Yesterday we heard there are some beautiful waterfalls near Luang Prabang so we planned to look for a tuk tuk to head off to Kouang Si Waterfalls. We find a tuk tuk for 35,000 kip/person and with our british friends Steve and Lou we head off.
Little did I know that paradise could exists beyond beautiful beaches in the middle of a jungle.
Dan, an american guy we took the scuba diving course in Koh Tao recommended we go early to avoid the tourists. I’m glad we did as there were very few people when we arrived, sometimes we had a whole pool all to ourselves.
Kouang Si Waterfalls entrance is full of small stands selling everything touristy from local artifacts to some yummy fruit shakes. To our surprise, the first attraction was a group of endangered bears local to the area. The bear conservation unit brings rescued bears (from illegal trading to injured ones) to this great playground full with swings, natural stream, big trees, and good food to scavenge for.
We continue hiking on our jungle trail to find the first pool of turquoise water with miniature waterfalls and a bamboo bridge. The river in this area goes over white limestone which makes the water look a bright turquoise color surrounded by flush green jungle.
Further up river we start finding taller waterfalls and more pools where you can swim. At one point we find a tree with a rope tied to it where we can swing and jump in the water! Next to it, there is a 3-4 meter waterfall where you can jump off!
If you’ve traveled with me to some Mayan ruins, you know I’m afraid of heights! Once in Tikal I had to sit down and slide down each step to come down one of the tall pyramids… I guess the fear I have is of falling, not necessarily looking down.
I had no problems jumping off the rope … I mean, the first time it took me a few minutes to climb the tree but it was easy compared to what was to come.
Our friend Steve and Lou climb up to the waterfall and jumped! Lou was a bit afraid but after a few minutes decided to jump.
I really wanted to jump and decided I needed to get over my fear of heights.
I start walking towards the waterfall with Steve and I warn him that it might take me 30 minutes to actually jump … I first I thought I was just exaggerating but it really did take 30 minutes to jump.. Once I reached the top of the waterfall the fear of falling took over me and I could not get myself to jump. A part of my mind was pushing me to jump but 99% of it was yelling at me not to jump: are you crazy? You’re going to break your head? You’ll slip and fall and break something…
Wonderful Steve stood next to me for the 30 minutes and was a great support! Steve finally told me: imagine a nice cold Beer Lao tonight knowing you overcame your fear and you’re the shit … two seconds later, I jumped! I completely cleared my mind, stepped forward to the edge and jumped!
A huge weight was removed from my shoulders and I did it again since the camera did not take the picture!
Now you know how to get rid of fear of heights: think of a nice cold beer!