Friendly villages, captivating scenery, Thakhek Loop in central Laos is an ideal destination to visit of those who love adventure. Here are the next tourist spots that worth visiting in Thakhek.
Detour down a dusty dirt-packed road to the entrance of Buddha Cave, which was re-discovered in 2004. In addition to being a tourist destination, it is also a pilgrimage site for devout Buddhists. Don’t be surprised to witness a prayer session led by a monk. Women need to cover their shoulders and knees and everyone must remove their footwear before entering the cave, which has bamboo mats for praying and giving offerings in front of over 200 Buddha statues. Photography is not permitted inside the cave. Paseum Cave, below Buddha Cave is filled with water and a three-hour kayak tour can be arranged with a local guide.
Nasanam Waterfall is accessible off Route 8 near the road that leads to Kong Lor. The waterfall is 3km from the road. The first kilometre can be done on a motorbike but the rest of the path is a challenging hike up boulders and across streams through the jungle. Look and listen for birds and frogs. A natural swimming pool at the lower falls offers a cooling break. Continue to the upper falls or just admire the cascade (more brilliant in the wet season) from afar.
Mangkone “Dragon” Cave
Mangkone Cave is right off Route 8 and has a new restaurant and coffeeshop, gift shop, and guest house. Pay a nominal fee to walk through the cave. Navigate around the lake, under a very low-hanging ceiling and into a spacious and well-lit cavern with coloured spotlights shining on impressive rock formations. A second entrance can be climbed up to and out at the back of the cave.
Buddha Sculptures in the Rock
Along a particularly scenic stretch of Route 1E just north of the Nam Theun 2 Reservoir, giant buddha sculptures have been carved into the cliffs on the side of the road. People leave offerings of food, drinks and candles at the feet of the statues. Be careful on the curves and park as far to the side of road as possible if you decide to stop for a closer look.
In the village of Thabak, locals have repurposed the fuel tanks from U.S. B-52 bombers used in the Lao Civil war and Vietnam War into boats. Local guides take tourist out for 1.5 to 3 hours on tours of the Namkading River to see and experience rapids, Nam Kading National Diversity Park and the Nam Nyuang Dam. Each boat can transport up to 3 people plus a driver. The trip costs between 150,000 and 330,000 Lao Kip ($18-$36 USD) depending on the duration and destination.
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