What You Need to Know About Visiting the Kuang Si Waterfall in Monsoon Season - Breathe Travel

You've probably seen photos on Instagram of turquoise-colored pools of water that cascade down the mountainside: the Kuang Si Waterfall is one of the most idyllic and picturesque places in Laos. There's a good reason why it is one of the top attractions in Luang Prabang, a town listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Like almost everyone else visiting Luang Prabang, I had my heart set on visiting and seeing the famous aquamarine Kuang Si Waterfall in all its glory. But here's the problem: I visited the waterfall during August in the middle of rainy season and hadn't done as much research as I should have.

Unfortunately, the views I had hoped for weren't quite as magnificent as I'd expected. Here's what you need to know to avoid being caught off guard if you're visiting Kuang Si Waterfall from May to October...

Getting to Kuang Si Waterfall is easy enough, you can take a van or a tuk tuk and the drive takes approximately 45 minutes. The road to Kuang Si is scattered with beautiful, cascading lush rice paddies and wandering water buffalo.

What You Need to Know About Visiting the Kuang Si Waterfall in Monsoon Season - Breathe Travel
What You Need to Know About Visiting the Kuang Si Waterfall in Monsoon Season - Breathe Travel

Entrance to the Kuang Si Waterfall costs 20,000 Kip (approximately $2.5 USD) and includes a visitthrough a bear rescue centre that houses about two dozen moon bears that were saved from poachers, including 4 cubs! The centre relies on donations and sponsorship and you can also buy a t-shirt to support their development.

What You Need to Know About Visiting the Kuang Si Waterfall in Monsoon Season - Breathe Travel
What You Need to Know About Visiting the Kuang Si Waterfall in Monsoon Season - Breathe Travel

A few hundred meters further ahead is the base of the waterfalls and the beginning of the trail. This is where I had mentally prepared myself for the incredible view that was about to appear. But then the roaring began. And it got louder and louder as I approached. And then I saw this.

What You Need to Know About Visiting the Kuang Si Waterfall in Monsoon Season - Breathe Travel

Not exactly the glistening, mineral-rich aquamarine water that you see in photos of Kuang Si Waterfall, right?

Had I done my research ahead of time, I would have known that the waterfall often looks like this and swimming is impossible because of the rapids from the end of May to October. January to early May is the recommended time of year to visit the falls.

During the dry season, you can also hike up the side of the waterfall to swim in the pools on different levels of the waterfall. The trail is not paved but not supposed to be too strenuous of a hike. However, during the rainy season, because of the sheer volume of water that comes pouring down, the trail floods and becomes very muddy which makes it quite difficult to get to the top without a massive struggle.

What You Need to Know About Visiting the Kuang Si Waterfall in Monsoon Season - Breathe Travel
What You Need to Know About Visiting the Kuang Si Waterfall in Monsoon Season - Breathe Travel

If you're planning on visiting the Kuang Si Waterfall during the rainy season, you should know that it's still seriously spectacular and powerful, but you probably won't be able to swim in the pools and the water is unlikely to be calm and sky blue.

Be sure to ask around before you head to the waterfall and see if any of your fellow travelers have visited in the past few days so you can get a better sense of the conditions. You can still make the trip over, just adjust your expectations slightly as you're probably not going to get that token shot of the sky blue pools.

What You Need to Know About Visiting the Kuang Si Waterfall in Monsoon Season by @yogawinetravel

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What You Need to Know About Visiting the Kuang Si Waterfall in Monsoon Season - Breathe Travel

Image source: pexels.com & author's own


A version of this post originally appeared on Yoga Wine Travel and has been republished with permission.