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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

My Experience: Kuang Si Waterfalls, Laos

Out of all the places I visited in Laos, the Kuang Si Waterfalls in Luang Prabang were definitely at the top of my favourites list. Located 29km south of Luang Prabang, the waterfalls were a 30 minute drive from the centre in a tuk tuk (Thai equivalent of a taxi) or there was the option to hire out a moped and drive there yourself. Lewis and I chose to take the easier option and took a tuk tuk to the falls - tuk tuks are super easy to find and hire; we pretty much just walked outside of our guest house and came across one offering to take us to the waterfalls for a reasonable price (after some haggling!). Our journey to the falls was the first time I was able to properly see a little bit of Laos after landing there the day before, and there was a real natural beauty about it. We passed through small, dusty villages where children played bare foot and local women sold fruit and vegetables on the roads. We drove past rice fields that spread out as far as the eye could see and watched as locals tended to their crops and fished in lakes and rivers. Occasionally we passed a beautiful statue of a Buddha or could see a grand temple in the distance, surrounded by the incredible mountain backdrop. There was an unspoiled, natural beauty about Laos and I loved it.

On our arrival at the falls we paid 20,000 kip (£2.00) each to one of the locals, which goes towards maintaining the bridges and walkways throughout the falls. We walked up to the starting trail which lead to the waterfall and pools and, suddenly, we were surrounded by luscious jungle and beautiful green plants. It was around 4pm so the air was starting to cool and the sun was losing its height, casting subtle shadows and highlighting the tropical greenery all around us. To say the trail seemed inviting would be an understatement! We followed the trail for a couple of minutes, and then came across the famous bear sanctuary that is situated on route to the falls. The sanctuary holds two Asian black bears that were rescued from poachers. We glanced in the enclosures on our way through but couldn't see any bears so decided to carry on. Just as we were following the trail away from the sanctuary and on to the falls, a big black ball of fur caught our eye - there was a bear in one of the top enclosures! We walked slightly off the trail to get closer and have a look, watching it play clumsily on a big piece of wood. One thing I'd never noticed about bears before is just how long and sharp their claws are. We headed back onto the trail and carried on walking through the impressive jungle and greenery.

After a couple of minutes the trail opened out and we came across the first and lowest azure pool. We both stood in awe as we admired the beautiful, layered pools cascading clear, turquoise water. The air had cooled even more now that we were near water which was both refreshing and rejuvenating, and our surroundings seemed so... alive. The noise of the wildlife around us was buzzing with atmosphere - there were birds tweeting, crickets calling, lizards crackling leaves as they scurried past. The soothing sounds of the water trickling and gushing through the pools wet my appetite for a swim. All of my senses seemed to be heightened while surrounded by this beautiful bubble of nature - the plants were greener and more vibrant and the water was clearer than any I'd seen before, the air was dense with moisture and what seemed like magic and the sun was dancing elegantly in the trees casting beautiful shadows. And there was hardly anyone around! After I'd managed to take my eyes away from the fairytale-esque scene in front of us, I noticed that there were only a couple of quiet people taking photos and absorbing the nature around them. Not at all the tourist trap I was expecting! After admiring the pool for a little longer, we decided to go on to the next.




The next pool opened out even more - again there was the same beautiful clear water cascading off white limestone rocks and into a turquoise lagoon. The jungle and wildlife was still, if not more, vibrant and atmospheric. There were a couple of people swimming and climbing the rocks and Lewis and I decided that the water looked far too refreshing and lovely to not go for a swim there and then. We got into our swimwear and climbed over some (very slippery) rocks, and then we were in. The water was deliciously cold - although the air had cooled slightly it was still humid and warm, and the chilled water felt refreshing on my skin. We swam around for a bit, before stopping to marvel the beautiful nature around us and to take a moment together. Now that my body was engulfed in the turquoise water I felt even more in awe of my surroundings - it was a whole different angle, and it was beautiful.




