You know when there’s a particular place that you’ve had on your bucket list for years and you are so excited for the day you get to see it with your own eyes? For me this was Kuang Si falls, Luang Prabang in Laos.
These falls aren’t as well known as other tourist hotspots in South East Asia which is why you should visit asap! I was there earlier November which is considered high season and honestly, it really wasn’t that busy.
Visiting Kuang Si Falls
Kuang Si Falls are pretty much what Luang Prabang is known for and rocking up there at 10am on a Sunday (we had planned to make it there for opening at 8am but a few too many drinks the night before lead to a slow start, oops), I was thinking sh*t, this place is going to be overrun with tourists by now.
Oh how wrong I was! Yes there were other people around and I guess it was ‘busy’ by Laos standards but nowhere near what I was expecting. Luang Prabang, or Laos in general, is definitely still on the list of up and coming tourist destinations in my opinion and it was so cool to visit this gorgeous place while it still feels pretty raw.
So what do you need to know about heading to Kuang Si Falls in Laos…
How do you get there?
There are a few options when it comes to travelling to the Kuang Si Falls. We rented a scooter and went by bike. It took about 50 minutes from the centre of Luang Prabang town and the rental cost 80,000 kip which was pretty standard.
I would so highly recommend travelling on a scooter to get there, the drive is beyond beautiful!! I’m not the best scooter driver, I would still class myself as a learner lol, and I coped with the drive no problem. Although I did nearly run over a chicken, however that was very much it’s own fault. Chickens definitely should NOT cross the road.
If you really aren’t confident in riding a scooter then there is definitely the option to get a mini van there which you can book through pretty much any hotel or hostel.
Cost to visit Kuang Si Falls?
20,000 kip which converts to about $3.50 NZD so pretty cheap. You also get the added bonus of seeing some rescued bears in the sanctuary on your way in, fun.
Is it safe to swim?
Yes, you can’t swim everywhere though so take note of that. There are signs telling you where you can safely swim and there’s bound to be other people in the water as well to give you a bit of an idea. There is little fishy’s in the water that will nibble your toes if you stand still long enough though, be warned lol.
P.s my friend lost her glasses in the water cause the fish freaked her out, if you find them let me know TIA xo
Best time to visit Kuang Si Falls?
As I said earlier, we went to the falls on a Sunday thinking it would be crazy busy and it wasn’t, so going of that info I’d say you can pretty much go any time you like. We spent more or less the whole day here and interestingly enough, instead of getting busier as the day went on, it actually got quieter! By the time we left around 4pm there was only a few other people swimming.
Was it what I expected?
It was everything I expected and more! The water really is that gorgeous blue colour and for some reason I had in my mind that this place was only one waterfall but no, there are heaps of different waterfalls and areas to explore which makes it easy to find a quiet, relaxing spot.
Also if you’re feeling up for a bit of adventure you can hike to the top of the waterfall and there’s some more pools up there and a cute over the water swing. If you are feeling even more adventurous after that hike (we clearly were, hungover and all), you can keep walking another 3km to the spring water cave and pools.
The cave was a rather interesting experience…we were given torches and bananas, what the bananas were for, I’m still not sure. Then we walked up some stairs to the entrance of a very dark cave. After walking through this for what felt like a very long 30 seconds, we turned around and walked back out. I don’t do the dark and I don’t do tight spaces – why I thought this would be a good idea in the first place, I don’t know.
After our cave experience we headed to the much more relaxing spring water pool which was just across the ‘road’. The water was crystal clear and cool, making it the perfect place to swim. Only downfall is there was a lot of bugs here who love to land on you. All sorts of bugs, some I’d never seen before in my life… There was also a TON of butterflies which was super pretty, kind of made you feel like you’re in one of those Disney princess movies ha.
By this point you’ll probably be starving and I recommend grabbing food at the restaurant here, cheap and super yummy! It’ll fuel you for the walk back as well, then you’ve got another swim at Kuang Si Falls to look forward to.
All in all, I would go back to Kuang Si Falls in Laos in a heartbeat. It was so incredibly beautiful, everything I thought it would be and more! I have a feeling that in years to come, with the amount of tourists trekking through as tourism increases, there will be stricter rules on where you can and can’t swim.
To see this place in all of it’s beauty and to enjoy everything it has to offer, do yourself a favour and get there now! Even though there isn’t a ton of things to do in Luang Prabang it really is quite cool visiting a place where it still feels rather raw and stripped back.
Although who knows how long it’ll be like that for so that’s why I recommend booking that flight to Laos asap!
For more ideas on what you can do in South East Asia, find my other blog posts here.