Our schedule today is renting motorcycles up to the north of Laos visiting Pak Ou Caves (about 30km far from Luang Prabang) and up to the south to visit the Kuang Si Falls (far from Pak Ou Caves about 60 km, from the city of Luang Prabang is 30km). It is also two places you can not miss when come to Luang Prabang. Through research and reading on WikiTravel are also a few more attractions such as Elephant Village and Tad Sae waterfall, but we decided to spend these sights for next Laos trip.
In Luang Prabang, renting motorcycle is more expensive than elsewhere. At low season as we go ( from June- September) is 100k Kip / day ( ~ 14$) without petro. Go along the Thammamikalath road, there are few of motorbike rentals, generally the quality is quite good. The most wonderful thing while traveling in Southeast Asian countries is driving motorcycle, especially you traveling alone or in couple. Because it's easy to rent a bike for between 4$ - 6$ (Luang Prabang is a special case cost to much expensive), regular gasoline also cheap . Flexiable, easy to control, more experinece, you can stop anywhere, anytime to enjoy your moment. Such a good ideal renting bike to discover landscape by yourself.
From Luang Prabang, there are two ways go to Pak Ou Cave, one is highway and one is a dirt road along the Mekong River. And of course we choose the land road to see whole view of Mekong River. Said the land line but also paved sections not so bad. You should park your bike and transfer to the boat go to the Cave. Parking fee (5K Kip) + boat fee (13k Kip x 2 ng), the total is 31k Kip ( ~4.5$). Now it is not the busy season, so less of tourist come here. We also had more time and quiet to visit the Cave.
It takes about 15 minutes on boat go to Cave. Seating on boat, watching the moutain, the river around is so wonderful. The water of river is cool with dark brown of alluvia, dispeling the heat of summer in Laos. The water flew so strong, it was not easy for driver can control the boat.
And finally we got to the other side, you need to buy tickets 20k Kip /person/ day (about ~2$) to come inside the Pak Ou Caves. We are very lucky when join with other foreigner grop to hear a local tour guide explained the history and meaning of the Buddha statues here.
At Pak Ou Caves, Buddhist statues have 3 main shapes. The first is that the Buddha with hands to chest presents "Stop Arguing" (Stop Debate), stop the war, arguing. Because it will not solve anything, and instead, please calm down and listen from both sides 2. The second is a statue pointing to the sky, that means "Calling for rain", with agricultural country, the proportion of the rain is a very important for harvest. The third statue with both hands below symbolizes "The Witness", Live in clean, healthy, not greedy, everything you do will be witnessed. Surprising with not only by the magnificent views of the mountains, but also a huge cultural significance. So dont miss the Pak Ou Cave when you visit Luang Prabang.
To save our time, so after come back to land, we had short rest for fast lunch and go straight to Kuang Si waterfall- one of the most amazing waterfall in Laos. Kuang Si Waterfall is a very large are, you will get at least about 3 hours here. The best time to visit the falls is definitely when the sun goes down. We decide treking to the top first and come back relax in swiming pool after.
Experience treking the top of Kuang Si waterfall is very special. There are two road: one road at the right of Waterfal with the ladder to come up, and one road at the left with dirt land road- to come down. It takes about 30 minutes to get the top. And the view also amazing. It also the sunset time, woa, no words can describe exactly how great of this moment. The second road is harder because No structure, no guideline, easy to get lost we just go by our feeling. We dont have flash, no map, overcome the fear, go ahead and finally the goal appear.
End of day, we came back to Luang Prabang and enjoy our dinner.