Once you’re in the tuk-tuk from the slow boat, they drop you to the main town of Luang Prabang. Which is about a 10 minute drive although ours was about 30 minutes because our tuk-tuk broke down. Eventually we arrived next to the main market of Luang Prabang which was really great but firstly we had to use our ‘map.me’ app to find somewhere to stay so we could offload our backpacks. We decided to stay at ‘DownTown Backpackers Hostel’ as it was £5 per person and close to the market. By the time we got settled into our hostel it was getting a bit dark so we had decided to just walk around and find something to eat before heading back to relax as we planned to visit a couple of waterfalls the following day.
During dinner we got chatting to a man who was maybe in his 50’s who told us that because we’re spending £10 a night for both of us we can find a guesthouse for the same price and that hostels here are only good if you’re paying as an individual. For this reason we stuck to only paying for one night. We left our backpacks at the hostel the next morning and walked round to a few of the guesthouses to see how much it would cost us both for a night. After a long walk around the town we came across ‘ThanaBoun Guesthouse’ which we found for 130,000 Kip (£11.70).
When travelling as a couple we love staying in hostels as you get to meet other travellers too but on the other hand we really enjoy having our own space! The ‘DownTown Backpackers Hostel’ was very reasonable and lovely to stay in but it is also really nice to pay an extra £1.70 and not have to walk down 2 floors to get to the shower/toilet. Once we found ‘ThanaBoun Guesthouse’ we went back to collect our bags to drop them off there. On the way back to the guesthouse we found a tourist information office on the way who provided us with a map of the waterfalls, different activities, places to see and a motorbike which we wanted to rent for the day.
Once we filled out all our forms and got our bike we first drove to ’Tad Sae Waterfall’ but make sure you take money with you as when you arrive you have to pay for a boat to take you there. Luckily we had money on us otherwise it would have been a waste of a journey as you can’t drive there directly! When you arrive there is also zip-lining and elephant rides which we didn’t do as we didn’t expect the waterfall to be so pricey. There are 3 different levels of waterfalls and we definitely recommend visiting all 3 although the last one is a trek to get to! After walking for a good 20 minutes we eventually found the last waterfall and it was amazing! We really recommend walking to the last waterfall if you have good footwear on as you will have the whole place to yourself near enough. The other two waterfalls can get quiet busy. But be warned the pathway is slippy and the hand rails collapse as Leila found out while trying to use one to support her!
We trekked back to the boat at about 4pm and there was still people arriving but the ticket office was closed, so if you want to see the first waterfall and not have to pay the entrance fee go at this time. We headed back to the boat, hopped on the scooter and rode home. That evening we had a walk around the night market (which is excellent), then went for dinner at ‘The Bakery’. Harry had a lovely chicken steak and Leila ordered 4 cheese pizza. As excited as she was when Leila’s pizza arrived it was more like a cheese bread as there was no tomato base! The food was good but I wouldn’t say its worth the price you pay.
The next morning we got up early, had breakfast and went to see ‘Kuang Si Waterfall’ before we had to take the bike back. This waterfall is a longer drive away and more touristy, but definitely the best one. When you arrive you first walk through a bear sanctuary, then you arrive at your first swimming area. There are changing rooms, toilets and the path is a lot more established than ‘Tad Sae Waterfall’. There’s about 4/5 swimming areas but make sure you walk to the last as behind it you have the most amazing view of the waterfall. From here we decided to take the steep steps up to the top. If your feeling active give it a go as the view is great. At the top there is a rope swing, an area to swim in and you can also hire a boat to the source of the waterfall. As we were running out of time we decided to have a quick dip then back to the bike, as it takes just over an hour to ride back into town.
We dropped the bike off around 12:30, quickly went to get some lunch and then waited for our tuk-tuk to the bus station, to get the bus to Vang Vieng.
Tip : If you’re not an experienced/confident bike rider don’t ride to Tad Sae Waterfall as the road is full of gravel and not well maintained so it is easy to skid on the bike.