I hate to do this, but I can’t help but compare Southeast Asia to South America. It’s probably not fair to do that, but, as my mom says, “Life’s not fair.” I can’t help it. Thinking about their differences has helped us further confirm that food, animals and freaks of nature are what we love most. South America is boiling over with two of the three, highly lacking in the tasty food area (aside from Argentine steak and wine, of course!). So far, Southeast Asia’s scenery hasn’t blown us away, which has been pretty disappointing. However, the food is much much better and what it lacks in scenery it makes up for in the animal department.
After spending some days chilling out around Luang Prabang we decided we’d better get out of town to see some nature and animals. About forty minutes away is the Kuang Si Waterfall. Unusually, the highlight of visiting the waterfall is the nearby Asian bear sanctuary. Yes, freakin’ bears. It’s random but trust me it’s cool, okay?
The first thing you see when you enter the park is a huge pen with 20 or so bears roaming around. There are Asiatic Black “Moon” Bears and Malayan Sun Bears 1 that reside here after being saved from whatever horrible situation they were in. They look pretty happy I must say. We arrived at lunch time when the keepers hide food all around the pen so they bears can try to find it.
We lingered for a bit but left soon after as there was still many waterfalls to see. It was hard to tell how long it was going to take to get through a place. You just don’t know. The Iguazú Falls in Argentina took two days! While we knew this was not nearly as big, we had no idea what was ahead. First, there were some smaller waterfalls and really bright aqua colored pools. Dusty tried his hand at capturing photos with “soft” water.
Not too long into our walk we got to THE waterfall. Eh. Not much to see this time around. You just never know! Got some photos, hiked a bit and headed back down the hill to the entrance as we thought we were going to be late meeting our songtaew (taxi truck with two benches in the bed).
Turned out we were reading the clock on Dusty’s camera incorrectly. It was still set on Eastern Standard Time. Whooops! Eleven hours off. We still had an hour so we killed time checking out the bears again. Now, the bears were taking an afternoon nap, laying everywhere including some in hammocks. We got up really close to the fence and watched them sleep. Suddenly, one on top of a structure awoke from his nap, climbed down through a hammock to the ground and walked right over to us. He then turned around and peed. It was almost as if he was “pissed” at us and was ever so gently telling us to go away.
No worries, playing with a baby chick in the street and laughing with the little Laotian girls was equally fun. In fact, the bears, the chick and the kids were the best part of the afternoon.
Tat Kuang Si Rescue Center
1 Nerd Alert: Did you know that there are eight types of bears in the world, six of which live in Asia? We are now smarter after visiting the bear sanctuary. Never know when that sort of trivia will come in handy.