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Kuang Si Waterfall in Luang Prabang (Tat Kuang)

Kuang Si Waterfall in Luang Prabang (Tat Kuang)

By Wendy Updated Oct. 25, 2022

Kuang Si Waterfall (Tat Kuang) is by far the best attraction in Luang Prabang for those who like nature, adventure and swimming.

This might be the most stunning waterfall you'll ever see. The water is naturally turquoise in color. This is very peculiar and makes the cascading water look deep. It is clean and rises dream-like upwards with an accompanying path along the falls that provides stunning views from above the cascade. Along the way you can jump in the natural pools. Here all the important travel information about it.

Kuang Si WaterfallKuang Si Waterfall

Highlights of Kuang Si Waterfall

Unusually beautiful: The waterfall of turquoise water and cascades amid the jungle are unusually beautiful, though it is comparatively a small waterfall. Tiny cascades tumble over limestone walls into magnificent natural grottoes. All around is lush foliage and dense jungle. People sometimes say it looks like "paradise".

Great for adventurous people and good for older people: This is probably one of the most interesting places in Laos for people 40 and below. To go to the top, people have to climb up a slightly dangerous path over rocks that might be slippery, and doing this might preclude some older people and others. But if you don't want to climb up, you can stay at the lower levels and enjoy the scenery safely.

Not overly commercialized: There are places to eat and refreshments available near the entrance, but the place hasn't been overly built up and commercialized. The road there is still rough, and this helps the area keep its natural beauty and quiet.

Swimming, hiking, and bears: If you like nature, this is it. People can jump into and swim in the warm pools, walk through the jungle, and see the awesome scenery from the top. There is a bear reserve near the gate.

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Quick Facts and Travel Essentials

  • Height of waterfall: 50 meters total
  • Suitable for: nature lovers, swimmers, seekers of beauty, animal and butterfly lovers
  • Popular activities: looking at bears, swimming, hiking, appreciating nature, eating at the restaurants and snack stalls
  • Recommended time: not rushing, for half a day

The best time to visit: Weekdays in the morning (8:00 am to 11:00). The high season is from December to April or May when it isn't monsoon season and the waters are clean. During monsoons or storms, the water is muddy.

Waterfall Access

  • Open hours: about 8 am to 5:30 pm daily
  • Tickets: 20,000 Kip ($2.40 USD) entrance fee at the gate and free for children under 12
  • Time to hike from the bottom to the top: upstairs and path, about 20 minutes
  • Time to hike from the top to the bottom: about 50 minutes with caution

The Top Things to Do

Enjoy the water: You can swim through cooling natural pools to the foot of a tumbling curtain of liquid and let the forceful torrent shower your body. Swimming, jumping off the falls and relaxing in this stunning river makes for one of the highlights in any trip to South East Asia.

Photography: Best places to take photographs are on a wooden footbridge strung in front of the 50-meter falls or near the top where you can see the jungle canopy below.

See the bears: The bears are in a small enclosure near the gate. As you walk from the gate to the falls, you'll pass through the bear enclosure. About 20 Asiatic black bears are there. It isn't a zoo because these are rescued animals. They play and do antics. This is free.

See the butterflies: You can see the butterflies at a butterfly reserve 300 meters outside the gate. This research center is open from about 10:30 am to 4:30 pm and closed on Tuesday. 40,000 (4.80 USD) for entrance and 65,000 Kip for entrance and lunch.

Meet the locals, see the countryside: This is an added interest that isn't obvious. By getting out of the commercialized main town, you'll see the naturally beautiful environment of jungle hillsides, palm trees and farms along the way. You'll be meeting authentically countryside Laotian people working around the falls.

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Tips for Visiting Kuang Si Waterfalls

Here are some tips to help you have an awesome time.

What to Bring

  • Just a little cash: Thefts happen, so it is safer not to carry a lot of valuables.
  • Good water bottle: Bring a water bottle or water purifier.
  • Waterproof carry bag: This is really useful for carrying your phone, camera, etc.
  • Waterproof camera: This is great for taking pictures in the water.

Safety Tips

Do wear strong sandals or shoes with good traction. When the rocks, stairs and paths are wet, they are even more slippery, but when they are dry, the dust, dirt and lose pebbles and rocks might cause slips. So take care, especially if you climb up the falls when it rains.

