On our second day in Luang Prabang we took an impromptu trip to Kuang Si Waterfalls. We foolishly attempted to walk there in the morning, thinking (thanks to some terrible accuracy on Google Maps) that the site of Kuang Si was only a few kilometers away. Low and behold after an hour and half of walking we were informed by a taxi driver of the actual location, a good 30 kilometers away. I thought the tree and the solo shop in the middle of the road looked like a rather disappointing tourist attraction upon arrival.
What a great waste of time :). We found out the the taxi bus driver was planning to take some tourists there soon (apparently within the next 15 minutes) and luckily we managed to get a considerable discount on the ride – it only cost us about £2.20 each in the end. Although he had made us promise to not say anything to the hotel guests he was due to pick up soon, as they had paid much more than us, rightfully so, as we ended up waiting 1:20 hr for them to get out of the hotel room and jump into the taxi bus. In this time Courtney decided to leave and got her money back, she was pushing it too fine to be able to get back in time for her Coach later that day. Back to just the two of us and ready to take in and enjoy some picturesque falling water in Laos.
The drive from the centre took just over an hour, was bumpy as heck and involved some jack the lad British backpackers discussing their next female conquest (thanks for representing us so well lads), to their slightly disgusted female pals. Cue awkward smiling for 30 minutes as we try to not get involved in their sexist boasting, I can’t even remember now where the conversation progressed to, however one of the girls did have some cool stories about her life in Australia. By the time we arrived it was slightly cooler, but a while off before the obvious storm some miles down the road would reach us. The entrance gave way to a make shift street, set up for tourists by the looks of things and so we thought this would be a good chance to grab some food.
Little did I know, some little critter thought the same. I am not sure what bit me, but I felt an almighty sharp pain on my stomach and when I looked down I had a nice little bright red circle and a sharp twinge which lasted a good half hour.
We paid our entrance fee which was around £1.50 each and made our way into the park, which was surrounded by some luscious fauna and flora (I’ve been meaning to use that saying for a while now – everyone keeps saying it everywhere!)
They kept us amused for a fairly long time, but after about 160 photos we decided to make our way a little further into the park, as we only had 3 hours before our taxi bus ride would leave and head back to Luang Prabang city centre. So we followed our ears to the sound of crashing water in the distance and within minutes we got a glimpse of the first few springs and small falls.
Once we had passed the first few tame looking waterfalls, which looked tantalisingly inviting by the way, we started to hear the true force of mother nature. We could tell the next one was a big one, although I can’t imagine how loud Niagara Falls or Victoria Falls must be, as these were still babies compared to those natural monsters, nonetheless the sight of this one was mesmerising. The sun was glittering down on the crashing water and the spray was hitting us from 20 metres away. The only sounds we could hear were those of the singing birds trying to communicate over the harsh bashing of the water smashing down. It was certainly one of the most scenic waterfalls I had ever seen in person and maybe also even in pictures.
A few selfies and many pictures later, another adventure had started, this time we found ourselves wandering round the edge of the falls and heading upwards, seeing if we could make it to the top. The one thing tempting us up and down in good time was the potential refreshing dip on the way out of the park, as many were already swimming in the pools at the foot of the smaller falls. Finally some water we could have a dip in, pleasing after some teasing time out on our 2 Day Slow Boat Ride from Thailand.
The climb was strenuous and some parts were unbelievably slippery, at times we almost came tumbling or gliding down as our feet lost traction on the slimy rocks. There were some well placed handles and chains to guide us up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there had been a few falls already that day. The struggle didn’t stop at the top either, as when we made our way to the summit, we turned the corner to follow the fading path and saw that we could actually reach the point where the waterfalls start, but would need to hop some shady looking rocks first.
I feared for my iPhone’s life at many points and thought we would be leaving with something electrical not working, luckily we made it, but only with our upper half’s dry, as we had to wade through some pretty deep parts towards the end.
Our resting point from there was nature’s very own infinity pool, as the water we were sitting in would flow to edge, then just stop at the last few rocks and disappear as gravity would take over for a few seconds. The view on the other hand was more spectacular than most infinity pools have on offer. In the distance were jungle filled mountains, above was a blue sky to one side and on the other were dark grey clouds pushing their way towards us. To our sides all we could see was nature at it’s most colourful best and below was the sight and sound of cascading water dropping 50 metres. All there was to do now was sit back in silence, enjoy the view and take in the clean brisk air.
As we reached the more intense decline our stroll turned into a gallop, then into a race as we hopped from rock to rock trying to beat each other to the next tree, probably not the wisest move but we survived. We reached the bottom in record time and headed for the biggest pool we saw on our first way through. This one was enticing as it had a tree hanging over the edge of the pool and was obviously the prime spot for travelers to leap in from. Clothes off, bag safely looked after, we queued up one by one and after a quick glance down (never look down, never), then a ponderous minute seeing if the water below was deep enough, I jumped, followed shortly after by Mel. Then repeated 2 or three times.
On our final way out of the pool we both stopped to enjoy the refreshing water and take it all in, when suddenly I was becoming a meal for the second time that day. MY feet were being attacked (some might say exfoliated) by these not so little fishes, so I bolted out yelping like a little girl, whilst Mel just smiled and sat back, seeming to enjoy having her feet eaten tiny little bit by tiny little bit. At least she didn’t have to pay for it like some loony’s.
As we made our way back to the taxi bus, the grey clouds had finally caught up with us and before a drop of rain had hit the floor the heavens opened up and the mightiest smashes of thunder drowned out everything as lightning lit up the now bleak sky. What followed was the first rain we had seen in 3 months, we looked weirdly excited and happy about this, as everyone else began to run for the car park.