Bear with me for this…

Today’s adventure was an hour long Touk Touk ride (which is more of a two bench vehicle than a Thai tuk tuk is). It was a bumpy ride at some speed but we at least had fantastic views of the countryside. It is the season for farmers to slash and burn so there is a constant haze in the sky and a tinge of smoke in the air most of the time.

The Tat Kuang Si waterfall was worth the uncomfortable journey though.

I have seen a fair few waterfalls in my time but I have to say that this is probably the prettiest one. The water cascades down different routes through the various levels into the brilliant turquoise pools.

This close up shows how the sediment in the water has shaped the limestone so instead of cutting through the rock it is depositing and creating stalactites type shapes.

The water flows down into a variety of terraced pools and there are some that you can swim in. So we did.

It felt pretty awesome to be bathing in the jungle! The water was cold but so refreshing in the heat of the day. In each pool were tiny fish who nibble your legs so we also had a free and totally natural fish spa!

Calcium carbonate particles in the water reflect the light making the water look such a vivid hue. The water colours were soothing on the eye but the jungle trail had some pretty vivid flora too which was delightful against the dense greens.

But the best treat of all was the bear sanctuary at the bottom of the hill. I hadn’t even realized that it was there until the trail took us through their enclosure. These are sun bears and moon bears a type of asiatic bear all of whom who have been rescued from trappers and poachers. The sanctuary restores them to health.

This short video clip shows the cubs play fighting. I guess kids are kids whatever the species!

Bear bile is highly prized in traditional Chinese medicine and bears are caught then kept penned up in cages with tubes draining their bile continuously. It’s an awful trade and the bears are in misery. It was so wonderful to see them enjoying being out in the open.

Our final stop of the day was to the library (bus Man’s holiday!); the Luang Prabang public library was tiny and had only a few shelves of tatty books but they had launched a book boat project

Anyone can buy a book from a preselected shelf for $2 and donate it to a Book Bag’. These are then taken by boat to the poor village schools who have few resources. We are always happy to help those less fortunate than ourselves- especially with the gift of books!

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