Kuang Si Waterfalls: Where Have You Been All My Life?

with 32 Comments

 

Laos is mostly known for its natural beauty of verdant rolling hills, vast mountainous regions and a crazy amount of waterfalls (like hundreds). But none even come close to the enchanting, captivating and absolutely breath-taking Kuang Si Waterfalls. I kid you not – I had never seen such a beautiful natural setting! The three-tier waterfall dramatically cascades into natural pools of water of the truest, clearest turquoise. The late-afternoon/early-evening sunlight shone perfectly through the towering trees. It was unbelievable how amazing this place was!
 
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The Kuang Si Waterfalls are less than 30 km from Luang Prabang. Some people hire a tuk-tuk or shared taxi but we rented a motorbike to give us the freedom to visit other sites outside of town. We did come across people who pedal-biked but this really isn’t a good idea no matter how much of an “adventure” you want to have. The road is not a long, straight, flat stretch. It promises to be labour-intensive if you’re biking (also keep in mind rental bikes are not in the best shape no matter how much you think you are). It’s a spiraling road that can be hazardous even while riding a motorbike. The road rises slowly but surely; not to mention the excessive heat and the pounding sun. It took about 45 minutes to get there by motorbike cautiously navigating each sharp turn; I have no idea how long it would take by bike.

The ridiculously nominal fee of 20,000 kip (less than $3) is incredibly cheap for what you have access to. Kuang Si Waterfalls are worth so much more than that but please don’t tell the authorities! In fact, the waterfalls are part of a protected natural ecological park with picnic tables, a restaurant, a small sanctuary for rescued black bears and a number of hiking trails. I realize that doesn’t sound very eco-friendly but the whole area is exceptionally well-maintained despite the high number of visitors it receives every year.

 

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We arrived just slightly before the closing time of 5:30 pm. We were very, very lucky the admissions officer was kind enough to let us in (yes we begged a little). Honestly, I expected the waterfalls to be overrated; you know the kind of place saturated by a bunch of overly edited shots. But it wasn’t the case at all – this place was genuinely mesmerizing (fyi none of these photos are edited).

At first glance, I thought the pristine, aquamarine pools were man made. I had to take a second and third look to make sure they were, in fact, quite real. It seemed almost too good to be true but there I was! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t swell up with a few tears. I’m not even saying that for shock value – I really, truly did – that’s how wonderful it was! I was so grateful for being there (I thought of the poor souls back home in the middle of Winter).

 

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The best part about arriving so late (though I don’t suggest arriving that late) is that we had the whole place to ourselves making it feel even more surreal. We had time to climb to the top of the waterfalls (a slightly strenuous climb) and get close enough to witness them dramatically crashing below. We had time to take it all in without any distractions (except for the time restraint to make it back out before it closed). And all our pictures are photobomb-free! The downside was that everything was closed: no restaurant (we probably wouldn’t have eaten there anyways) and no bear sanctuary (I would’ve liked to see some rescued bears).

Visitors are allowed to swim in only some of the basins as long as they don’t wear sunscreen in the water. We didn’t have time to take a dip but it didn’t bother me. I was more than satisfied to just gaze at and admire the falls and its surroundings. I think we should just be grateful for the chance to see and experience such a natural wonder without having to disrupt it. Anyways, personal philosophy aside trust me when I say the Kuang Si Waterfalls are a must-see!

I’m fully aware that I most probably wouldn’t have had the same wonderful experience and that my perception of Kuang Si Waterfalls would be completely different if we went while there were a bunch of people obstructing its natural beauty (and my zen-like state). The fact that we were all by ourselves definitely enhanced our experience both visually and emotionally.

Ok enough with the narratives, I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves.

 

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Have you had the pleasure of visiting the Kuang Si Waterfalls? Were you in awe like I was?

 

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  • Adrianna Vogel

    With all those blog posts I am reading I think I just found the best one about waterfalls! That looks incredible! I love waterfalls so much I could literary just move there and live there 🙂

    • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

      Thank you so much! If you love waterfalls then you need to go to Laos. I’ve never seen so many waterfalls in such a small country!

  • These waterfalls look absolutely incredible. I’d love to visit and get some photographs myself and also just sit and watch the water. Looks so peaceful too.

