Luang Prabang’s Kuangsi Waterfall is best experienced early in Laos’ monsoon season.
Most of the peak season mob is gone and by late July the waterfall is flushed and flowing clean. Obviously if a monsoon squall hits then any waterfall is off limits.
However within a day or sometimes less depending on water flow Kuangsi Waterfall is safe. It has a brief bit of paved tarmac just up to above the lower pool plus well-maintained trails and sturdy bridges.
It looks in surprising good condition this time of year (despite the surfaced road to start) and most trails aren’t slippery even if it is the raining season.
During this time of year Kuangsi Waterfall in Luang Prabang might get under 1,000 visitors daily and this is the ‘so-called’ low season.
That feels about right, but it isn’t the type of place this fork would want to visit in January when demand is high and water low.
Having said that we headed there for a half day after a two-day rainstorm. Finding mini-vans heading to Kungsi Waterfall is easy.
We just walked out of Tha Hua Me and found one on the corner of Khem Kong and Kitsalat Roads.
It worked out to 35,000 kip per person in a 10-passenger van and off we went.
On arrival our group headed to the top tier of the three-tiered falls. All told it was less than two kilometers (if not less) to the stunning top level.
There was no way to get closer that 50 meters to the falls, and swimming is not allowed in the top pool for safety and conservation reasons.
Swimming was allowed in the multi-pooled second tier.
There were also basic dressing rooms and picnic tables were we changed, swam and shared lunch with a Laotian family. It was comfortable, safe and heaps of fun.
It was only on departure that we discovered the lowest ‘adventure tier’.
Hopefully it was the deepest water as it offered the highest elevated fall into the aqua marine pool below. Some jumped from top ledge after a careful walk to the center.
Others swung ‘Tarzan-style’ from a large tree that requires an equally careful step-by-step assent. Release point was also crucial; several jumpers came dangerously close to slamming back into the tree.
All said this was the big fun noisy play area.
We were glad to get to the top and see the most beautiful bit first. But next time at Kuangsi Waterfall in Luang Prabang I am going for the full Tarzan plunge.