Through all kinds of misinformation we finally found our way to Kong Lor Cave. Here’s how we managed to get there: From Tad Lo, we paid for a bus to Tha Khek 90,000 kip. This took about 11 hours so we spent the night in Tha Khek. The next day, we caught a bus north to a town that I can’t remember the name of for 30,000k. From there we took a Sorngtaaou (it’s like a tuk tuk but bigger and shittier) for 25,000k each. This takes us to a town about 40km away from Kong Lor. We decided we could probably find accommodation here for less so we stayed here. From here you can get another Sorngtaaou for 25,000k (one way) each to the cave.
The other option is there is a Sorngtaaou that leaves the market in Tha Khek to Kong Lor for 75,000k per person. This takes about 5 hours.
There is no good way to take public transport here. My advice: Get a motorcycle and do the loop.
The only thing that helped me keep my sanity was we met some great people along the way. A cool couple that met on couch surfing 6 years ago who now spend their lives working and traveling all over the world; and a couple from Singapore who are putting Mine and Kristi’s budget to shame by traveling for less than half of what we are averaging monthly.
There was no wifi anywhere in the town which actually worked out well because it allowed us to bond with our new friends. We played cards, while the more musically inclined played guitar and sung all night. I wish our company could always be this easy.
Kong Lor cave is amazing.
Pricing goes as follows: Everyone pays 2,000k to enter the park. Then for the cave tour you can do a max group of 3 people.
1 person = 110,000k
2 people = 120,000k
3 people = 130,000k
I don’t know why they can’t just make it 135,000k so we can divide it evenly but whatever. The more I travel in Asia, the more I realize the stereotype of them being really good at math isn’t very accurate.
You hop into a boat and head through this 7.5km long cave with the only light being the headlamps given to us.
Sometimes the water is deep. Sometimes you have to get out and walk the boat up river in ankle deep water.
The whole thing is fascinating.
When you come out at the end, I can’t help but notice a boat has sunk. I guess that’s why we’re wearing life jackets
Water buffalo bathe nearby
At the end we get off the boat and go up to a small village with handmade items and tobacco drying out in the sun.
Another 7.5km back through the cave has you back at the entrance where they have a beautiful swimming area.
The water is so clear you could see the details on the fish!
I almost wish we had more time here but we must make our way north if we want to see everything we want to see. We attempted to hitch hike out to save ourselves some money… this didn’t work. After 90 minutes of trying to wave down vehicles, we gave up and negotiated with a nearly empty Sorngtaaou driver to 20,000k each to go back to where we could catch a bus to Vientiane. The local bus to Vientiane was only 50,000k each from here which is one of the most reasonable busses we’ve paid for.