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Image © Harry Bloom / Creative Commons

Nestled within Phou Hin Bun National Park in central Laos, Konglor Cave (also known as Tham Kong Lo) provides a unique experience for caving enthusiasts that more than compensates for traveling well off the beaten track. Visitors to Konglor Cave take a motorized boat through a seven-kilometre-long underground river, floating past a cavern of massive dimensions.

Small, motorized five-person boats chug efficiently through the cavern opening – once inside, travelers can count only on the flickering beams from their headlights for illumination. Five minutes into the trip, the boatmen maneuver the craft onto dry land, where travelers can disembark and examine the cave chamber in detail.

At its widest, Konglor Cave’s cave chamber rises over 100 metres above the water and 90 metres from wall to wall. As travelers walk inside the cave’s musty interior, their headlights glance upon gleaming stalactites and stalagmites that underscore the otherworldliness of Konglor Cave’s interior. At the end of the ride, the boats emerge into a verdant hidden valley.

Konglor Cave is only accessible to tourists stepping off Road No.13 South from Vientiane to Khammouane Province. From the bustling settlement of Ban Na Hin 283 km south of Vientiane, travelers should go another 48km to the village of Ban Kong Lo near the cave opening. From here, Konglor Cave is a leisurely walk away through forest then into a blue lagoon that marks the beginning of the boat trip inside.

The dry season between November and April is the best time to visit Konglor Cave, though low river levels at the height of summer mean that travelers will be asked to get off the boat and push it at particularly shallow parts.

Elsewhere on the Web: Read Tourism Laos’ official page on Konglor Cave