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Kuang Si

Yesterday I posted a photo from Kuang Si, and the reactions were so nice I thought about posting a few more. That is a very special place indeed.

From my notes while we were there:

The town is very small, so you’ll search entertainment around it, and entertainment we found. Kuang Si falls are a must see. Really. We were hoping to find yet another waterfall, and were blown by this one. It is an amazing place. The size, the amount of water that comes down the mountain, the fact that you’ll be going up a huge stairway while the water is coming down, the view from the top, everything made this THE waterfall.

The town is Luang Prabang, Laos. Two years later that waterfall it’s still one of our fondest memories from the whole trip.
We had arrived in Luang Prabang a couple of days earlier, and our first night was spent at the only hotel we hated on the whole three and a half months of the journey. We stayed at dozens of hotels while on the road, and this was the only time we left the hotel and moved to another one. Luang Prabang was not an instant hit with us.

Our new hotel, thankfully, was a lot nicer, and the staff made it even better. We couldn’t have found a cosier place. We would be even happier a couple of days later, when rain started pouring down, and wouldn’t stop for days. We were pretty much stuck inside, and it was great we’d found such a nice place. But moving on…

The town, as I wrote at the time, is really small, and you’ll walk from end to end, slowly, in no time. There are plenty of temples to visit, and the market is worth a visit, both during the day and in the evening. Good for a meal too. But this is one stop where we hadn’t done our homework, and booked way too many days in town. There are a lot of cafés, and restaurants, but we felt the place overpriced. Very overpriced.

The town’s name has a certain ring to it, you start dreaming as soon as you hear it, and we had our hopes really high. UNESCO World Heritage Site. We hadn’t been disappointed by a UNESCO site so far…

Early early morning with the monks, another walk around, another temple, the museum, and you’re pretty much done. I’m not saying it’s not worth it, but we were coming from Mandalay, and Chiang-Mai, and Angkor… You get the picture.

That brings us to the waterfall. As I said, homework not done, we were going on the allure of the name alone, we asked the nice man at the hotel’s reception what he thought would be worth a visit. He immediately said Kuang Si. We briefly pondered if we’d go straight away, or the following day, and decided to just go. Transportation was arranged for an hour later.

(Lucky pick, as the following day a storm arrived, and we couldn’t do it anymore.)

We were on the road for 30 minutes or so, and got to the ground level at the waterfall. You pay a small fee and go in. The area is bigger than we expected, and we quickly started seeing families having fun and swimming around. It looked nice, but not the big waterfall we expected. We kept walking and realised there are a lot of pools along the way, some shallower, others allowing a small dive from a tree branch or a rock on the edge of the pool, some with faster water flow and out of bounds. It was starting to look like we had come to a very nice place indeed.

We kept walking up the hill. Happy, wet, people were coming down the track. A couple more minutes and we finally found it! THE waterfall! It was there, right before our eyes, and it was the most beautiful one we’d seen so far. It was magnificent.

We spent a good time gazing at it, getting some photos, taking it all in. This is what we’d came here for.
And then we spotted people coming from a little track on the side, so I talked to one of them and asked if there was something else to see. And there was. You’d go up a steep stairway and a few minutes of light climbing, and you would reach the top, they said. They pointed to the place where the climb started, and off we went.

How many times can I write ‘amazing’ in a post ? Because I feel like writing it in every sentence! We were very fortunate with the amount of water on that day, as I’ve read it’s not usual to have so much of it, and waterfalls don’t really work without water, right ?
It was cold, and came down fast, it’s hard to describe the feeling, we were laughing and smiling all the way up.

When we made it all the way up, the view was spectacular.

And a few other pool to try out. We’d lost count by then, but you can have a dip in a lot of pools at this place!

We dried ourselves, walked all the way down, smiled at the people bathing and just having fun, and stepped outside for a beer (me) and some fresh water (movieStar wife) before heading back to Luang Prabang.

We had decided to give it another try. Luang Prabang, on the other hand, decided to give us rain. Until the day we left.