6 Caves to explore in Laos
A socialist state and the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia lying at the heart of the Indochinese peninsula. Laos traces its historic and cultural identity to Lan Xang, which existed from the 14th century to the 18th century as one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia.
Chom Ong is a cave system along a four kilometre mountain ridge. The Udomxai tourism department states that 17 km of it has been explored by the Lao-European Cave Project, and it is the longest cave in northern Laos. It is one of the great attractions in Laos.
Tham Jang is a cave just to the southwest of Vang Vieng, Laos. Approached by a bridge over the Nam Song River and then a long flight of steps, a spring is located about 50 metres inside the cave. The cave was used as a bunker in the early 19th century during the Chinese-Ho invasion.
Tham Kong Lo or Kong Lor Cave is a karst limestone cave in Phu Hin Bun National Park, in Khammouane Province, Laos. It is located roughly 130 kilometers north of Thakhek, on the Nam Hin Bun River, which flows into the cave. The karst formation is dramatic and the cave has been cited as a "one of Southeast Asia's geological wonders".
Pak Ou Caves, 25 km north of Luang Prabang, have a history dating back thousands of years. Packed with over 4,000 Buddha icons, the caves are set in a dramatic limestone cliff at the point where the Mekong joins the Nam Ou River. They are a group of two caves on the west side of the Mekong river, about two hours upstream from the centre of Luang Prabang, and are frequently visited by tourists.
Tam Pa Ling is a cave in the Annamite Mountains in northeastern Laos. It is at the top of Pa Hang Mountain, 1,170 m above sea level. Three hominin fossils were discovered in the cave: TPL1, a skull from an anatomically modern human; TPL2, a lower jaw with modern and archaic features; and TPL3 a partial mandible with modern and archaic features.