The Giant Caves and Karst of Khammouane Tour

Activity Rue Sethathirath, Ban Mixay, Chanthaboury District, Vientiane, Laos Published on: 13-11-2015

07:30 AM - 08:30 AM
First-time visit
Private/Joined
9D8N
Van Boat
Agency Office
Off the beaten path
Activity
Multi Days & Package tours
0.00 USD

The Giant Caves and Karst of Khammouane Tour is good for

Good for family with kids Family with kids Good
Good for senior Senior Good
Good for couple Couple Good
Good for solo Solo Good
Good for group Group Good
Travel through a spectacular landscape of limestone karst mountains and explore amazing caves. You will kayak through the spectacular Xe Bang Fai cave, that is considered to be the largest river cave passage in the world and also visit small local villages to learn about their traditional lifestyle.

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What to explore at The Giant Caves and Karst of Khammouane Tour?

Day 1: travel to Hinboun and explore Tham Nam Non

We leave Vientiane at 7:30 AM and travel along the Mekong river plain for 3 hours, and then travel east through the sandstone and limestone mountains to the Hinboun valley. We stop at a scenic viewpoint overlooking the Limestone Forest and the Hinboun valley. We will eat lunch in the nearby village of Nahin. 


After lunch and a 30 minute drive up the Hinboun valley we arrive and check-in at the Sala Hinboun. 


After a short rest and changing into caving gear, we go for a cave trip into the nearby Tham Nam Non. This is the longest cave in Laos at over 30 km. The giant entrance and main passage are dry during our visit, but become an active streamway during the rainy season. We will go into the cave about 3 km to where the main passage sumps with water. On the way back out we sidetrack to spend some time exploring upper-level ‘fossil’ passages. 


Approximately: 4 hours transfer / 4 hours caving (walking).


Accommodation(s) : Guesthouse

Transport(s) : Private Minivan

Meal(s) : Lunch

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Day 2 : The Kong Lor Cave! (By Boat)

After breakfast at 9:00 AM we drive 10 minutes to the entrance of Konglor cave. The Hinboun river flows through the cave for 7.5 km. 


We take a motorized boat up through the large cave passages to the closed valley on the other side, a unique experience. On the other side, we walk to visit a small village and see their traditional lifestyle. Returning to the riverbank, we eat lunch before paddling downstream, back through the cave in inflatable kayaks. 


We take our time to have a good look at the cave as we kayak through it. Once through the cave we have a refreshing drink under the trees along the riverbank. We then take a longtail boat down the scenic Hinboun river as it winds its way alongside mountains and cliffs back to the Sala Hiboun. 


Approximately: 2 hours longtail boat / 1 hour walk / 2-3 hours kayaking.


Accommodation(s) : Guesthouse

Transport(s) : Private Minivan

Meal(s) : Lunch

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Day 3: Lake Khoun Kongleng and the Kongleng river (Kayak)

After breakfast at 8:30 AM we drive about 2 hours on good roads before turning off onto the 4WD track to the stunning aqua-blue lake called Khoun Kongleng, which is a karst spring. We eat lunch under the trees next to the lake. 


After lunch we kayak down the Kongleng river to its confluence with the Nam Pakan river, and onto the Khon Keo rapids, enjoying the karst landscape and scenery along the way. We take out at Khon Keo village and pack our gear for the 45 minute drive to the town of Thakek. 


We stay overnight in Thakek and enjoy an evening meal along the Mekong river. 


Approximately: 4 hours transfer / 2 hours kayaking


Transport(s) : Private Minivan

Meal(s) : Breakfast Lunch

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Day 4 : The Xe Ban Fai River and a spirit ceremony to enter the cave.

After breakfast at 8:00 AM we drive 3 hours on mostly unpaved roads through a spectacular landscape of limestone karst mountains. We stop for lunch in the small town of Boualapha. 


After lunch we drive for 1 hour on a 4WD track to the Xe Bang Fai river, and our campsite near the entrance to the Xe Bang Fai cave. We set up our camp, then paddle the kayaks up to the cave entrance and mavel at the size of the cave passage. In the early evening we go to the nearby village for a ‘spirit ceremony’ with the villagers, to appease the spirits before we enter the cave the next morning. 


Afterwards we have dinner back at our camp. 


Approximately: 4 hours transfer / 30 minutes kayaking / 30 minutes walking


Accommodation(s) : Camping

Transport(s) : Private Minivan

Meal(s) : Breakfast Lunch Dinner

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Day 5 : Exploration of the cave on Xe Ban Fai

After an early breakfast at 7:30 AM we walk to the cave entrance and begin kayaking up through the spectacular Xe Bang Fai cave. This is considered to be the largest river cave passage in the world. In addition to its large size it is also beautifully decorated with cave formations in many places. 


We portage the kayaks around two large rapids and several more small rapids on our way up through the 7.5 km of river passage. After about 4 hours of kayaking we reach the upper entrance to the cave, and eat lunch outside in the remote upstream valley. 


After lunch we take some time to explore around the upper entrance area of the cave. Kayaking back down through the cave, we stop to look at some giant gour pools. 


