Pak Ou Caves

Luang Prabang Travel Blog

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The mighty Mekong River
After our set breakfast at the hotel, off we went on a cruise on mighty Mekong River! Our final destination would be Pak Ou Caves. For less then a five minutes car ride, we arrived at the harbor. The traditional motorized boat could hold up to at least 10 people but we had to whole boat to ourselves!

It was such a scenic ride with nice breezes. Although it was 39Cº/102Fº but with the breezes, it was quite pleasant. We disembarked before reaching the caves. Kent brought us to a village just to show us the life of a Laos village. It was a nice experience if it wasn’t for the steps! Then we disembarked at another village (steps again) , the rice wine distillery and Ban Phanom weaving village. Here we learned how they make the rice wine. How they used a big pot and wood fire to distill for wine.
That stone above the rock is the measurement device for water lever of the river.
There were some of the rice wine soak with sneak, scorpion and Iguana. Different animal wine has different healing power. The only one I remembered was the Iguana, which is for man - is a Laos’s Viagra! We also saw some villager selling scarves where they weaved in the village.

We continued our cruise after the village visit until we reached the little jetty to the caves. There are lots of steps again! We started to feel the sweet heat of 39Cº! Boy it was hot! We were dripping with sweats walking up those steps to the caves.

Pak Ou cave is 25km up stream from Luang Prabang. It can only be reach by boat. There are two caves in a limestone cliff where the Mekong and Nam Ou River met. The lower cave named Tham Ting that contains about 2500 Buddha statues in various gestures, from size of few inches to few feet tall! There was a huge Buddha image in this cave for people to worship where they could kneel and burn incense.
monks working by the river.
The Upper cave named Tham Phoun that consist about 1500 Buddha statues. This cave was deep and dark, we were told to bring a flash light before the trip. These caves use to be belonging to the people but now it is belongs to the government. According to legends, ( there are two legends ) The Laos people has their own Buddha as according to the day they born ( e.g. Tuesday Buddha) They brought their Buddha to this cave in order to save the Buddha from damage during the war. After the war, the owner would be back to the cave and retrieved their Buddha back home with them. The many Buddha that left over were because their owners were dead during the war and no longer able to bring their Buddha home. Another legend was after the monk that has completed a hardship or challenge each time, they would place a Buddha statue in the cave.
We disembarked here to go to a village
I personally like the first legend though.

After we have seen the two caves, we went on the boat again for a ride to the opposite river bank for lunch at a bamboo cottage. I think the Laos people like to make us work. If you want to have lunch, go on another 30 steps! The restaurant has a nice ambience of over looking the water with some warm breezes. Food was good too! While we disembark at the river bank for lunch, I saw some village kids selling their hand-made decoration ( I don’t know what was that ) to the tourists that disembarked from the other side. From the table where we sat, I was observing one kid. He jumped into the water and had lots of fun but when there was a tourist boat docked, he jumped out of the river, went to his mom and grabbed the thing he was selling, trying to persuade the tourist to buy from him with water still dripping from his tiny body.
He is so discipline!


Charlie suggested we should give them some money but we won’t need to buy from them. After we’ve done with lunch, walking down the steps, one really cute girl and one cute boy started to sell craps to us. I gave the girl a banana where I took from lunch. She grabbed it and the boy started to fight with her for the banana. Then Charlie took out 1000kip, the boy grabbed it and ran away from the girl! I think the girl must have been so regretted that she took the banana if she knows that she would get 1000kip instead of the stinking banana!

Then we walked on, two more kids approached us, one of them was the boy I was talking about. Charlie gave the cute girl 1000kip and she put her hand together, bowed and said something in Laos which I think she said thank you.
This is our boat!
She is so cute! I had to take a close-up photo of her. The swimming boy also he got his 1000kip, didn't look at him because I was too busy taking picture of my angel!

It was a two hours boat ride home. Along the Mekong River, I saw some stone measurement for water lever of the river, I could see how low the water lever it was. Kent told me it was better now after four countries confronted China for having built 4 dams and kept the water to themselves! It was so low that the boat couldn’t sail on the river!

I kept thinking about that little girl the entire journey home. I wanted to kidnap her!

We had some time in the afternoon; I had a good Laos’s style massage which is located down the road. It was pretty cheap too!

crreid says:
What a great country to visit. Love your writing.
Posted on: May 17, 2010
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The mighty Mekong River
The mighty Mekong River
That stone above the rock is the m…
That stone above the rock is the …
monks working by the river.
monks working by the river.
We disembarked here to go to a vil…
We disembarked here to go to a vi…
This is our boat!
This is our boat!
Village kids
Village kids
He was so curious about the strang…
He was so curious about the stran…
One village woman was working by h…
One village woman was working by …
Thats the steps up to the village
That's the steps up to the village
A very strong tree!
A very strong tree!
Wooded bridge to the rice wine vil…
Wooded bridge to the rice wine vi…
This is how they make rice wine
This is how they make rice wine
Pak Ou Caves from far
Pak Ou Caves from far
Pak Ou Caves
Pak Ou Caves
Picture taken from the cave
Picture taken from the cave
The lower cave - Tham Ting
The lower cave - Tham Ting
thousands of Buddha statues in the…
thousands of Buddha statues in th…
The biggest Buddha statue in the c…
The biggest Buddha statue in the …
The caves in by the Mekong and Nam…
The caves in by the Mekong and Na…
View from the cave
View from the cave
Naga head in lower cave
Naga head in lower cave
Entrance to the upper cave - Tham …
Entrance to the upper cave - Tham…
Upon entering the upper cave
Upon entering the upper cave
Getting dark here
Getting dark here
Some of the Buddha statues in uppe…
Some of the Buddha statues in upp…
View from the upper cave
View from the upper cave
Picture taken from the bamboo cott…
Picture taken from the bamboo cot…
The cute girl got a banana and the…
The cute girl got a banana and th…
She was the one who put her hands …
She was the one who put her hands…
oh my little angel!
oh my little angel!
monks on the boat
monks on the boat
Luang Prabang
photo by: oxangu2