If there was one thing which tilted the selection of city in favor of Luang Prabang over Vientiane was Kuang Si falls and that was definitely the first thing on our agenda. The day began early as we wanted to have early bird advantage. After a sumptuous and healthy breakfast , we enquired about the logistics to get to the falls and the hotel staff promptly explained the options.
One of the novelties in Laos was that the currency exchange had made us feel like millionaires. So we decided to splurge and booked an entire 10-seater Tuktuk for ourselves!
And so began our sojourn to the famed waterfalls The landscape on the way reminded me of my hometown and surrounding area in Konkan – western coast region in Maharashtra. Similar flora, similar houses and somewhat similar poverty was on abundant display. A very bumpy ride through winding road took us to the entrance of the hike towards the falls. There is a butterfly park in the vicinity for those interested and some food stalls with quite unappetizing food on offer.
After paying a nominal entry fee of USD 2.5, roughly 20,000 kip; we started our climb in the park. There are multiple trails that run across the hill that hosts the falls. At the very entrance there is an enclosure for rescued bears. Those cuddly creatures were leisurely napping on the bamboo platforms and seemed every bit disinterested in us. It is heartening to see the efforts put in rescuing these lovely animals.
As we continued up the trail, air got cooler and a typical forest scent filled the atmosphere. The dampness in the air has prompted the growth of fern and mushrooms.
And it felt revitalizing to be so close to the nature. Being a city-dweller, one forgets how it feels to be surrounded by forest and smell the greenery. About 10mins hike later we finally witnessed the wonders of Kuang-Si falls and the description we had heard earlier did not justify the beauty! The water was the most amazing jade that I had ever seen. In some parts it was tranquil like a waterhole, elsewhere it was a free flowing cascade. The landscape of these waterfalls is perfect for picnics where one can set up the base on one of the many plateaus and rejoice cool mist emanating from the waterfall and cooler sights. The hike along the waterfall is very basic and doable for most people.
We met a fellow traveller who was capturing the beauty through his drone camera.
He had managed to find perfect landing and take-off spots for his drone. There were others who saw the opportunity to make it a plunge pool and take a dive or two in the pristine waters.
There is a bridge across a pond near the summit and makes for a perfect photography spot. The whole experience of Kuang-si was like a detox for all of the senses. It was quiet, visually pleasing, with abundant clean air. We wrapped our visit in approx. 3 hours for want of time and were back in LP for lunch. But one can spend more time in this picturesque location. I can go back there just to experience the tranquility ! Kuang si is a hidden treasure nestled in the lap of nature. A visit there is a must to soak in the marvels of nature and you owe it to eyes to behold the Jade panorama.