A 7,5 kilometers boat ride through Kong Lor Cave with an overnight village stay flashes bright on the province’s marquee, as does a tour to the recently discovered Nong Pa Fa Cave and its 600 year old Buddha images. Another new entry is the easy to spot bald bulbul bird, which was just declared a species in 2009. A one-day tour around the provincial capital, Thakhaek, reveals several historical gems including the 1,500 years old Sikhottabong Stupa and ancient “Great Wall”, while the hearty can trek in a national protected area with an overnight stay in a village lodge.
Cruise in a long-tail boat through a natural tunnel of total darkness as the Nam Hinboun River drills 7,5 kilometers through a mountain at Kong Lor Cave. The river runs about 30 metres wide with a limestone ceiling up to 100 metres high, and it flows by sandy beaches and rock formations named for their shapes: “Buddha”, “frog”, “owl”, “soft-shell turtle”, and “fish trap”. According to local lore, five Kong Lor villagers first navigated the tunnel to Ban Natan in the 17th century. Today, the villages offer boat excursions through the cave, overnight lodge stays, and trekking options inside protected areas, including a hike to the 70 meters-high Nam Sanam Waterfall.