PAK OU CAVES
Pak Ou Caves have a history dating back thousands of years, which is one of the most respected holy sites in Lao. They are situated two hours upstream or 25km from Luang Prabang.
Packed with over 4,000 Buddha icons, Pak Ou Caves, a shrine to the river spirit and Lord Buddha, are set in a dramatic limestone cliff at the point where the Mekong joins the Nam Ou River.
These Caves are a very popular pilgrim site for locals and get very busy during April when the Lao New Year is in full swing with locals washing and attending to the images. There are two caves to visit, the lower cave called Tham Ting and the upper cave Tham Theung, both boasting miniature Buddhist figures that are mostly made from wood.
The caves are not far from Ban Xang Hai village which is famous for its wine production and for the making of Lao wine earthen jars so it is a great side trip to try locally produced whisky and wine.The small village located close by has attractive wooden homes and affable villagers. This is a wonderful experience as you will have countless opportunities to see river life and meet some locals.
How to go to Pak Ou Caves
To reach this site, visitors will have chance to explore the great Mekong river on board while admiring picturesque landscape of riversides. The journey costs about 2 hours to visit Pak Ou Caves. An alternative is to go by road to Ban Pak Ou (30km, around 150,000K return for a tuk-tuk) then take a motor-canoe across the river (20,000K return).
Recommendations for the Pak Ou Caves
– Don’t forget to bring a hat, sun cream and a torch.
– Some mosquito repellent is necessary as well.
– Most tour operators include lunch at a local restaurant in the trip which will usually last all day and include a river cruise in addition to the visit to the caves.
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