  • Wanderers Hub

    Glad you made it in time else you would have missed these gorgeous Kuang Si Waterfalls. The pictures have come out amazingly well and I could seriously sit there for long long time…

  • Sanne

    I’d love to go to Laos, they say that’s it has a beautiful nature there. Seeing your photos here, makes me understand why they say it! (:

  • Stacey Sandlin Veikalas

    This is really beautiful I love how blue the water the is! I love waterfalls this looks like a great one – if we ever get to Laos we will have to check it out for sure!

  • Milijana

    Laos is on my this year bucket list. Those falls and natural pools look amazing! Saving your post for my trip, thanks!!

    • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

      That’s great – Laos is a great country to explore!

  • Rashmi & Chalukya

    We had never heard of these falls before and they are beautiful. The cascades and the color of the falls look surreal. It must be an amazing experience to visit these waterfalls set amidst the lush green nature. Definitely on list!

  • sitting here drooling and definitely putting this on the list of places to see. I love the sound of running water, whether waves or waterfalls, there is something just so serene and calming about the sounds. These Water Falls so so breathe taking and beautiful, I’d never want to leave!

  • Mel

    Oh my goodness, those pools and waterfalls are gorgeous! I love the turquoise color. We recently went to a couple waterfall parks in Croatia and had the same experience — where have you been all my life?

  • Deni Verklan

    Oh wow! Those waterfalls look absolutely incredible! I would love to be able to swim in the basins as well. They look absolutely pristine! I’d be doing a double take as well to make sure they weren’t in fact man made! I’m always so in awe of how beautiful nature can be. Thanks for sharing! I would have never thought Laos had such stunning waterfalls!

  • Samantha Lorenz

    I have seen a ton of waterfalls in my life but I think this is the most beautiful waterfall I have EVER seen! I’ve had a few friends tell me I need to visit Laos but had I seen these photos I would’ve been on board in a heartbeat. What a view!

  • OH MY GOODNESS. How had I never heard of this either?! Seems like a dream spot for photography with the amazing turquoise shade of the water! Hope I can experience this someday!

  • Geo

    Those waterfalls and those pools are nature’s wonder. I think it’s great they’re enforcing rules and restrictions on swimming in the basins. We need to preserve our beautiful and untouched environment.

    Laos is truly a beautiful country but unfortunately not well known around here. Most people opt for visiting Thailand, and I’m trying to make them realize what they’re missing out on. Just look at these photos – isn’t it obvious!? The wildlife and nature is absolutely stunning and anyone who says otherwise does not know what he/she is talking about. I really hope that articles like these will make Laos earn the attention it deserves for its lush greenery and beautiful waterfalls. Until then, I will enjoy stepping off the beaten path, taking photo bomb free pictures, because it is not long until these destinations also become exploited.

  • Clare

    I loved it there, it’s so beautiful. We had great weather and even got to swim in part of it. The water was freezing though but it was worth it!! Such a beautiful part of the world 🙂

  • Dorothee Baur

    Beautiful photos! I absolutely loved Kuang Si waterfalls as well, unfortunately we went there around peak time & it was quite crowded. Had planned it differently, but I was going with a big group and it always takes ages to all meet up 😀

  • Frank Thomae

    Beautiful! Looks like Plitvice Lakes without the people.

    • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

      The only reason there weren’t any people was because we arrived so late! 😉

  • Tiny Cactus

    Wow, these are amazing! the color of that water is unreal.

    • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

      I know – I thought it was fake at first….lol!

  • Yes, I have been to Kuang Si Falls. It is a spectacular place. 💚

  • This looks like so much fun! What a beautiful place.

    • Lydia

      It really is beautiful! Thanks for your comment Kim-Ling!

  • Bec

    I think it was so lucky you were late, your pictures are beautiful! Even though you missed out on the bears (more reason for you to return) I think you scored pretty well with the lack of people! Thank you for sharing!

    • Lydia

      Yes we were lucky they let us in so late! 🙂

  • Heather @Travelationship

    This place is beautiful. Thanks for sharing

    • Lydia

      My pleasure – thanks for commenting! 🙂

  • Hi Lydia!
    One great thing with travel blogs is that every day I find out a place that not even imagined existed in the world. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing place. Absolutely beautiful.

    • Lydia

      Hi Maria – so happy you discovered a new place thanks to this post! 🙂

  • Wow! Such great photos and the place looks so amazing. I will definitely add it to my travel bucket list.

    • Lydia

      Hi Sarah! It really is a great place – hope you get to make it to Laos some day!