Feeling a bit in the dark about the beauty of caves? Prepare to be wowed as you enter these sci-fi-like fantasy landscapes made of the weird and wondrous. Fabulous forms and rich finds are complemented by ancient buddhas or crystal waters.




This amazing 7,5 kilometers-long limestone cave was formed by the Hinboun River which still flows through the cave year-round. You can take a boat ride right through the main cave, which is up to 90 meters wide and 100 meters high.

The Kong Lor Cave can be reached via a 40 kilometers overland trip from Ban Khounkham (the Gateway to Kong Lor) or by taking a slightly longer but more adventurous boat trip up the Hinboun River, beginning in Naphouak village. Homestays are available in Natan and Kong Lor villages.

Tham Pa Fa


Tham Pa Fa Cave, located near Na Khang Xang Village in Thakhaek District, hit the news following the discovery of 229 Buddha statues in a previously unexplored cave. In April 2004, a local villager entered the small cave opening 15m from ground level while collecting bats (a local delicacy).

Passing through the small cave entrance he looked down into the cavern below and to his amazement saw a large Buddha statue. Proceeding down into the cave he realized that there were over 200 Buddha statues ranging in size from 15 centimeters to over 1 meter-tall.  Word about the new discovery soon spread, and the cave has become one of Khammouane’s most visited attractions. The villagers have since organized themselves to guard the cave and its sacred Buddha statues 24 hours a day.

The limestone formations within the cave are quite spectacular and add to the natural beauty of the cave. There is a small entrance fee for visitors. 

Tham Kao Rao

Luang Namtha

Vieng Phoukha District is surrounded by karst Limestone Mountains that have many interesting and beautiful caves. Formed by centuries of weathering that has gradually carved huge caverns out of the porous limestone, Vieng Phoukha’s caves have some of the most beautiful underground formations in northern Laos.

During prehistoric times many of the caves might have been inhabited by people, but today they primarily support nesting swifts and thousands of roosting bats of over a dozen species. Some of the most accessible are the caves near Nam Eng Village (Tham Kao Rao) and the network of caverns at the base of the Phou Prasat limestone formation near Tha Luang Village.

Vieng Xay cave


Vieng Xay, located northeast of the provincial capital, boasts over 100 limestone caves, 10 of which have immense national and historical significance as the hidden headquarters of the former Pathet Lao from 1961-1975.

These limestone karst cave networks sheltered their headquarters during their struggle with the American-backed Royal Lao Government. In these caves the Pathet Lao established a “Hidden City” which supported around 20,000 people. During nine years of almost constant bombing, they sheltered in caves and surrounding jungle. Most of their daily lives were led under cover of darkness. Schools, hospitals and markets as well as government ministries, a radio station, a theatre and military barracks were all hidden in the caves.

See: Vieng Xay Caves – Life Underground

Pak Ou & Tham Ting

Luang Prabang

Ever since Buddhism was introduced to the area, local people have been bringing statues and placing them inside this cave as a way of making merit. There are thousands of Buddha statues in this cave and they make for quite a spectacle.

The staircase to the left of the lower cave leads you through the forest to the upper cave. During Pii Mai (Lao New Year) the Royal Family used to travel to the cave, along with many monks and local devotees, to pour water over a sacred Buddha statue as part of Pi Mai celebrations. There isn’t much to see inside the cave but there is a stunning doorway with ornate metalwork that is well worth the walk.

Xe Bang Fai/Khoun Xe Cave


Located in the south east of Khammouane, the Xe Bangfai Cave is one of the most impressive known cave systems in the world. The cave stretches for approximately 9,5 kilometers and is home to some beautiful scenery and also interesting features such as fireflies and 10-inch spiders.

See: Below the Surface of Laos

Tham Xang (Elephant Cave)


This cave used to be feared by local people due to a limestone formation inside the cave that was shaped like an evil monster’s head. It was even taboo to drink from the waters that flowed from the cave.

In 1956 when poor health engulfed the village, the villagers decided to destroy the “evil head” forever, and henceforth exploded it with dynamite. Soon after this, an elephant head miraculously formed in a different site in the cave, and the health of the villagers improved. Since then, the elephant head has been revered and the cave has become an important Buddhist shrine.

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