Here is the continuation of our 15-day tour in Laos Cambodia. In northern Laos, the 3 main sites of Pak Ou, Kuang Si and Tad Sae are easily visited from Luang Prabang. Here is how we discovered and appreciated them. Two days are necessary to fully enjoy these sites.
North of Laos – Visit of the Pak Ou Caves
25 km north of Luang Prabang, there are two caves that represent a Buddhist pilgrimage site very popular with Laotians. They contain hundreds of Buddha statuettes of various styles and sizes.
How to get from Luang Prabang to Pak Ou caves?
We went to the pier on the right bank of the Mekong River (sign posted). The all-inclusive outing costs 100,000 LAK or about 10 Euros and includes a return trip to the cellars by slow boat with a possible stop to visit a typical village. We leave at 8:30 am, sail for 2 hours to arrive at the caves at 10:30 am. At 11:30 am departure for the return to Luang Prabang where we will arrive around 1:00 pm.
How to visit the Pak Ou caves?
The visit takes 30 to 45 minutes. The Tham Ting cave is located on the 1st level (quick and easily accessible visit). The 2nd cave (Tham Phoum) is much higher and is not lit (bring a flashlight).
Northern Laos – Tad Kuang Si
This is one of my favorite sites in Laos: the Tad Kuang Si waterfalls. About 30 km from Luang Prabang, we discovered a magical place. Indeed, lost in a dense and wild vegetation, a series of small waterfalls follow one another forming natural pools of a bright emerald blue (in which one can swim). It’s simply superb!
How to get from Luang Prabang to Kuang Si Falls?
We were 2 couples and chose to take a tuc-tuc for 400 000 LAK for half a day or 10 Euros per person. So, we had private transportation for the day. And, icing on the cake, our driver was particularly friendly! Here is his contact information:
Mr PHENG Tel: +856 2055299300 (possibility of transport by van)
How to discover Tad Kuang Si?
We went there in the morning to enjoy the coolness and be able to do a short hike of about 2h30 (round trip) through the primary jungle. We climb from plateau to plateau to reach the source of Kuang Si. In fact, at the very top is the sacred spring and the entrance to a cave in which there are some Buddhas.
Northern Laos – Tad Sae Waterfalls
This site, which looks a little like Tad Kuang Si, is located about fifteen kilometers southeast of Luang Prabang. It is a series of terraced waterfalls, the first of which is well designed and, in fact, attracts many tourists and locals. That’s why it’s better to avoid going there on weekends because it’s crowded…
How to get from Luang Prabang to Tad Sae Falls?
From Luang Prabang, it takes 30 to 40 minutes to reach the Cascades. Too happy with Mr PHENG’s services (+856 2055299300), it is with great pleasure that we asked him again for private transport in tuc-tuc from 9am to 3pm.
How to discover Tad Sae?
You must take a canoe to get to the entrance of the site and pay the 20 000 LAK (2 €). We pass by the elephant sanctuary, a bear reserve and we arrive at the first plateau. There, you can swim and eat. Then, on the way for a 1h30 hike that climbs to the source and makes a cascade loop (3 upper waterfalls). Very beautiful panoramas!
On the way back, we ask Mr. PHENG to stop at the whisky village (tourist catch because it is rice alcohol) and Ban Xang Khong a weavers’ village (without much interest except the 3 pagodas).