Weekend Escape to Kong Lor

Konglor Cave Entrance
It’s important to get out of Vientiane every once in a while, as comfortable as Vientiane is, I feel one does need to get out into the fresh air and really see what Laos is all about – the outdoors. Luckily for us urban dwellers, we don’t need to go too far, just 5 hours south, to Kong Lor Caves.  I was lucky enough to visit this area a few weeks ago and found it utterly charming. Not only is the 7.5km long cave absolutely spectacular as you travel through it by long tail boat, picking out bizarre limestone formations with your head torch, but the area also has plenty to offer in the daylight. Flat fields of tobacco, fruits, vegetables, rice and wild flowers are flanked by limestone karsts to create striking scenery. The villages in this area are wonderful and one of my highlights included a walk before breakfast as the villages were preparing for their day. I stayed in Chantha House, a 2* guest house with 5* views out over the tobacco fields. Take its large balcony, add to that a drink and a book and find yourself in a true rural idyll. Combine that with the caves and some good food, and you’ve found yourself a wonderful weekend away. Here’s how it works:

 

Day 1

This morning you will be met by your driver and guide in Vientiane, to begin the journey south along route 13. This first leg of the journey takes around 3 hours and it is interesting to have a quick stop at Wat Prabath Phonsane (‘Temple of the footprint of Buddha’).

Lunch will be included at a local restaurant (discuss with your guide where you would like to stop).

You will then leave the highway and enter the Hin Namno National Biodiversity Conservation Area (NBCA). The scenery will become much more spectacular, featuring limestone karsts, forests and rice paddies. From leaving the highway to reaching your destination will take approximately 2 hours.

Once you arrive in the small town of Ban Kong Lor the rest of the day is at leisure to admire the views.

We recommend a simple local restaurant called Kounmee, which is a 2 minute walk from Chantha House.

Overnight in Ban Kong Lor

Day 2

This morning you will be met by your driver and guide for a short drive (5-10 minutes) towards the Kong Lor Caves. You will be given life jackets and head torches before a short walk around to the main entrance of the cave. Upon entering the cave, you will board a long tail boat which will take you through the length of this spectacular cave along an underground section of the Hin Boun River – a length of 7.5km before you see daylight again!

Konglor Caves

Entering the caves at Konglor

 

The river flows all year and reveals vast formations of stalactites and stalagmites, which you will explore partly on foot whilst inside the cave. In places the cave is up to 90m wide and 100m high. The cave is still used by local villagers as an access route to the region beyond (it is far quicker than climbing over the mountains which this cave cuts through!).

Once out on the other side you can stop for refreshments and walk to local villages, enjoying the scenery and observing a simple way of life (discuss with your guide how far you would like to walk).

Return by boat, travelling ‘downstream’ through the cave, to Ban Kong Lor. Enjoy lunch on your own account and take some time to relax.

Later this afternoon your guide will accompany you on a walk through the villages surrounding Ban Kong Lor (unless you prefer to rest). The soft light of the late afternoon is arguably the most photogenic and you should meet lots of villagers as they walk home from the fields, markets and schools. There are various options for walking routes so again, it is best to discuss how energetic you feel. Don’t forget your camera!

Overnight in Ban Kong Lor

Day 3

Children Konglor

Children on their morning walk to school

 

For early risers we recommend a walk at around 06:30 to explore the villages as they wake up and prepare for the day. This is one of the best times of day to enjoy the scenery and watch the children as they head off for school. Discuss this with your guide.

 

After breakfast you will be driven back to Vientiane, taking approximately 5 hours. After your adventure you will probably appreciate the excellent cafes and restaurants which are available in the capital!

About this trip:

 

–      This trip starts from $354 per person / based on 2 people sharing.

–      The cost is based on staying in Chantha House, a simple guest house with remarkable views.

–      The trip includes a private vehicle and private guide.

To discuss this trip, or any other travel plans, please email Kate at kate@exotissimo.com.

 

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Konglor Cave Entrance

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Konglor

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Children Konglor

Children on their morning walk to school

 

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????????????? ???????? ????????????????????????, ??? ????????????????????, ????????? ???????????? Kate  ????????

kate@exotissimo.com.

Exotissimo Laos

Translation provided by:

Revolution Translation Asia