Let me start by saying that seeing the Kuang Si Waterfall was part of an incredible three-week custom trip to Southeast Asia with Wildland Adventures that I just returned from this week. We visited the Kuang Si Falls on our last day in Laos and it was the perfect way to wrap up our time there. The falls consist of a 200 ft cascading travertine waterfall with several small falls and pools found below. The falls are about a 35-minute drive from Luang Prabang and then just a couple minutes of walking will get you there. This is a very easy spot to get to, which means it can get a little busy... So, make sure you get there early to really be able to take in all of its beauty.
Starting from the entrance you'll walk by several pools on your way up to the falls, each one with its own variation of electric turquoise water. Here is one of the first pools you'll come across.
There are several small wooden bridges that you can cross and each provides a good view up and down the pools.
Right about in the middle of the park you can take the trail left and stumble upon some bears! Bears with really long tongues...
The Tat Kuang Si rescue center is home to 23 rescued Asiatic Black Bears. Most of the bears arrived at the rescue center as very young cubs having been confiscated by the Lao Government from illegal poaching and trading. It is likely that they would otherwise have been destined for a terrible life in a "bile farm" outside of Laos. Funds raised by the center go towards improving the effectiveness of response towards the illegal wildlife trade, increasing environmental awareness and improving knowledge of wild bear populations within Laos.
Make sure to bring your bathing suit, the cool water makes for a great escape from the heat on a warm day. Secret of the pros, try sitting right below one of the small falls for an epic natural massage. On a side note, woman are not meant to wear bikinis at the falls and shoulders are supposed to be covered. Although, we saw about 80% just wearing bikinis and there were no issues. Maybe bring a shirt just in case, but times have changed and things are much more relaxed these days.
Once you reach the main falls you won't be disappointed with the photo opp.
For adventurers who want a little bit more exercise, make your way to the top of the falls. It's a steep hike, but shouldn't take more than 15-20 minutes.
At the top you'll find a couple more turquoise pools, some small bridges and maybe even a couple of monks taking in the peace and tranquility the falls have to offer. It's worth the hike and it also provides a great view of the surrounding mountains. After all, Laos is known for its mountains.
If you find yourself a little tired after the hike to the top, know that you can always take a little nap once you get down to the bottom with your new friends...
According to one local legend, Kuang Si Falls were formed when a wise old man revealed the waters of the Nam Si by digging deep into the earth. After the waters came to Kuang Si a beautiful golden deer made its home under a big rock that protruded from the falls. The sound of the water falling on this rock created an enchanting echo that drew people to the waterfall from as far away as China.
Tat Kuang Si gets its name from this legend. 'Tat' meaning waterfall, 'Kuang', meaning deer and 'Si' meaning 'dig'. Although, you won't see the big rock as it fell away in December 2001 after a small earthquake.
Stay tuned for more stories, photos and video from my adventures in Southeast Asia. Also, several of our trips to Laos visit the Kuang Si Falls and we're always happy to answer any questions you have about traveling to Laos.
Your friendly adventurer,
PS: If you want to give your taste buds an adventure, there is a small outdoor market at the entrance of Kuang Si Falls where you can find some interesting things.