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Things to do in Laos

The jungle waterfall trek and bear sanctuary

Learn about life in the jungle and bear conservation en route to the bathing paradise of Kuang Si Waterfalls…

Santixay Vongsanghane
Inbound Tour Manager for Asian Trails, Alfred&’s partner in Laos

Learn about life in the jungle and bear conservation en route to the bathing paradise of Kuang Si Waterfalls. This half-day tour starts at 8am, when we make the hour-long drive from Luang Prabang to Ban Long Lao Neuang and Ban Long Lao Song villages. Your guide will introduce you to the villagers, who belong to some of Laos’ oldest ethnic minority groups. You’ll get to see their traditional wooden houses and learn all about their ancient traditions.

Leaving the village, the trail winds through vibrant green rice paddies and fields growing indigenous vegetables such as corn, pumpkin and cucumber. The scenery changes dramatically as you reach the more mountainous jungle and continue to walk along a forested path. Along the way, we’ll stop for a break at a cave that was used as a shelter during the second Indochina war.

After an hour you’ll reach the magnificent, three-tiered Kuang Si Waterfalls. Turquoise water cascades through dense jungle into the beautifully-sculpted limestone pools 50 metres below. While the views are stunning, the sensation of plunging into the refreshing water is even more memorable. A reward that I can’t recommend highly enough!

After cooling off, we’ll visit a nearby bear sanctuary to meet the rescue team and learn about sun, Asiatic black, moon and sloth bears. The centre is funded by the ‘Free the Bears’ charity who have rescued over 950 animals from the illegal wildlife trade and bear bile farms. You’ll have the opportunity to observe the moon bears at close quarters, hear their moving rescue stories and help the keepers with feeding time.

We end the adventure with a late lunch overlooking the lower falls at Carpe Diem, a restaurant built from natural materials that blends seamlessly into the jungle. It’s the perfect place to try Orlam, a traditional Lao stew combining chunks of meat with aubergine and sakham – a wild local vine that gives the dish its distinctive peppery flavour. What’s great is that when you dine at Carpe Diem, five percent of the bill goes to the ASAS charity, which funds local community projects.


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Alfred & Santixay Vongsanghane

Santixay has enjoyed a 20-year career in travel, fuelled by his fascination to discover different cultures. Since joining Asian Trails in 2005 he has travelled throughout Asia, although his native Laos is where his heart remains. He loves to develop unique experiences that showcase the country, as well as benefitting the local economy and community.

Alfred & our Laos holiday experts

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