Once Around The Sun

26932 km

KONG LOR

Home to a handful of farmers and the biggest cave of Laos, this village is quite charming on its own, but there is really not much to do, so some may label it as boring. On the contrary I have found it a very relaxed, quite attractive place set in the valley between two towering rock walls. The floor of the valley, mainly farm land, the village itself and a small river carving its way at the foot of one of the mountains wall. People here are much less shy as I've found out right after our arrival. Walked out and around our guesthouse to check on the farmland behind it, perhaps sneak in a few photos in the best light of the day, when I got jumped by two not shy at all boys around 10 years old. They grabbed my camera, jumped a fence and in the field started taking pictures of themselves making poses and myself looking in disbelief. I've jumped the fence too and fooled around carving poses until we were all covered in thick layer of dust. But is winter, so the sun dips really fast and gets dark within moments. That could only mean dinner time and a well deserved Beer Lao. I don't like beer too much, what other option do I have...

Since we are in a little bit of rush, we have made Kong Lor yet another 2 night stop. Arriving late afternoon, one day for the cave, leaving early morning. The Kong Lor cave is a bit unassuming, that is until you actually stand by the small lake that is the entrance to the cave and a giant rock wall is towering right above you. But that is still not the time when you realise the size of it. Once on a boat we quickly disappear in the darkness, focused beam of our head torch giving a glimpse of our surroundings. Somewhere half way through this 7.5 km cave we arrive to a hall that is so large our torch’s light just dissolves in the darkness and so does the sound of our little engine. The real size of the cave is left to our imagination. Soon after we arrive to the only artificially lit place with giant stalagmites, our boatman orders us to walk this stretch and signals that he will pick us up on the other side and so he does after few hundred meters of walk. We board our little vessel and renter the darkness, just to soon find that we are heavy on the front at one point, so I have to leave and help our boatman pull the boat through. I don’t have to remind you that this felt quite uncomfortable, stepping out into the stream inside a pitch black cave… Upon completing our trip, we have decided to take a dip in the lake on front of the cave entry, beautiful greenish blue water and fantastic scenery looking up the rock wall and into the darkness of the cave at the bottom of the wall. The afternoon we have spent in the village observing Lao life and Lao life was observing us, as we were attraction to the villagers as they were to us. That same afternoon Majka and I have met 2 boys, who took us to another cave entry. Seeing this cave that locals know well, but any tourist wouldn’t stand a chance to find on their own, required crossing a river on foot, climbing some rocks, squeezing through uncomfortable and uninviting openings just to be greeted by a gaping black hole in the rock wall. Right after the entry there was a drop and again water on the cave floor, but it felt great to see this cave, I suppose not many get to see. I thanked the boys with a dinner and sent them off home happy and pleased with our mutual adventure…

In the morning it was time to hop a bus again. We are heading south towards Pakse and 4000 islands.