Luang Prabang

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October 26th 2011
Published: October 30th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

There are three waterfalls in the area to visit, i've seen so many waterfalls I wasnt sure I needed to see more but I was assured these were amazing. So through the guesthouse I booked a tuk tuk to Tat Kuang Si and it was impressive. There was only myself with an older Australian couple so we could spend as much time there as we wanted. The waterfall had two swimming areas and luckily it isn't high season so it was pretty quiet. The waterfall has formed its way through limestone and is over a few tiers. Although the water was slightly refreshing I went in for a little swim! We sat at the cafe for mango shakes, I dont know how I will ever survive without mango again. It took us about an hour to get to and from the small village where the waterfall is, making for a very bumpy and dusty drive. I can understand why the locals have cloths to cover their mouths, getting back to the guesthouse you can see the dust on your clothes and skin.
While I went out to get a buffet dinner from the market I booked a two day trek. The trek visited Khamu and Hmong villages with a homestay and Tat Sae waterfall. It was with Tiger Trails and 33% of the cost went to villages. The trek started the next morning.
In the morning I walked to the meeting point where I met the two guides, a guy who was doing the same trip myself and two girls that would be doing the first day trekking with us then kayaking the second day. We drove out to the Elephant centre where we started the trek from. From here we took a boat across the river and started walking! We walked for about 6hrs through rice paddies, across rivers, up and down mountains and through villages. The scenery was stunning and it surprised me just how many small villages there are in the mountains. Many of the villages are been moved down the mountains so they have better access to hospitals and schools, also the government doesn't want them to continue chopping down the forest inorder to grow rice, but not everyone is happy about this.
We stopped at one of the villages to eat lunch and as soon as we arrived kids and adults came and set up stalls around us selling mostly brackets but some bags and things too. Sadly there was more than four stalls but we all bought one from a different stall, then we gave the kids the bananas that we had brought with us from town.
The walk was pretty easy and we arrived at the village where we spent the night about 5ish. After taking a 'shower' we walked around playing with the kids and learning about how they lived. Most of them only live in the village to work and move down to the town during the dry season. There was a school in the village and Tristan who was an English teacher spent an hour in the morning teaching the kids English. We ate local (but not spicy, I wish they would give us spicy) food for dinner. We didn't stay with a family but in a building with separate bedrooms specifically for trekkers, not long after dinner we all headed to bed knackered!
Our guide, Tristen and myself started trekking again not long after breakfast but in Lao time. Again we trekked through the rice paddies mostly walking along a stream trying to keep dry. We stopped off at a few work stations and asked the farmers questions about their families and lifes. One couple had had twelve children but only six had survived. We learned about marrage (Hmong men can have many wifes) and relocating down the mountain, the pros and cons.
We had to take a trip down the river on one of the locals boats to the waterfall. This involved jumping across the biggest bit of water yet! And I fell in, camera wet and everything!
We went down the river to Tat Sae waterfall where there is also an elephant centre. Here we ate lunch then had an hour by the waterfall. It isn't as big as Kuang Si hight wise but wider and beautiful. There were more locals swimming here and the water wasn't as cold! Again it was a waterfall that had carved the limestone rocks with a nice area for swimming. From here we took the bumpy and dusty drive back to town. Pwar time for a shower! : )

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