After our early start on our second day in Luang Prabang, we slept a little, ate some breakfast, and then looked into options for getting to the Kuang Si waterfall. We could go by tuk tuk (most expensive, but probably great if you’re traveling with a group), by van (cheapest, but on someone else’s timetable) or by motorbike (slightly more expensive than van, but with the freedom to come and go as we please).
We opted for the motorbike, and like with our Tasmania adventures, I gave Thomas the task of driving. This turned out to be an amazing choice. The journey there was beautiful, and we felt so much freer than if we’d been trapped at the back of a hot van with a bunch of strangers.
We paid the entrance fee to the waterfall and walked in and saw the most beautiful shade of water. I couldn’t think of how to describe the color, so I called it “cotton candy blue” but I think it really reminded me of the sort of pastel (probably Disney-themed) fruit snacks I used to buy all the time.
Do you ever see a picture of something, and you think “ok, I’m sure it’s great, but that photo has clearly been over edited because it can’t possibly look like that in real life.” Well, I’d seen a photo or two of the water/lesser falls, and I kind of assumed reality wouldn’t live up to the photos. But around every turn was a new surprise. First shock was that crazy blue water.
The falls were pretty crowded, but we hiked along the less traveled side, and I think we saw one other person. It was nice and cool, and we sat for a while and ate some mangos and sour cream and onion Pringles. A winning combination, I know.
Eventually, we got to what I realized were the actual falls. Photos can’t quite capture it, but I tried anyway.
Eventually, we decided to hike to the top of the falls. The path was very steep and dusty, so I had to be careful not to slip and tumble down.
We made it to the top, and as you can imagine, there wasn’t a lot to see. The best view of a waterfall is always in front of it.
We hiked down the other side, which was much less steep and much less slippery, and saw some waterfalls that honestly look like a digital rendering of a waterfall that Windows would use as a default computer background.
Then we found a place to swim. The color of the water makes it seem like it may be sort of warm or inviting. Don’t be fooled: It was freezing, at least until we fully submerged ourselves.
I wanted a photo in the water, so Thomas got out and took many. From different angles. For someone who says all the pictures look blurry when he takes them, he does a pretty stellar job, don’t you think?
Finally, we left and rode our motorbike back to Luang Prabang. We meant to come back a little earlier and try to get some sunset pictures and some pictures of Wat Xieng Thong in the daylight, but it was pretty dark by the time we got back.
The temple is pretty stunning though, so I did my best in the low light.
Well, that’s all for now, folks. Sadly, our vacation has come to an end, and we’re flying back to China tomorrow. I’ll try to keep you posted on the more humdrum details of my everyday life, but I’m hoping that we’ll also have at least one more vacation that I can write about before we come back to the US!
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