What a beautiful, and I mean beautiful city. Lonely planet describes this UNESCO world heritage site to slow your pulse and awaken your imagination with its combination of world-class comfort and spiritual nourishment. Sitting at the sacred confluence of the Mekong River and the Nam Khan (Khan River), nowhere else can lay claim to this Unesco-protected gem's romance of 33 gilded wats, saffron-clad monks, faded Indochinese villas and exquisite fusion cuisine. Quite a mouthful, hey?
Well LP isn’t wrong and within the 48 hours of being here we walked, sampled many amazing foods in the markets, and ventured to the most infamous activity near the region – Kuang Si Falls. We really recommend checking out both the night and the morning markets while here as well as the temples doted around the city. We stayed in a nice hostel called ‘Little freedom friendly’s place’ for $20NZD a night for double private with bathroom and one of the best breakfasts we have had – so big!
The highlight for us however, was the Kuang Si Waterfall and we got a private taxi for 70,000KIP pp including the entrance fee so overall it cost about $13NZD pp – it is worth it!
So, a little bit about the falls:
Location | 29km south of Luang Prabang, Laos
Kuang Si Falls height | 50m drop
Kuang Si opening hours | Open every day from 8am until 5.30pm
Kuang Si entrance fee | 20,000 kip
Hiking time from bottom to top | around 15-20 min (40-60min return trip)
Visiting these falls was somewhat breath-taking and as much as it is very touristy we never once felt it was overcrowded. We were able to swim in the incredible turquoise waters of the pools, and hike to the top for beautiful views of the surrounding lush green countryside. We spent about 3 hours there and it was enough to explore the area as well as the bear sanctuary which in a non profit organisation relying on donations at the bottom gate.
OH TIP** On the way back -ask your driver to stop at the buffalo ice cream factory where you can try buffalo milk ice-cream – it’s expensive at 15000kip per scoop but after the hike and swim, it is much needed. We had the lemongrass and ginger and it was YUMMMMSO!