Jenny\'s Southeast Asia/China Adventure

Laos-Travelogue  |  Travel time: February - June 2004  |  by Jenny Chu

Laos: Kuang Si waterfalls

lower kuang si falls

lower kuang si falls


Wednesday, 3/3/04
Day 29, A Day in Paradise

After a lovely brekkie by the Mekong River (have I mentioned that fresh tropical fruits topped with homemade yogurt is oh so delish!), I tried to get an infusion of Laos culture with a trip to the National Museum, but it was closed for lunch. Tried to do internet but all the cafes were down. Power outages even in bigger towns like Luang Prabang are not uncommon. Anyway, pretty soon it was time to meet John and Fran for our trip to the Kuang Si waterfalls about 25km away. Fran actually decided to stay behind, so John and I bargained for a tuk tuk to take us to the falls for $4 each. Each sitting on our own wooden bench on the back of a pick-up truck, John and I enjoyed the ride which brought us down an unpaved dirt road past little villages and dry fields (we could only imagine how beautiful the countryside is during the rainy season). We also passed by a few colorful wedding parties, both with loud music, and drunk 'n merry party-goers. Some people even waved their hands for us to join in the festivities. It was too bad we didn't have the time to down a few Lao whisky shots with them!

An hour later we arrived at the waterfalls and ran into some people who had been on our slow boat. BTW, Luang Prabang and the tourist trail in general is so small that in Laos you hardly are surprised to run into the same people over and over again. The guys told us to walk from the Lower falls to the Upper falls and so we did.

"Wow. This is So Beautiful. Wow. WOW!~ That pretty much summed up the conversation that John and I were having as we walked through paradise on earth. The Kuang Si lowerfalls were picture perfect-the clear waterfall flowing into beautiful turquoise colored pools, surrounded by lush green plants -this was one tourist attraction that surely lived up to its reputation. Luckily, there were not that many tourists either, which allowed us to experience the beauty in relative peace.

The upper falls were also fantastic, and there was a lovely wooden bridge connecting different parts of the park. For an hour I just sat on a bench, doing nothing except for listening to the water and soaking in the serenity that I was feeling. Meanwhile, John hiked up further to the upper-upper falls and splashed in the pools which provided great views of the water tumbling down below. On the way back we stopped and donated money to the people who were taking care of a rare Indochinese tiger. The tiger was rescued from a poacher and was one of the 500(I think) Indochinese tigers left in the world.

Back in town, I treated myself to a rip-off $5 dinner at a bougie French/Loatian restaurant. I had some Mekong river moss (yum), veggie casserole (bland), but the d├ęcor was nice at least. Afterwards, I met John and Fran to say goodbye as they were heading off to Vang Vien tomorrow. We shared our experiences about our Monk friends. I was having a little doubt about my trip with Vatsuchinda to his village. John had been asked by his Monk friend for a donation to help fund his education. John gave him some money but was a little skeptical about it since Monks aren't really supposed to ask for money. That made me think that perhaps my Monk friend would also ask me for a donation while I was at his village. It's not a big deal to have to donate some money, but the more I thought about it, the more I wasn't so sure that it was so normal for me to travel with a monk to his village. On the way back to my guesthouse, I stopped by a travel agent and told him about my monk's invitation. The travel agent had also been a monk for six years and he says that many monks aren't necessarily as devout as you think. Many boys spend time in a monastary because it is a good way to receive free education without the stress of having to work and provide for your family. Others are sent to the monastary by their parents to be disciplined. Sort of like reform school (that would explain why we saw some Monks smoking and drinking Beer Lao-eh). But surely, he said they are not supposed to travel with women. So, I made up my mind to tell Vatsuchinda in the morning that I could not go with him to his village. It just didn't seem legitimate anymore.

standing in paradise at kuang si falls

standing in paradise at kuang si falls

© Jenny Chu, 2004
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The trip
 
Description:
Follow my travels through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and China..........
Details:
Start of journey: Feb 02, 2004
Duration: 4 months
End of journey: Jun 02, 2004
Travelled countries: Asia
China
Thailand
Laos
Cambodia
Vietnam
The Author
 
Jenny Chu is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 15 years.
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