If you have read our previous blog you will know that we loved Luang Prabang and all it had to offer. Luang Prabang has no shortage of day trips and activities.
We decided to take a day trip to the Kuang Si Waterfall, Pak Ou Caves and a local Whiskey Village. We were picked up at our hotel around 8am and there were 8 other people in our tour group.
The first stop on the tour was to a local village home to the H’mong tribe. Visiting the H’mong tribal village was a nice way to begin the day. We were greeted by smiling children in bright and colourful outfits who selling some handcraft trinkets and bracelets.
We then got the opportunity to enter some homes of the villagers. We saw where the local people prepare their food, sleep and what a typical day is like for the H’mong people.
After exploring the H’mong homes we then got a chance to try our hand at a few of the daily jobs. Grinding rice, blacksmithing, and weaving with a hand loom.
We also got to use some hunting weapons such as a crossbow. They have examples of traps that hunters use in the surrounding hills to catch animals. They load a crossbow set with a tripwire. If an animal broke the wire the crossbow would fire a poison arrow and the family would have food for a few days.
Post village tour we got back in the minivan and headed for one of the most famous spots to visit outside of Luang Prabang. The Kuang Si Waterfalls are located around 45 minutes from the centre of the town.
Like most countries in South East Asia, Laos has no shortage of beautiful nature and scenery. These waterfalls are famous for their stunning azure colour and deep pools for swimming.
Once we arrived we entered the park together and were told we had an hour and a half to explore the area. This is an extremely popular spot so it is busy, there is a Bear Sanctuary located at the entrance that we highly recommend spending some time here. There are over twenty bears of all sizes being cared for here.
Once you’ve made some new furry friends you can keep walking up the track to what we class as the most beautiful waterfalls we have ever seen.
The colour of the water and the way it has carved the rockpools is amazing. You can strip off and go for a dip or just sit and relax with nature and rushing water all around you.
The path begins with some smaller falls and pools but as you continue you come to a magnificent large cascade of water running over the cliff edge. You can’t swim here due to the force of the falling water but there is a footbridge for you to cross and get close to the falls.
As I said this place is extremely popular so there are people taking photos almost everywhere. Despite this, it is still an amazing place to visit and one of our favourites.
After a swim and some relaxing in the sun we met back up with the rest of the group and got back on the road. Our next stop was a buffet lunch on the banks of the river at an elephant sanctuary.
Laos is known as the land of a million elephants. However, these animals have been victims of mistreatment and exploitation. It is important when choosing anything that involves these beautiful creatures that you do your research on the place you are visiting.
The river, green landscape and the distant mountain make it seem like something from a dream. We were treated to a delicious buffet of Loatian food as well as some western options. While we’re looking out on the river you can watch the elephants from the camp bath themselves on the banks.
Next on the itinerary was to board a local longboat and head for the famous Pak Ou Caves.
As we journeyed along the river the scenery just got better and better. Our after dinner cruise was extremely relaxing. Before we pulled up to the caves our guide took us down a small tributary.
On one side was a small man made beach with large parties of locals enjoying themselves in the sun. On the other were magnificent sheer cliff faces that glinted with the sun. The light reflecting off them gave amazing patterns on the river water. We pulled onto the land and took some time to swim and relax in its shadow of these monsters of nature.
It was a true local experience, we were the only tourists around. The water was clear and calm. The sounds of people swimming and laughing bounced back off the rocks creating an amazing atmosphere. After enjoying ourselves and drying off we got back on the boat and headed for the caves.
The Pak Ou Caves are a rocky outcrop by the side of the river. There are stairs carved in the rock all the way up. A cave mouth sits halfway up allowing entrance to the first cave.
More stairs lead up to the top of the outcrop and a second larger cave. These caves are places of worship for the Buddist faith. They are filled with statues of Buddha in various positions.
The top cave is larger and the steps can seem steep but the views are worth the hike to the top. In the first cave there is a cut out in the rock that allows for a great view of the river.
Having taken in all the culture and wonderful views we got back on the boat and headed towards Luang Prabang.
We had one final stop to to make, a visit to a local whiskey village. The boat pulled in and we were greeted by a lovely old lady offering us samples of the local Laos whiskey. Make no mistake this stuff is strong but good.
Anyone who visits Laos and likes to enjoy a drink will become familiar with Laos whiskey. There were also some local stalls here offering all sorts of beautiful hand made crafts, clothes and decorations.
Whiskey sampled and some shopping done we got back on the boat for the final leg to Luang Prabang. It was about an hour and a half journey. As the sun began to set on the Mekong our guide suggested we stop the boat and enjoy it together.
Watching the sun set on the Mekong was a wonderful way to end the day. We highly recommend this tour if you are visiting Luang Prabang.
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