The Kuang Si Waterfalls are only located about 30 kilometres from Luang Prabang. If you “Google image” these falls, the photos look incredible. In person, the falls are still beautiful, but equally packed with other tourists that would never get out of my way. I had it in my head that the trip to the falls would be serene, or peaceful, based on the picture perfect photos I had viewed online. They were instead cluttered with iPad holding tourists and photographers standing with their tripods in the middle of the pools. (Again, get out of my way). Nonetheless, the falls were so pretty and extremely refreshing to swim in. The only qualm I had with the swimming (not even the chilly temperature) was the sharp and jagged rocks. I can’t express how many bruises and scrapes I found on my feet while I was drying off. Stepping nimbly is essential in order to prevent twisting your ankle or stubbing your toes and heel on the rocks beneath the water.
As if other people weren’t annoying me enough already, someone decided to take a dump on the floor in one of the change rooms while I was waiting outside. We were surrounded by the woods, and someone had chosen to just take a massive dump right there in the middle of the tiny change room and walk away normally. I ran out horrified and jabbered frantically to others. Why?!?
So, my visit to the falls was definitely not serene or tranquil like I had been envisioning for months. It was much more chaotic between all the other people, the jagged rocks, and of course, the dump. I know I am a tourist too, but I like to consider myself as normal. I know I have a sense of space and display common courtesy to others.
The best part of the visit was jumping from the top of the waterfalls into the turquoise pools below. The chilly water felt amazing after the jump. I still would definitely recommend a visit to these falls, on the condition that you are prepared to elbow people out of your way and possibly twist an ankle.
It’s a shame how inconsiderate some people can be, though I’m pleased to hear you still managed to have a good time and get some fab shots of the falls.
Thanks! I did indeed.
Dang photographers! :-) I can’t believe someone took a dump in the changing room – wth? The falls look beautiful.
Tell me about it. The bright side is, like you say, the falls.
Apart from the dump thing, I had the same experience at the falls as well, beautiful place but crammed with people, and very little respect being shown for the environment. As you said, though a gorgeous spot.
I want to go back to Laos now I have been reading your latest posts!!
Hi! Laos sure is amazing and just FULL of writing and photo opportunities!
I like the part about being normal is touristy areas. A small chunk of my life is dedicated to the worst part of traveling…the theme parks and the tacky tourist corridors. So I see people under pressure do things that I believe they would never do at home.
So when I travel, I keep my wits about me and act in a civilized fashion. And dress normal too.
Well, the falls looked nice and in this case; a picture can mask a thousand words.
Not sure why when people travel, civilized manners go out the window . . . and like you said, the falls were still nice making the visit still worth it.
It has been frequent occurrence in my travels for a place to be not quite how I’d envisioned it in my head. While I was still able to appreciate these amazing places, a bit of the mystique was lost. I’m reminded of an episode of “An idiot Abroad” when Karl Pilkington was sitting in a Pizza Hut and through the window you could see the pyramids of Giza.
Or also like the one post you shared about incredible sights seen from far away! Nonetheless, I am usually always able to take away something positive from the experience :)
Agreed. Even a minor disappointment can’t detract from the joy of gazing upon something in person that most people only see on television or the internet.
you didnt know about the legend of kuang si? apparently if you dump in the changing room, 7 years good luck. your loss!
also, dump is a great word.
That is really a shame. I visited these falls in 2007 and the peacefulness and serenity you were expecting was definitely in residence. There was no-one else there except a small group of Laotian children. It’s unfortunate things have to change for the worse. Keep looking though; they still exist.
Yes, they do still exist! I intend to keep finding and visiting them. Do you have any photos from your visit to the falls all those years ago?
Beautiful photos! And shitty luck about the dump… (see what I did there?) xo