Kuang Si in Laos is the one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen. The water is such a gorgeous colour because as it flows over the limestone rocks it picks up particles containing high levels of calcium carbonate which reflect the light.
We booked a trip to the waterfall through our hotel in Luang Prabang. The minivan cost us 45,000 kip each (approximately £4) and picked us up at 11.30am. The driver was very friendly and taught us a few words in Lao. After about 30 minutes’ drive, we arrived at the waterfall area. Admission was 20,000 kip (less than £2).
The first thing you come to is the Kuang Si Bear rescue centre (admission free). There are around 10 rescued sun bears at the sanctuary, which have been confiscated from poachers. There was a chance to learn more about the barbaric treatment of the bears, which are poached for their bile and their paws. http://www.freethebears.org
It wasn’t a long walk to the first pool and as you approached it, you realised that you were in for a treat. The water is a milky turquoise colour and pristine. There are fish in the water that like to nibble the dead skin from your feet – a natural pedicure! I only paddled in the water but it was deliciously cool and the whole area was dappled with sunlight coming through the rainforest. It was idyllic.
As you walked up the hillside, there were more pools for swimming, a changing area with toilets, and a small café. There were lots of tourists there, however, and many of them were ignoring the danger signs and jumping into the water or climbing the rocks where they were explicitly told not to. The main attraction was at the top of the waterfall, a huge drop and then the water gently cascaded down the rocks to the pools below. It was stunning.
There were plenty of photograph opportunities and everyone was enjoying the water. Even those that weren’t swimming were having picnics by the falls and the kids were splashing around and playing with the fish.
In the car park, there were a lot of stalls selling refreshments, clothes and souvenirs. We bought some dried sweet potato chips which were very nice.
Overall it was a perfect trip out from Luang Prabang and I would definitely recommend it.