How to Visit Kuang Si Waterfall, Luang Prabang, Laos

How to Visit Kuang Si Waterfall, Luang Prabang, Laos
Photo by Simone Fischer / Unsplash

If you're heading to Luang Prabang then one of the 'must-do' activities you will see mentioned is a trip to the Kuang Si Waterfall around 30km south of the town.

We spent a day there and thought you'd like to know what it's all about to help you plan your visit.

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How to get to Kuang Si Waterfall

First things first, how do you get there? If you are in central Luang Prabang you'll see a trip to the falls advertised at all the tour agents, hotels and hostels so it's easy to book on.

Tours to the waterfall start from around 40,00 KIP ($5) per person or you can hire a Tuk-tuk to take you there. The cost of a private Tuk-tuk will depend on your negotiation skills and how many people you have in your group so, get haggling for a good price.

Wanting to enjoy the local countryside we opted to hire a motorbike at our guesthouse and make our own way there. It was the only time we hired a bike during our time in Laos and in line with the higher prices compared to Thailand and Vietnam it cost 120,000 KIP ($15) for the day.

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It was another 15,000 KIP ($2) to fill it up with petrol at the gas station on the main road to the south of the town and away we went.

The road is easy to follow and paved all the way right up to the entrance to the Kuang Si park. You follow Highway 1 south of Luang Prabang until you reach a left-hand turn-off where the sign points to the waterfall, it's around 4km from this turn.

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Enjoy the journey to the falls

The drive there is well worth the hire of a motorbike, we stopped along the way to get some shots of the rice fields glowing in the morning sunshine.

As you get closer to the Kuang Si Waterfall the air cools and the forest grows thicker, a welcome break from the intense heat of inland of Laos.

Bears and waterfalls

The turquoise Kuang Si Waterfalls

There's plenty of parking right outside the gates to Kuang Si and it costs 2,000 KIP to park our beastly moped.

Admission into the waterfalls park costs 20,000 KIP ($2.50) per person and this includes an unexpected look at some Asian Black Bears.

Right inside the entrance, you will find a small rescue centre dedicated to looking after any fury fellows that have fallen victim to local poachers.

It's a little bit sad to see these fine creatures in an enclosed area but the other option is releasing them back into the wild, injured as they are and risking them being poached again.

The project gets no share of the park admission funds but you can buy a t-shirt or donate if you'd like to support the cause.

After we had walked through the rescue centre it was time to follow the waterfall trail.

The main Kuang Si waterfall is at the far end (top) of the trail but the main attraction here is all the pools it passes through on the way downstream.

The route to the top of the falls

At the top of the waterfall

We opted to climb to the top first and have a dip in the cooling blue waters on the way back down. There was a great view out across the forest from the top, well worth the steep climb up.

TOP TIP: If you are going to walk up to the top of the main waterfall take the pathway to the left of it. We climbed up the right-hand side and it was virtually rock climbing, very steep and slippy underfoot at times. Coming down the other side we found steps for most of the trail, silly us!

Back down at the base of the main fall, we had some lunch at the only place to grab food in the park. It wasn't great and pretty expensive so best to bring a little picnic and feast at the water's edge. Sometimes it feels like we never learn!

Soon after it was time for a dip into the turquoise waters so we got changed in the nearby huts and cautiously waded in. It was very cool as you'd expect being a fresh stream in the shade but a welcome change to the intense daytime heat in late March.

As we visited during the dry season the falls are a little smaller than you see in the publicity shots but hopefully, you can gauge the flow from the photos here, it was still pretty impressive to us.

Is it worth visiting Kuang Si Waterfall?

Do you like water? Cooling off? Forest? Nature? Beauty? Pervy men? Okay, not the last one. But yes, visit and even if you don't go for a swim it is a wonder of nature to behold. You won't be disappointed.

Location of Kuang Si waterfalls on Google Maps: