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Kouang Si Waterfall and Muang Ngoi

Note that this was first posted out of order and should be listed prior to Xiamen. On the main chapter page it has been corrected, but that is why subscribers received it after the Xiamen post.

After a week, we were ready for an day triip to Kouang Si waterfall. We set off on a cool, misty morning with a bunch of young folks and our friend Terry from Nicaragua. We all piled into a sangtheaw to get there, about an hours ride away . Because it was Sunday the place was full of Lao families and monks on what I assume was their day off. There were a series of turquoise pools that reminded me very much of Semuc Champey inGuatemala, but the water was a bit colder. We spent the afternoon lounging about and swimming.


The piece de resistance was climbing up to the top of the falls.


We noticed that there was another pool, high on the cliff. To get there we had to descend slightly and then climb up another steep, but small waterfall, A bit hairy, but luckily the rocks were not at all slippery, so you could walk right up where the water was cascading down. It was a magical place with small and medium falls plunging down all around and very lush tropical vegetation. In the middle there was a large pool with. yes, a rope swing to jump into the deepest part. It's hard to convey the beauty of the place, and unfortunately I did not take the camera for fear of dropping it on the way up.

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After a few more days, we were ready to take a longer excursion further into the mountains, first to Muang Kuai by minibus, and then an hour boat ride through rapids on the Nam Mu River to Muang Ngoi. It was a quaint village with thatched roofs and bamboo houses, but it was not undiscovered. No matter, the cows, chickens, water buffaloes, and people, were all friendly. As soon as we got there, we ran into our young friends from the Kouang Si waterfall trip who whipped out a case of BeerLao and handed us a cold one upon arrival. They were all sitting around a fire trying to keep warm, because unfortunately the weather had taken a turn for the worse. It was unusually cold, and overcast.

The Gang's All Here

Author with Local Woman

Streets of Muang Ngoi

We went on a hike through fields


to a couple of smaller villages and some caves. Lots of bats and these were the first caves that I have ever been in where the air was warmer inside than outside. It felt a little like a sauna. These villages were relatively untrammeled, but not that many people were about, perhaps because of the cold.


Even the water buffalo huddled together to stay warm.


We returned to Muang Ngoi the same day and again sat around a fire while the locals went about their business.

Making Hooch



The next day, the weather was even worse, drizzling and colder, perhaps upper 40's F, so we decided to return to the comforts of Luang Prabang. After an hour back downriver though, we were unable to get a minibus, and so had to take a sangtheaw , basically an open pick-up truck with small uncomfortable seats. We shivered for the entire bone jarring ride. Needless to say, we had left our warmest clothes in Bangkok, never thinking we would need them in tropical Southeast Asia.

Posted by jonshapiro 13:38 Archived in Laos

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Greatly enjoying your recent blogs Jon!!

by Guy

The photos are as usual very beautifu and your writing gives a real touch of the places,

by Elona Kitron

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