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Kuang Si Waterfalls and Surrounds

Kuang Si Waterfalls - Luang Prabang

Kuang Si Waterfalls Day Out

Nestled deep within the lush jungles of northern Laos, the Kuang Si Waterfalls stand as a testament to nature’s unparalleled beauty and grandeur. Emerging from the heart of the countryside, these cascading falls have captivated the hearts of travelers from around the world, drawing them into a world of crystal-clear waters, vibrant turquoise pools, and serene natural surroundings.

Situated  29 km south of Luang Prabang, the trip out to Kuang Si Waterfalls takes visitors on a scenic drive through rural landscapes, traditional villages, and rolling hills that gradually give way to the entrance of the falls. Along the way, there are plenty of activities and stops to be made to turn this must-see attraction into a fun day out.

Tat Kuang Si Waterfalls

Laos has many waterfalls, but arguably one of the best is at Kuang Si. Stunningly beautiful, with multiple pools for swimming, this is definitely a must visit for any trip to Luang Prabang. Head out straight after breakfast, alongside fields where buffaloes graze and rice grows and the journey there offers many more reasons to make the trip.

From the entranceway, a forest walk winds up to the Kuang Si Falls where water cascades over limestone before falling in three tiers over 50 metres into a series of pools which are perfect for cooling off on a hot day. Legend has it that the falls were created when a village elder dug deep into the earth and the sound of the water, which could be heard as far away as China, drew a beautiful golden deer to make his home here. People came from all around and called it the Deer Dig Waterfall – Tat Kuang Si.

The Kuang Si Waterfalls cascade down multi-tiered limestone formations, creating a symphony of water and light that is nothing short of breathtaking. The falls consist of several tiers, each offering its own unique spectacle. The main falls plummet from a height of 60 meters, forming a powerful yet graceful display of nature’s force. As the water tumbles down, it creates a delicate mist that shimmers in the sunlight, painting rainbows across the landscape.

Perhaps the most enchanting feature of the Kuang Si Waterfalls is the series of turquoise-hued pools that form at the base of each tier. These natural pools, carved over millennia by the constant flow of water, beckon visitors to take a refreshing dip in their cool and inviting waters. The vivid blue and green hues are the result of mineral deposits from the limestone rocks, creating a mesmerizing contrast with the surrounding greenery.

The pools of Kuang Si Waterfalls offer a unique opportunity for travelers to cool off and unwind amidst nature’s beauty. While swimming is permitted in several of the lower pools, the highest tiers are left untouched to preserve their natural state. The lower pools, accessible via well-maintained wooden walkways, provide a serene escape where visitors can enjoy the sensation of being cradled by the gentle current. Bamboo bridges and rocky paths connect the pools, adding to the allure of exploration.

Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre

After a dip in the cool waters, walk up through the forest path which takes you through the bear sanctuary where rescued moon bears play and live a life far away from the tiny cages from which they were rescued. Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre was set up in 2003 and has since helped to rescue around 1,000 bears. Bear bile, from the gallbladders of live bears, is used in some Chinese medicine. The bears are rescued from these awful conditions, with the help of the Lao authorities and rehoused at the centre where they receive treatment and rehabilitation and can live out the rest of their lives happily.  For those looking for a special once-in-a-lifetime experience, consider or booking a tour at their multi-species sanctuary. This tour is the only opportunity to visit rescued sun bears, moon bears, red pandas and macaques. Details are on their website.

Laos Buffalo Dairy

On your way to Kuangsi Waterfalls from Luang Prabang, one of your first stops however should definitely be at the award winning Laos Buffalo Dairy. Stop here and have a buffalo milk ice-cream to cool you down, or maybe a cheese plate with a variety of cheeses all made on site. Try your hand at milking one of the buffaloes, feeding a baby or take a selfie when one comes up wanting to be stroked. Who can resist those dark brown eyes?  And while you are there, maybe find out about what they are doing for the community. They are committed to improving the lives of people in Laos through this initiative. As well as working with farmers to breed bigger, stronger buffaloes, they also focus on nutrition initiatives, particularly childhood nutrition.

Kuangsi Butterfly Park

The butterfly park is a short journey on from the buffaloes. As the mist from waterfalls running through the park provides a light refreshing spray, the wander along paths that wind past fish spas and butterflies dancing in the mottled shade around mossy rocks is an utter delight. The gardens are carefully planted to provide the perfect environment for the butterflies, but are also being developed to include herb gardens from the Kamu ethnic group.  After a Covid-induced closure, the Butterfly Park is scheduled to reopen on the 1st November 2022.

There is one more stop before the waterfall, which is the Carpe Diem Restaurant where French Lao Fusion food is served against a backdrop of pools for swimming and a stunning view of the falls.

Back to Luang Prabang

No trip to Luang Prabang is really complete without a meal at Tamarind. To finish off your day, have a Lao feast at their beautiful restaurant alongside the Nam Khan River, and if you plan to stay another day, maybe book a market tour and cooking course here for tomorrow, to learn how to create delicious Lao dishes for yourself.

Still not convinced to come and visit?  Then check out what the world is saying about why you should visit Laos now.

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