Ok, so when I was in Vientiane I was considering going to Konglor cave. This massive cave is supposed to be incredible. You need take a huge boat inside and it goes on forever. While talking about it with Khadyja another backpacker told me not to go to the village close to the cave but to go to Thakhek and then from there take the bus to the cave. He was convincing that this was the way to go about it since the village close to the cave was completely dead and there is more to do in Thakhek.
Alright I thought and booked my ticket to Thakhek. I choose to go by local bus which is not as comfortable as the touristy one but so much cheaper (80 000 kipp). When I say “local bus” I mean it, it’s a very unique experience. No one speaks English including the staff so be prepared. Thakhek located in central Lao and it takes about 8 hours from the capital to get there. We could probably get there in half the time if the bus didn’t stop twice every minute. Either we stopped out in nowhere and all men run outside to do their business or we would pick up around 10 women waving around grilled chicken on a stick, boiled eggs and fruits or rice in plastic bags for sale. If you want to go to the toilet and you’re not out of the bus as soon as it hits the breaks, I wish you all the luck. These women are blocking the way to get out. I tried once to squeeze my way through once and they were super rude wanting me to get back to my seat. I was so tired I just yelled out “but I want to pee!” I missed that I wasn’t the only traveler on the bus anymore and saw I a couple look at me and start laughing. They were the only ones guaranteed who understood what I said.
Once arriving in Thakhek it was already dark and to get to town you need to take a tuktuk. Don’t pay more than 30 kipp for this! They seriously wanted me to pay 100, I simply laughed in their face and called them crazy. In which point the man himself gave me a big smile because he knew the price was the joke of the day.
As usual I didn’t book accommodation beforehand. It usually always works out but since central and south of Lao isn’t as traveled as the north finding accommodation was not easy, barely any hostels and hotels. The few I found were full. After googling and searching i found one place that seemed to have a free bed. Once there turns out it was shut down. I walked further down the street and came across a bar with a sign that said “we have vegan food”. I was interested so I walked in. This place was run by a local woman who spoke English (yes!) and her German husband. I ordered some food and told the woman about my homelessness situation and she said they have tent and I could stay on their rooftop. Sounded good to me!
The next I went to a tourist place to ask how I could get to Konglor cave. Turns out I was five hours south by bus from the cave and wait for it…it would cost me 228 USD for a tour. Annoyed at the price and the backpacker who recommended me going to Thakhek instead of straight to Konglor cave. I decided to just go for a walk to calm down and figure out what to do. On my walk i found this very interesting information
While having lunch and googling I found a second tourist information place at another part of town. I’m pretty sure it’s the only place for tourists to get information. It’s called Khammouane tourist information centre. I walked over there and met a man who couldn’t take me to Konglor but to some other caves in the area. He showed me some options on where to go and I selected what where I wanted to go.
The first cave we went to was the biggest one. it’s about 20 minutes on a motorbike outside of Thakhek and the entrance fee is 30 000 kipp.
The second two caves were completely empty and quite. These caves have a special calming feel to them. The water inside is as pure as can be and also beautiful to look at. Me and Tom went in the water and enjoyed the fresh air and the silence. It so difficult to explain in words but it really spiritual being inside those caves.
Thakhek is defiantly worth going for for the caves, they are small but so special. The ride to the caves is also ans experience here is a sneak peak 🙂
Last thing to mention about Thakhek is the delicious fried veggie noodles at the small local cafe Pom. Seriously the best fried noodles I’ve had in Asia 🙂 cost 15 000 kipp (2 USD)