We arrived in Luang Prabang at 5pm at night, after our usual social media check we went out to the main road to find some dinner. We then noticed the street lined with paper boats, locals, and a lot of rice wine. We walked down the strip, stopping in at some temples to watch the monks light lanterns and candles, making the whole temple illuminate. We then waited around until darkness set in and followed the parade down to one of the many temples in town. Here they lined up and began chanting and drinking once more. Whilst we waited for all of the boats to arrive (took close to 2 hours) we decided to partake in a paper lantern set off (you may remember us attempting this in Thailand, however our lantern set on fire and crashed back into the sand) well, this time, was not much better, although it didn’t catch alight we did let it off to early (thanks to my impatience) which caused it to hover dangerously low over the festivities whilst I ran through the crowd determined to catch it. Thankfully the wind picked up and it set off into the night without causing any harm. Once all the boats had arrived we followed them down further to the Mekong River where they lowered them in (which was hilarious to watch) this ended up meaning the whole river was alight with beautiful boats and offerings. The next morning we researched this festival and found out it is called Boun Ok Phansa which is the end of the wet season and also the end of the monks 3 month fasting period.
Kacham Waterfall: This waterfall is located an hours bike ride from town, through the beautiful countryside of Luang Prabang. The waterfall is much bigger than we expected, and by far the quietest of the 3, although we are not sure why. The swimming area is smaller, but can easily fit a small group of people.
When we arrived we were not asked to pay an entrance fee, although there was a sign saying ‘entrance fee, pay here’, maybe you only need to pay during high season. The area has many seats and is a beautiful spot to spend an afternoon.
Kuang Si Waterfall: A 40 minute ride from town will take you to Kuang Si Waterfall, this is probably the most interesting waterfall as there are so many sections to it.
Once you arrive you pay your 20,000kip entrance fee and wander to the Bear Park, which is where ‘Save The Bears’ have set up multiple bear enclosures for bears they have saved from poachers or from Chinese medicinal practices who they keep the bears in poor conditions in order to extract bile from them to used in traditional medicine (which is both dangerous to humans and can be easily replaced by natural substances). The Save The Bears foundation is an amazing program run throughout most of Asia and having an enclosure at the waterfall is a great way to shine some light on it. Once finished at the bears you can buy some souvenirs or donate, then follow the bush track up, past the various swimming areas and many small waterfalls until finally you reach the biggest waterfall in Luang Prabang (and probably the biggest we have seen)
I better go, we arranged a Tuk Tuk driver to pick us up at 11:30 to take us to the airport, its 10:30 and he has already arrived. We’re not used to people being on time, let alone an hour early, we have gone into shock.