How to Visit Kuang Si Waterfalls in Luang Prabang in Laos

Kuang Si Waterfalls view

Kuang Si Waterfalls May be the Most Beautiful Waterfalls in the World

Are you ready to be captivated by the something so beautiful that will linger in your memory long after the adventure is over? If you’re heading to Luang Prabang, one spot you can’t miss is the Kuang Si Waterfalls, just a short drive from the center of town. I’ve been to a bunch of waterfalls on my travels, but this one is very unique. I’d even say it’s one of the most jaw-dropping waterfalls I’ve ever seen. Now, it’s not about size – it’s not the biggest or the tallest. What makes it a must-see is how the water spills down into what seems like an endless series of crystal-clear pools that you can swim in. Trust me. You’ll be tempted to dip your toes in to make sure it’s all real.

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The Color Changes Based on the Season

Kuang Si Waterfall absolutely took my breath away. We visited Luang Prabang in early July, and I was astonished to learn that the waterfall’s color changes with the seasons. The wet season, which lasts from June to September, is characterized by higher water levels and a mesmerizing deep green hue in the water. In contrast, during the dry season, which spans from October to May, the cascading water of Kuang Si is imbued with a bluish tint due to the presence of minerals, including copper. We were fortunate to have chosen an ideal time to witness the waterfall’s vibrant milky blue color. tDuri g this time, the thunderous sound of the falls can be heard from a distance, way before they come into view.

However, it’s worth noting that July is also right in the middle of the wet season. Fortunately for us, it rained only one afternoon during our visit.

While strolling along the streets of Luang Prabang, Laos, I caught a delightful whiff—the fragrance of Frangipani Flowers lingering in the air.

The Drive to Kuang Si Waterfalls

The Kuang Si Waterfalls, also known as Tat Kuang Si, are situated approximately 29 kilometers (18 miles) south of Luang Prabang. To avoid the crowds, we departed at 8:00 am to ensure our arrival at the entrance by 9:00 am, the opening time.

We hired a private driver to guarantee an early entry into the park. Despite the rough and bumpy roads that are characteristic of the Laotian countryside, we managed to reach our destination in less than an hour.

The Entrance Fee

Entrance for foreigners costs 20,000 Kip per person, which is slightly more than the fee for locals. The ticket price includes admission as well as an electric shuttle ride to and from the entrance of the waterfalls. This 5-minute ride takes you through a quaint village, dotted with homes and a handful of shops, before arriving at a spacious courtyard brimming with food options.

If you manage to reach the falls early in the morning, I recommend taking the path to the main waterfall to relish the sight without the crowds. To the left of the bridge, there’s a hiking trail that provides a chance to see the source of the waterfalls. I undertook the climb, and I must say it was quite steep and slippery. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to the top as the trail was flooded and appeared to be quite treacherous. Nevertheless, the hike was picturesque. It also offered a remarkable view of the park that is not visible from the ground level.

Swimming in the Pools

Three Pools to Choose From

What sets these waterfalls apart is the presence of cascading turquoise water that flows through a series of pools, surrounded by lush tropical forests. These cascades are formed as limestone-rich waters tumble over mineral deposits, creating multiple tiers of natural pools. The main waterfall stands approximately 60 meters high. And there are several smaller falls and pools, making it an exceptional place for swimming and relaxation.

There are three designated swimming pools at the waterfalls. The first pool is shallow and features a small cascade at the far end.

The second pool is deep. As a result, I witnessed several people, including children, diving from a fallen log into the crystal blue-green waters. In fact, they appeared to be thoroughly enjoying themselves.

The third pool is also deep, with a clear sign indicating that it is not suitable for wading.

However, you don’t have to swim in the pools to enjoy them. There are multiple areas where you can simply dip your toes in the water. Additionally, if you wish to swim, there are changing rooms available. Nevertheless, some visitors choose to strip down to their underwear for swimming – it’s quite common.

Be Careful

Remember, these swimming areas are commonly called “pools. However, they are actually natural bodies of water, filled with life such as algae and fish. As a result, it’s important to exercise caution and be mindful of your surroundings. Please watch your step while enjoying the waterfalls and be respectful of this beautiful environment. Remember to leave nothing behind except for your grateful heart.

How to Get There

There are several ways to get to the Kuang Si Waterfalls. You can go on your own by a scooter, join a tour group for a half or full day tour or take an hour long cruise on the Mekong.

Or you can do what we did. Ask the concierge desk to hire a driver for 4 hours. It costs $45 for the car. He picked us up at the hotel at 8 am and brought us back at 12:30. He even stopped along the way, so I could take pictures of some elephants.


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