why it’s important that we support such organizations. Another great attraction near the waterfall is the Kuang Si Butterfly Park. It’s a beautiful place with a great atmosphere and lots of butterflies. You also have the opportunity to learn more about butterflies, eat delicious cake and relax in a natural fish spa. Unlike the Bear Rescue Center it’s not directly at the waterfall but probably a hundred meters away from it. Just ask your driver, he’ll surely know.
The Kuang Si falls open daily from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm. There’s only one exception and that’s Tuesday. On this day, the waterfall doesn’t open until 9 am.
Add another 10,000 kip if you want to take a raft trip at the origin of the waterfall.