Best. Waterfall. Ever.

After a brief but eventful stay in Nong Khiaw, we boarded a slow boat for Luang Prabang.  There were a few options to get down to LP, including a much faster bus ride.  But we had heard nice things about the ride down the Nam Ou, and we managed to find a few other people who were going the same way, so we were able to charter a private boat with 8 people on it for just slightly more than the public boat that had over 20, plus gear.

The ride down the Nam Ou was really lovely.  There were lots of small villages along the river, and lots of fishers and transporters and tons and tons of kids waving hello.  And the scenery didn’t suck either.

Luang Prabang is an old French colony, and has been deemed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.  The Lonely Planet writes, “Fabled, riverside Luang Prabang, with its lantern-lit streets, Indochinese architecture and heady fusion of Gallic and Asian cuisine, is truly something to experience.”  And they’re right.

There are bakeries and cafes and old French villas that haven’t all stood up well to the test of time, but it does look like there may be a little restoration in sight.

The two rivers in town are the Mekong River and the Nam Khan (which flows into the Mekong), and the merging point is a really nice spot in town.

There’s a lot to do in Luang Prabang, including enjoying a riverside meal at a lovely outdoor restaurant

Crossing the bridge over the Nam Khan to the bar across the river

or simply enjoying a sunset walk along the Mekong River.

And there’s always the old standby, the night market.

There were two main things we wanted to see in LP – the monk village across the river (with a cave in the hills – damn!) and the Kuang Si waterfall.  We decided to do the waterfall first.

We arrived at the site, which is part of a national park is Laos, and walked through the gates and a short distance to find ourselves not at a waterfall, but at a bear sanctuary!

Bears are endangered in Laos for myriad reasons, but the bears here seem to have found a happy home.

When we got past the bears, we finally came up on the waterfall.  Now THIS is a waterfall!!

Aquamarine water, cascades falling into pools leading to more cascades, a jungle setting – it was just perfect.  There are really no words to describe it – the pictures are the best I can do.

After the waterfall, it was time to tackle the cave.

We took a boat across the Mekong River (that had some really fancy seats)

and made our way to the cave at the monk village, that had a monkey there to welcome us

and a really fancy front door.

I did much better in this cave than I did at the cave in Nong Khiaw.  I went beyond where I could still see daylight, but not that much farther.  The cave wasn’t that deep, and it was quite big inside, so no going through narrow (oxygen deficient) tunnels and passageways.

There were many Buddha statues in the cave, but for some reason, almost all of them had been decapitated.  I never did find out why.  But hey, I went in a (small, easy) cave!  It was a big step indeed!

Do I look terrified??


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by NoWhereMom on March 11, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Awesome! Other than the amazing pics of the waterfall, I loved the one with your hand in the water off the side of the boat! Congrats on conquering cave number 2!


  2. Posted by Murdoch on March 11, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Love the hand in the river shot. And you look completely terrified in the cave. But you’re conquering your fears and that’s totally amazing!


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