We arrive back at our campsite for a well-deserved meal and a good night’s sleep. Approximately: 7-8 hours kayaking / 30 minutes walking.


Accommodation(s) : Camping

Meal(s) : Breakfast Lunch Dinner

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Day 6 : Exploration of the cave on Xe Ban Fai, more...

After breakfast at 9 AM we go back into the Xe Bang Fai cave up as far as the first large rapids to look at several side passages coming off of the river passage. 


Optionally, all or part of the group can spend the day walking to the forest above the cave, or to a nearby waterfall. 


Approximately: 6 hours caving or 4-6 hours walking.


Accommodation(s) : Camping

Meal(s) : Breakfast Lunch Dinner

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Day 7 : Tham Nang Aen and Tham Xiengliab

After breakfast we pack up camp and depart. We drive for about 3.5 hours back towards Thakek. We stop to at the Pha Hom Lodge, where we check into our accommodation and eat lunch. 


After lunch we visit the nearby caves Tham Nang Aen and Tham Xiengliab. Tham Nang Aen has a large entrance with a giant chamber inside, and a lake at the back of the cave. Tham Xiengliab is only a few hundred meters long but has some impressive cave formations and it goes through the mountain. 


Approximately: 3.5 hours transfer / 3 hours caving


Accommodation(s) : Eco-Lodge

Transport(s) : Public Minivan

Meal(s) : Breakfast Lunch

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Day 8 : Tham Pa Fa, or Buddha Cave and Baci ceremony

After breakfast at 9 AM we pack our luggage in the vehicles and drive a short distance to visit Tham Pa Fa, or Buddha Cave, which has many old Buddha statues inside and was only re-discovered in 2004. 


After this we drive a bit further, through the scenic karst landscape to Tham Pachan, one of the most impressive caves in the area. It has a large passage which cuts through a limestone ridge and is about 600 meters long. We walk through Tham Pachan and eat lunch at the other side of the cave. 


After lunch we continue walking along the valley on the other side of the cave, enjoying the karst scenery. Before long we arrive at Khoun Nam Don, where the Nam Don River comes out of the karst at the base of a high cliff. The river passage sumps a short distance inside the cave. 


From here we walk a short distance to the village of Ban Na where we will eat dinner, attend a Baci ceremony with the villagers for good luck, enjoy a cultural performance, and sleep in homestay accommodation. 


Approximately: 5 hours of walking / caving.


Accommodation(s) : Home-stay

Transport(s) : Private Minivan

Meal(s) : Breakfast Lunch Dinner

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Day 9 : Travel back to Vientiane

After breakfast at 8:30 AM we depart and travel back to Vientiane, stopping to eat lunch along the way. We arrive in Vientiane about 4 pm. 


Approximately: 6 hours transfer.


Transport(s) : Private Minivan

Meal(s) : Breakfast Lunch

optional Day 9 : Ban Boumlou & Tham Khoun Nam Pakan (kayak)

After breakfast at 8:30 AM we travel to the hidden village of Ban Boumlou, located in a closed valley. From the village we take a tractor and wagon to our campsite next to the lake outside of the entrance to Tham Khoun Nam Pakan cave. We eat lunch is the shade of the trees while enjoying the view of the picturesque lake and the high mountain cliffs above the cave entrance. 


After lunch we paddle the kayaks across the lake and into Tham Khoun Nam Pakan cave. After about 400 meters of river passage we leave the kayaks tied up and continue exploring the cave on foot. There is more than 10 km of mapped passage, so we can explore as long as we like. 


After the cave we eat dinner and camp on the beach next to the lake. 


Approximately: 4 hours transfer / 2-6 hours caving.


Accommodation(s) : Camping

Transport(s) : Private Minivan

Meal(s) : Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Optional Day 10 : Tham Luang cave & back to Vientiane

After breakfast at 8:30 AM we break camp, and take the tractor and wagon back to village. 


From near the village we walk up a trail to the entrance of Tham Luang cave. This large cave goes 1.5 km through the mountain to take us out of the closed valley, and is the main access route to the outside world for the villagers of Ban Boumlou. 


We are met by our transport on the outside, and travel back to Vientiane, stopping for lunch along the way. 


Approximately: 5 hours transfer / 2 hours caving (walking).


Meal(s) : Breakfast Lunch

Inclusion

Water, Meals, English speaking guide, Local guide/s, Accommodation, Bridges' and cave fees, Transport as mentioned above, Government taxes, All entrance fees, Travel permits, Domestic flights, Baci Ceremony

Exclusion

Activities not mentioned, Alcoholic & soft drinks, Visa, Meals not mentioned, Any other services not mentioned, Optional visits to sites not mentioned in the program, Additional personal expenses such as laundry/phone calls, etc., Personal travel insurance, Tips for guides & driver

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Duration
3.0 days
Estimated
789.16 USD
Total travel distance
km
Number of places
25 places

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Location

Address

Rue Sethathirath, Ban Mixay, Chanthaboury District, Vientiane, Laos

Meeting point

Agency Office

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