It's been a while since I had the opportunity to indulge my inner mermaid, so when we heard about the huge waterfalls in Luang Prabang, we simply had to make sure we went there. Now I have to clarify that despite my initial excitement, I was taking the word "waterfall" with a good dose of cynicism. Throughout visiting waterfalls in Thailand, I became more and more aware that the word waterfall was being used to describe any drop in the water level from one centimetre to fifteen metres. The problem is that traditionally for us westerners, we expect something closer to Niagara Falls when we hear waterfall, so we get a bit underwhelmed if we head to one on the map and there is just a trickle of water with an inch drop. This happened a few times in Thailand, but don't worry there are plenty of amazing waterfalls there as well. But I have to say, none I had seen previously could even compare to Kuang Si waterfalls in Luang Prabang.I ended up travelling through the whole of Laos with two amazing sisters, Phoebe and Bridie, after meeting them originally in Chiang Mai and then again in Pai. So by this time we were pretty sure we were meant to be good friends - the universe doesn't push you together with people like that again and again without damn good reason. So with our bikinis ready and a picnic in our bags, we hopped in the tuk tuk to get there. Now we had chosen a private tuk tuk because it worked out only a tiny bit more expensive than the organised tour - we wanted to get there earlier so that we could beat the crowds and we thought it would be worth it to pay a tiny bit extra. We were wrong. The tuk tuk driver couldn't find our guest house so he was late, then he decided to pick up a random couple on holiday from their home in Vietnam, and a monk! He then told us it would take an hour to arrive - we were pretty fed up by this point. Finally we arrived and headed into the waterfalls after paying a small entry fee. There are places to buy food and drink here if you do visit, and there are toilets.To get to the waterfalls we had to walk through a black bear sanctuary run by a charity, it was pretty cute to see the black bears play fighting, swinging around on ropes and cooling off in the water. They looked well cared for and the charity was collecting money for their care and conservation work so hopefully they were honest and not just using the bears as an attraction. We arrived at the first level of the waterfalls and were overwhelmed by the stunning blue, green colour of the water in the lagoon that lay before us - apparently the colour is due to a reaction between the calcium in the rock. It was stunning to say the least and we quickly jumped into the cold water, swam around, climbed the rocks and jumped off with some guys who were doing backflips. It was so much fun that we almost forgot there were other levels and we only moved on because others were coming into what had previously been our own private pool. Amazingly, the next level was even more spectacular with more places to swim and take photos, and they all just kept getting bigger and better! We were wondering how the next could possibly beat the last but it always did.My favourite level was the one where you could swim in a huge pool - it was the busiest unfortunately - but there was also a tree you could jump off into the water. It was awesome and I was the first girl up there, obviously in true ladylike style and with all the grace I could muster, I cannonballed down. But there were so many others that were so beautiful - ones where you could stand under the waterfall, ones where you could sit on rocks, ones where you could jump in. It was such a fun day and we finished it by heading up to the main part of the waterfall where you're not allowed to swim - we wanted to climb up to the top and look down. But somehow we managed to reach the top and follow the wrong sign and ended up walking back down again and missing the lookout part - we also skipped the caves which are a bit of a walk from the waterfall and we had to get back to catch our ride back. We spent at least three or four hours there and we could have spent longer quite happily, so make sure your tuk tuk gives you enough time to really enjoy and make sure you don't miss this amazingly beautiful landmark. It looks like something out of a Disney movie it's just so perfect!
Have you been to Kuang Si Waterfalls - what was your favourite part? Are you planning a trip to Laos, or would you like to go there?