If you're one of those people who are planning a trip to the far East, backpacking through South-East Asia - Laos is definetely a country you should not miss. It is a country that is still pure and mostly untouched by tourism. It is a wonderful example of authentic Asian village life, hidden away in the rainforest and only reachable by hiking.
Laos is green, Laos is pure, Laos breathes peace.
Mekong river - Luang Prabang, Laos
In this country, I loved amazing moments: playing with kids in the river, volunteering as an English teacher, cruising through the breathtaking ricefields on a scooter, trekking through a rainforest full of leeches to then share a bungalow with giant spiders for a night (don't even ask how I survived...) and so much more. But the most indelible impression I have of this country is definetely standing by the foot of the Kuang Si waterfalls, and feeling the smallest I've ever felt facing the force of nature.
I am not easily impressed, but the power and the amazing energy of the Kuang Si waterfall left me amazed. On pictures it probably looks just like any other big waterfall, but it's three-tier, 50 m drop will overwhelm you instantly by its natural force.
Obviously, it's beauty hasn't stayed unnoticed and it's quiet touristic place - not only amongst tourist, but also locals come here to enjoy a swim.
The easiest way is to book your excursion through one of the agencies on the mains road of Luang Prabang - the prices for a shared minibus will stagnate around 60.000 kip, and it's going to take you around 40-50 minutes to get there. Once you arrive at the waterfalls, you usually get around 2-2.5 hours to discover the waterfalls.
Once you pay the 20.000 kip entrance fee and enter in the natural park, you'll walk past the rescued bears that inhabit the little "rescue" bear park right at the entrance. You'll have to walk up all the way to the top of the hill to see the main waterfalls - but the path is beautiful, and you leads along the lower pools of the waterfall, formed by fine limestone and filled beautiful, crystal clear water - an attraction on their own. There are a couple of bigger pools with smaller waterfalls along the way to take a dip, but make sure you respect the signs that prohibit bathing, since some of the pools are considered to be sacred. You wouldn't want to upset the water gods, right!
Wooden cabins are at your disposal at the bigger pools to change into swimming wear.
Trails are unpaved and can be slippery, so wear shoes that are slightly more attached to your feet than flipflops if you want to survive in one piece. Normal sandals should do the job, unless you're extremely motivated and want to climb all the way up the hill to have the view on Kuang Si and Luang Prabang from the top of the neighbouring hill - in that case you should wear hiking shoes for sure.
Like Leonardo da Vinci once said - "Water is the driving force of all nature".