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The world is waiting | How to get to Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang (and a secret cave)
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How to get to Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang (and a secret cave)

Kuangsi Terraces Waterfall Laos

How to get to Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang (and a secret cave)

Kuangsi Falls is a stunning 3-tiered waterfalls that is super accessible from Luang Prabang (just 30km drive away). The turquoise-blue waters flow through three sections – you can swim in the middle section or climb right to the top.

Kuangsi_swimming

Swimming in Kuang Si Falls

There are plenty of options to get there. A round trip tuk-tuk or minivan that takes up to 6 people costs 150,000-200,000 kip. Tuk-tuks ply the city centre aplenty in the morning. Once you hop onto one, the driver will arrange for a timing to meet again at the waterfalls’ entrance (about 3-4 hours later).

If you don’t like the time constraint,  you can also rent a bicycle or motorbike from Luang Prabang and park right outside. Roads are paved and directions straightforward (but beware of sharp turns and oncoming trucks along the way, or risk a visit to the primitive medical facilities of Laos like I did).

The journey from Luang Prabang to Kuangsi is a beautiful one that takes you through a few towns and countrysides. On our way, we managed to catch a whole bunch of children riding their bicycles home after being dismissed from class.

Going to Kuang Si Falls

What you will see on the way to Kuang Si Falls

Entrance fees to the Kuang Si Falls cost 20,000 kip. On the way to the falls, you will also pass by Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre by Free The Bears Fund and get to see Asiatic Black Bears rescued from illegal poachers (mostly for their assumed medicinal traits).

One of the Black Bears lazing in its home

Kuangsi turquoise

Pools of turquoise blue

When we arrived at Kuang Si Falls, our first reaction was to wonder – why are the waters so turquoise-blue? The azure waters are naturally so because of its high deposits of white calcium carbonate. These particles from the surrounding limestone mountains are great at reflecting light, hence producing its distinct milky colour.

Koangxi Waterfall

Koangxi Waterfall

Instead of jumping straight into the waters, we decided to hike right to the top of the falls. There are two routes up – we chose the steeper way on the right.

Kuangsi_hike

Hiking to the top of the falls

Kuangsi top

The view from the top, at the edge of the falls

And here comes the secret paradise no one seems to talk about…

Ok, it’s not thaat secretive. Just as we were about to descend the falls, we were tempted by the above sign “This way to the cave and spring water”. It’s 3km away which is a long walk (we missed out that small font – unfortunately, or fortunately) so make sure you have at least 2+ hours to spare before going ahead.

For us, the destination was worth the walk. We found ourselves in a completely empty, unlit cave with just us and our flash lights. It goes quite a long way in; so as you venture deeper, both its darkness and silence can be intimidating.

Navigating through the cave

There is a man near the start of the cave who collects 10,000 kip per person, for entrance tickets and flash light rental (which is absolutely necessary).

Kuangsi_spring

By the secluded spring water

Once you emerge from the cave’s darkness, the nearby spring water is a beautiful, private place to relax and swim in. During our short stay, there was also a lady selling food and drinks (although we were her only customers).

Kuangsi_swing

There’s even a swing!

Once you’ve had enough of this hidden paradise, you can either hike back the same way or – if it’s late enough in the day – hitch a ride with the food vendor to the entrance of Kuang Si Falls.

Have fun exploring! For more Lao discoveries, here’s 6 Simply Beautiful Things to do in Luang Prabang, Laos

Ladyexplorer

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