I did a little bit of research for things to do in Luang Prang while I was in Vang Vieng. I wanted to ride elephants, go to the Kuangsi Waterfalls and then just rest a little while embracing the fresh air.
I wanted to ride elephants in Luang Prabang because I heard better stories in Laos where the elephants were treated humanely. Other elephant camps throughout Southeast Asia especially Cambodia is notorious for abusing elephants to make them listen to the trainers. I have heard about protective elephants camps in Laos where they didn’t use hooks and other metal tools to abuse these beautiful creatures. I just wanted to see them up close.
The new friends I made decided to do something low key on our first day in Luang Prabang. But first we needed to find a place to say. We decided to stay in a guesthouse famous for their capsule rooms. Although the name sounds fancy it’s just a dorm room with 8 beds, 2 showers and 2 bathroom in each big room. It’s pretty cheap for a night which is 25000kip ($3) a night, but if you are travelling in a group I think just renting one room to share amongst yourselves is better.
One disadvantage of living in a dorm room is you don’t know when your stuff will go missing. The doors are practically open wide for anyone to come in and take your bag. I had my laptop with me so I had to be extra cautious. You can leave your valuables in a safe at the front desk but need to pay 20000 kip ($2.5) extra which in total is same as just renting a room for yourself at a different guest house with you own keys to lock your room.
But one great thing about living in a dorm is:
You can meet new people!
Its a hub where new people come and go by constantly so it’s easier to interact.
So after placing our stuff in the dorm room and saying everyone’s stuff was mine so we just needed to pay 20000 kip extra to use the safe at the front desk, we decided to go to the Kuangsi waterfalls. It was me, the U.S dude, English girl and a French guy. What a mix right? I think it’s really common to meet young adults on backpacking trips especially in Southeast Asia and also maybe the time frame I was travelling which was around August worked to my advantage.
So the four of us rented a tuk-tuk to go to Kuangsi waterfalls. After some bargaining I forget how much we paid in total but I think it was $3 each, round trip, so around $12? We said we’ll give him half now and half later when we were coming back. Because we didn’t know if he’ll still be at the bottom of the waterfall waiting for us…or we would have to spend the night in the wild…hmmm…that took a lot of negotiating because the driver was really persistent in us paying in full upfront.
Okay so to help you budget your trip, for sightseeing trips try not to get caught in tourist packages that make you pay loads. The waterfalls is easy to get to as long as you have some people to help share the transportation cost. So that’s why it’s really good to make new friends, or just ask passing by tourists if they want to share a ride.
For the trip! We had baguettes for breakfast. With chicken, veggies and toasted. Mmmmmm. I also got myself a watermelon shake. Unfortunately the shakes where the night market is (the center) are mostly made out of syrup and they don’t add ice to it 😦 so it wasn’t the fresh fruity shakes I was looking for. But hey its a cheap deal.
One baguette is totally enough for one person. But I know the guys gobbled up two. It is good.
So I wore my swimsuit because I heard you can swim in the lakes and there are trees where you can jump off of like Tarzan. Yey! I just hope it wasn’t going to be rude to do that in the middle of the mountains amongst the locals. There were some signs when we reached the Kuangsi waterfalls saying we shouldn’t walk around with only our swimming costumes on because it was considered disrespectful to the local tourists who were visiting.
Enough with me talking. I bet you’re sick of me already. Here are some photos! It took 2 hours in total to walk up and down the mountain…or more because we lost count half way. It was just too fun jumping into the water. It was off-season so the currents were rapid and the water was muddy from the heavy rain. But that didn’t stop us from jumping in….We couldn’t really swim though because the currents were going to knock us all they way down. We needed to swim frantically to get out before it swept us away and beyond. It was really fun though 🙂
The bears we saw when we go to the falls
Muddy cascades of waterfalls
View from the top
Looks like stairways to heaven
If it wasn’t for the fence…
The guy behind me found a baby leech on his leg. ARGHHH I’m trying to launch a full investigation on this leech problem
Just try to walk where the water is actually flowing, leeches live where there are enclosed pools of water
One fun fact! Everything in Laos has to close before midnight. This means even the clubs and bars. It’s the law. While the law is more lenient towards tourists, for the locals it is a must or they need to pay a heavy fine. So if you are the party type just relax a little in Luang Prabang. Go to sleep early or hang out outside on benches late at night with your friends with some pre-bought beer because you ain’t going any where. Although there is a bowling place and a club that opens till 1 or 2am. Apparently they have special permission.
PPS. Some people will try to sell you pot on the streets knowing that you are tourists. DON’T BUY IT. Some times they are undercover police trying to catch you. And some time they are just out to get you with fake pot. Not worth your time and money. Besides if you get caught, it’s the jail for you no questions asked and also can result in a death penalty.