After our swim we headed to the main waterfall, which was just a little bit further up the trail. This time the trail opened out to a little wooden platform with benches, a long bridge and one of the most incredible scenes I have ever seen in my life. The bridge was the best viewing spot for the waterfall, so we walked across it and stopped in the middle to admire. Before us was a mountain (literally) of rocks, with that same beautiful clear water cascading off them into a turquoise pool below. The waterfall was huge (200 feet, in fact) and considering I'd never seen a proper waterfall before, this was a pretty impressive first. The huge waterfall was surrounded by the same luscious, dense Laotian jungle and, honestly, it felt like a natural wonderland. We both stood and took in the view, listening to the loud gushing of the water as it hit the rocks and flooded into the pools below. The word 'special' didn't even come close to that moment. After admiring the waterfall and wandering down to see the other pools again, the sun started to drop and the sky began to darken. We had one last walk around, both soaking up the nature surrounding us - I felt so inspired and awakened by its natural beauty. By the time we left the sun was setting, so we finished our day with some beers and a walk around the night market. That was definitely one of my most favourite days of my life. 





34 comments:

  1. wow this is amazing! I wish I had more opportunities (and money) to travel. That water is so pretty <3

    -Kirsten // pork & cookies

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  2. Wow, what beautiful waterfalls. They look like the ones we climbed in Jamaica.

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  3. omg what i would give to go there your so lucky to be able to experience it x

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  4. Oh my goodness what a fabulous place. The waterfalls look absolutely stunning x

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  5. wow wow wow and wow again - did I say WOW yet?? These photos are spectacular, what a stunning place!!

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  6. This sounds amazing! I would love to visit a waterfall one day.

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  7. Oh WOW! This place look a just amazing and your photos are stunning. What an experience to have. X

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  8. Oh my goodness, that waterfall looks breathtaking! What an amazing place to have visited x

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  9. That just takes your breath away! It is so beautiful. I promised myself i'd travel more after graduating but a few different reasons like money and family commitments have held me back. This just shows you need to take the leap! x

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  10. It looks amazing, glad to see you had a fab time x

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  11. Stunning photos what a gorgeous place to visit it looks like u had a fab time

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  12. Wow what an incredible place! You are so lucky to have visited there!

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  13. Oh my goodness .. the waterfalls are stunning! I had no idea Laos was so beautiful. Thanks for sharing your photos!

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  14. The waterfalls look absolutely beautiful and it's nice that you got to have a little swim there x

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  15. Looks beautiful maybe when my children are older I will visit places like this xx

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  16. OMG your photos are incredible! I'm dying to try and get to Laos before the end of the year.

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  17. Oh my gosh, I dont think I would ever want to leave, it looks just absolutely magical wow x

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  18. Wow this place looks amazing, I would love to travel more.

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  19. What a gorgeous experience! I am not jealous, not one bit, he he! Stunning photos too

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  20. Oh wow, those waterfalls look beautiful! I've not been to Laos but it looks incredible.

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  21. Oh my! How amazing. What a fantastic experience and it looks stunning.

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  22. The waterfall look amazing! We'd love to visit Laos! Lucky things x

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  23. Oh wow, those photos are amazing, looks like paradise!! :)

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  24. Wow so beautiful. The waterfall looks out of this world amazing.

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  25. ive never thought about visiting laos! i'll have to add it to my to visit list. that waterfall is beautiful

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  26. this looks amazing!!! I love waterfalls, they are just so tranquil and relaxing

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  27. What beautiful stunning photos you captured!! Its places like these that are ingrained into hearts as well as just having the photos!

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  28. Now that looks like paradise - how beautiful. It's like from a film set. x

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  29. Goodness, your vivid descriptions coupled with such beautiful photography really make me feel like I'm there!

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  30. Oh my, those waterfalls are just incredible. My water loving family would love to go there - think it might be a new place to aspire to visit!

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  31. I adore waterfalls and these ones are beautiful, it looks like paradise x

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  32. This looks amazing! Can't believe how empty it was when you were there!

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  33. Absolutely looks amazing! I would love to go there and see it in live I bet being there was so relaxing

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