I’d heard from several people that the Kong Lor cave in central Laos was a highlight of their trip in Southeast Asia, so I knew I had to make it a priority. For a place that is on so many “must see” lists, I was surprised on how truly rural and undeveloped the area around the cave is. The town of Kong Lor is just one long street that has a handful of guesthouses and restaurants, no internet access, and hardly anybody who speaks English. It was a very pleasant and peaceful place to spend a few days.
It wasn’t too difficult to get to, as I took a direct tourist bus from Vientiane that I booked through my hostel. The bus dropped me and the four other westerners off in front of a guesthouse about a kilometer away from the cave.
The cave itself is truly magnificent. It’s nearly 8 kilometers long and pitch dark. There are immense stalagmites and stalactites that photos don’t do any justice to. When the boat comes out on the other end there is a tiny little village where you can buy handicrafts and snacks. There is apparently a real town on this side of the cave, Ban Kong Lo, where you can do a homestay. I had planned on going there, but I had lost my ATM card in Luang Prabang a couple of weeks prior and still had not activated my new card (a bit of a convoluted story there), and I didn’t have enough cash on me to pay for the homestay, the boat trip back, and a bus to civilization. So as it was, I just got back on the long boat and made the return trip the same day.