Cycling is popular and easy in Laos – there are few cars and people drive slow – and the Kuang Si Falls, located about 30 kilometres south of Luang Prabang, are a perfect day trip destination.
The journey to the waterfall is an uphill battle and the hot and humid weather makes it extra uncomfortable, but it’s worth the effort as it offers spectacular views. You pass green hills, small villages, terraced rice fields…
To enter the Kuang Si Park everyone must pay an entry fee (20,000 kip). About halfway between the park entrance and the waterfall is the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre.
Both Asiatic Black Bear and Sun Bear are classified as vulnerable species. Threats include illegal poaching for bear parts, bear bile farming and illegal pet trade. Bear bile is used in traditional medicine and in many household products. Thousands of bears throughout Asia are confined to tiny cages and endure lives of suffering as bile is repeatedly extracted directly from their gall bladders using painful, invasive techniques, which cause massive infections. Some bears are caged as cubs and never released. Most farmed bears are starved, dehydrated and suffer from multiple diseases.
The trail continues behind the Bear Rescue Centre and leads along picturesque blue pools and small falls.
The path leads to the main fall with a 60 metres cascade.
The way back to Luang Prabang is a pleasant downhill ride with stunning views of sun setting behind the hills.