Best to avoid the places marked danger: You'll see signs posted warning about slips and saying no entry. Near the top of the waterfalls, you'll see these signs. People who go past the signs risk falls.

Be a little wary, especially in the evening and if alone. Bag snatching and theft happen. Theft and violent crime happen more often before and during major holidays and festivals when people might do crime to get money for gifts or travel or when they are drunk.

Be especially wary about eating or drinking with strangers in their houses or at bars. Sometimes, people put poisons or narcotics in the food and then rob or assault the person when they are incapacitated. If you tour with us, we'll make every effort that your visit is safe and take you only to the most reputable places to eat.

One big problem is scams involving transportation or unusually high rates charged when taking transport or renting or buying something. This is a special problem if you are stuck outside of town. Don't leave your passport anywhere as a deposit unless absolutely necessary. Make sure it and your money are safely tucked in a safe place such as in a safe at a hotel.

Local Etiquette

Laotians love these falls and actually have religious shrines there. They dress conservatively, and they get embarrassed or offended when men and women show too much skin. So you might consider wearing a T-shirt in the pools, and definitely men and women should wear tops when walking the paths or eating, etc.

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How to Go to Kuang Si Falls

There are a number of different ways you can get to Kuang Si Falls, so you can choose the option best for you and the time that you want to spend. Work out in detail with your driver how long he will wait if you want to stay longer than the 2 hours that most drivers want to wait. If possible, don't pay in advance, but pay at the end of the trip. If they won't wait, you'll be left to find a ride back and pay much more.

Go through people with good reputations: To avoid problems, we suggest that your hotel or hostel arranges a ride with someone reputable, since problems such as drivers driving off or overcharging happen. If you pick your own ride, try to get in with a group of other tourists. We don't recommend going by yourself in a vehicle or on a motorcycle for example.

  • A tuk-tuk (songthaew, pickup truck): Riders (up to 8) pay about 50,000 to 60,000 Kip or a total of about 200,000 Kip (24.00 USD) or 250,000 Kip. You can catch them near the post office or Joma Bakery. They leave when they are full, but the problem is that most will return after only two hours. To get them to wait, you'll have to pay extra. The trip might take 45 minutes depending on conditions.
  • Rent a small motorcycle: These generally cost about 20 USD per day plus gasoline. This is for the lower-priced ones, and you can rent better, faster ones too. The trip might take 45 minutes or more depending on construction and road conditions. Less reputable businesses might run scams.
  • Go by public van or small bus: These take longer, maybe more than an hour because of stops. They cost about 60,000 Kip round trip, but the departure and return times are set so you might only get two or three hours there.
  • Bicycle, only for the very fit: The terrain is difficult and over hills, and the road conditions can be bad due to overcrowding and construction on the narrow roads as the vehicles zoom back and forth. Fit people can go up in two hours. Don't do this in the rain or when it is windy. The cost is about 20,000 for day rental (2 or 3 USD).
  • Hire a private tuk-tuk: For flexibility, independence and so you can set your own itinerary and go where you want to, you can rent a tuk-tuk (pickup truck). Obviously, this costs extra, say 300,000 Kip (36 USD) for 5 hours or more for more time. Again, try to arrange this through your guesthouse to avoid problems
  • Go with a tour: There are numerous small tour companies and guides/drivers offering their services. But most will try to limit the time for your trip, you might have to go with other customers, and some might surprise you with extra charges or problems.
  • Private tours: Asia Highlights is a good choice for those who want to arrange for a tour with comfortable and fast transportation with an expert English-speaking guide. You can travel in comfort, set the itinerary, and have the flexibility to go where you want to visit places like Pak Ou Cave. Check out the options below.

Visit Kuang Si Waterfall with Us

Laos private transportAsia Highlights' drivers take the hassle out of travel and save your time

There many travel agents and tour companies in town that offer tours to the waterfalls, but most of these would only give limited time exploring the site. But if you go with us, we'll provide reliable transportation that will wait for you, and you can stay there at your leisure.

So you want to book a private tour that has an English-speaking guide and want to go to arrange for other things to do such as a Mekong boat cruise for dinner or visit some other places that you choose, check out our tour options and contact us about what you like to do.

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