Hey guys! While we explored many amazing places during the months we spent in Asia, this place is definitely at the top of my list of cool places. Vang Vieng in Laos is a smaller country feel town nestled among lush rain forest with limestone mountains and caves. It’s along the Nam Song River which is popular among people for tubing floats (we’ll get into our experience floating down the river at another time). While there are some well known caves in the area such as Tham Poukham, Tham Nam, and Tham Xang we elected to skip these and do some cave searching on our own- and in our opinion, it was totally worth it!
To begin, Ricky really wanted to rent a buggy to rip around the country side for the later part of the afternoon. We rented from Green Morning Travel Company in town (don’t worry, there’s quite a few to choose from with buggy’s sitting in the road enticing you in). We decided a couple hours would be enough (we were wrong) and headed out of the town. Down the dirt roads and towards the country side we raced along. We wore masks due to the insane amounts of dirt and sand in the air from us and other vehicles around. There is basically a big loop where there are caves, lagoons, and other things to do that they instruct you to take the buggy to. We were taking in the sights as we drove but really I had my hands gripped to the seat belt as Ricky took the buggy through streams and around tight corners…
There was something calling us to take a turn off at a sign advertising for a local cave. We drove down the dirt path and came to someones property where 2 young boys were standing in the wooden hut at the gate. We had to purchase 2 tickets which came with head lamps to explore the cave, in total it was less then $5 for us. We drove in and through the large property where small signs directed us to the cave. There was a thatched roof where we parked our buggy and got off. Equipped with nothing but the cheap head lamps the boys gave us and with the sun beginning to set at our back, we started the hike to cave #1. We reached the cave mouth where white arrows on the ground made a “path” through the cave. There were no lights, no ropes, nothing besides small white arrows painted about every 10ft. It was incredible. We got about .5 mile back into the cave when we realized our head lamps were insufficient and it would be dark soon. We turned around with a vow we would return the next day.
The next morning we hopped on our scooter and headed for the caves. We brought our own head lamps this time, a necessity for proper exploration. We opted to explore cave #2 this time. It was a longer hike, higher up the mountain side. It was even less marked than the first one, something I didn’t think was possible.
The light diminished quickly and we were completely alone, except for the cave spiders and cricket like things on the ground. Their eyes twinkled in our head lamps light, adding to the growing spookiness as we ventured deeper into the cave. I had never experienced darkness like the darkness that surrounded us when we turned off our lights. It was so cool…and a bit scary.
Trying to find our way through the cave, we would keep walking along what seemed to be a safe way until the cave suddenly dropped off in front of us and we had to turn around or climb up a different way. We explored for a few hours before Ricky ripped his pants and we decided it was a good time to turn around.
When we travel we prefer to sight see and see the world with the least amount of tourists around us. We couldn’t ask for a better way to explore the caves in Laos than this. While there were so many more adventures we partook in while in Vang Vieng (there will be other posts about these) this one is one of our most memorable.
What’s the last cave you explored? Let us know in the comments below 🙂
Love & light, Nicole
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