Tham Kong Lo Cave – Ban Nahin: Highlights of Laos

Tham Kong Lo Cave – Ban Nahin: Highlights of Laos

Did you read Part 3 of Laos Travels:  Vang Vieng Travel Highlights of Laos?  I take another cheap but painful songthaew  (a Laos taxi-truck). to Vientiane. Where I then head to Ban Na Hin to visit Kong Lo cave.

Kong Lo Cave, Ban Nahin, Tham Kong Lo Cave, Tham Kong Lo, Ban Nahin

I arrive to Ba Na Hin at around 11pm. The town is dark and extremely silent. I begin to walk down the deserted street in search of a place to stay – There are some hotels but no one is awake and there is no response to my calls.

One lady peaks out her door at one of the hotels and I am excited to see some life – she shows me a room but I decide the price it too much – she will not budge and I am too stubborn to give so I hit the silent street again – sometimes I wonder at my sanity!

The air is delightful with a warm breeze and I am determined to find a cheaper place to stay. I walk for about a mile and find nothing!

Starting to get a little worried and weary I finally run into a couple of guys on the street. I inquire as to a place to stay and soon find myself on the back of a motorbike, a strong smell of alcohol coming from my driver, heading back from where I had come, right back to the same hotel I had originally said no to and swallowing my pride I agree to stay.

Communication…??

I wake up early the next morning and try to figure how to get to Kong lo cave. Ever since reaching Vientiane the day before I feel as though I have entered into a black hole of communication.

I have communicated with people without a common language my whole life – so much can be said and expressed without words – the use of miming and facial expression I have always thought to be cross cultural.

There is something about this area, however, where even my most successful mimes seem lost. I am finding it incredibly difficult to communicate anything here or maybe I am just exhausted and lack patience.

I finally find a songthaew headed to Kong Lo.

Phu Hin Bun National ParkKong Lo Cave, Ban Nahin, Tham Kong Lo Cave, Tham Kong Lo, Ban Nahin

– craggy karst mountains and crystal clear rivers.

Kong Lo cave one of the natural wonders of Southeast Asia was created by the persistence of the Nam Hin Bun river tunneling 7km through the belly of a mighty Karst mountain.

We arrive to the cave and I am surprised to have the remaining passengers of the songthaew also disembark with all of their goods.

The most fascinating thing about this cave is that the locals actually use it as the only route of passage to reach their villages on the other side.

I walk with them down to a sparkling clear river and up to where the river flows out of a gaping black hole in the mountain.

The locals begin to pile with their luggage into a rickety wooden canoe. I try to talk my way into the canoe, not wanting to spend an outrageous tourist fee for my own boat, but…

-after mimes of slitting throats, hanging and other violent actions I understand that there is a monopoly on tourist money that has been made clear to everyone except the tourist.

Reluctantly I return to the tourist area where I discover there is a set fee for each boat entering the cave. I decide to wait a while for other tourist to show up to share the boat fee.

Eventually some do, but there are 3 of them and although I just saw at least 10 locals pile into one boat the tourist boat somehow only hold 3 people (plus 2 boat men) they refuse to let me join the others. Annoyed and a little short on time I finally give and pay the boat fee to go alone.

Kong Lo Cave, Ban Nahin, Tham Kong Lo Cave, Tham Kong Lo, Ban NahinKong Lo Cave, Ban Nahin, Tham Kong Lo Cave, Tham Kong Lo, Ban Nahin

Tham Kong Lo Cave – Ban Nahin: Highlights of Laos

Darkness envelops the boat as we enter the belly of the mountain – Wow!

Definitely worth every penny – our small wooden boat enters an underground world, a maze of darkness.

We motor around endless corners, approaching what appears to be dead ends until approaching closer reveals an opening and the winding continues. We enter massive caverns opening up to heights of 300 feet with grand stalactites and stalagmite formation.

There are times where I am hustled  out of the boat and the boat is carried over rapids – I try to help but just get in the way.

This is crazy! It reminds me so much of the jungle river I grew up on, only in the spooky darkness of a cave!

I meet a couple of guys on the other side of Tham Kong Lo Cave who are motor biking around Laos and I catch a ride back to Ba Na Hin with them.

Kong Lo Cave, Ban Nahin, Tham Kong Lo Cave, Tham Kong Lo, Ban Nahin

We arrive to Ba Na Hin late but I am determined to move on that same night and catch a songthaew to Lak Sao.

I am sitting in the back of a songthaew – there are only two other men passengers.

We are winding up mountains, the cold night air flowing through the open truck –

I am not even sure that I am going to the right place and the whole feel is somewhat sketchy but eventually we make it to Lak Sao.

Read Part 3 of Laos Travels: Vang Vieng Travel Highlights of Laos

Tham Kong Lo Cave – Ban Nahin: Highlights of Laos RELATED LINKS:

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Return to Home from Tham Kong Lo Cave – Ban Nahin: Highlights of Laos

Tham Kong Lo Cave – Ban Nahin Travel tip: go by bus during the day, when you can experience the spectacular views!

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