A Venerable Cruise to the Pak Ou Caves
A Venerable Cruise to
the Pak Ou Caves
Thousands of Buddha images await at the Pak Ou Caves, named after the Ou River that flows nearby.
A religious site that is not only high on guests’ bucket list: locals from around the country
often pay respect to this huge collection of donated statues.
WHY THIS TOUR?
Blissfully placed in a natural cave system, the Pak Ou caves are simply too good not to include in any Luang Prabang itinerary. Thousands of Buddha statues, all donated and different in size, shape, and material, adorn every single corner of deeply-rooted spiritual side of Luang Prabang Best accessible through an upstream boat ride over the Mekong towards the Ou River, a calmer means to enter a realm of divine donations has yet to be found.
It is this, and leisurely wandering around little-known parts of Laos’ definition of temple town that fills any day peacefully and respectfully.
08:00 - 16:00
An early morning rise is followed by meeting your guide for the day at your hotel lobby. A short transfer to a local boat pier along the Mekong signals the start of a leisurely day out and about in Luang Prabang. The friendly captain and his trustworthy vessel shortly commence its upstream journey once you’ve settled comfortably. By taking a local boat cruise, it’s by far one of the most rewarding ways to discover the laid-back life style along these waterways. Before reaching the famed caves, we stop at Ban Xang Hay, a village which specializes in making traditional rice-wine and continue to keep traditional weaving methods intact. From here, a short boat ride further ends at our lunch address.
After enjoying a local lunch near the Pak Ou, you will reach the confluence of the Mekong River and the Nam Ou River, the latter of which the name of the caves has been derived. The limestone caves are directly located at the banks of the Mekong and consist of a lower cave (“Tham Ting”) and an upper cave (“Tham Phun”). Tham Phun is the main attraction where currently more than 3000 Buddha images are placed, ranging in size from a few centimetres tall to the height of a human being.
After visiting both caves, we embark back onto our boat for a leisurely cruise downstream back towards Luang Prabang. As you cruise along, observe the daily activities of fishermen, how they throw their nets in elegant arm gestures, and rely on the water to provide for their daily needs. For these riverside villages, the Mekong is commonly seen as their main access road.
Just before we reach our disembarkation point at Luang Prabang, we hop over to the other side of the river to get a glimpse of the lives of the locals at Ban Xieng Mene. Walk through the village and visit the local Wat Long Khoune temple with its mural paintings. Cross the Mekong over back into Luang Prabang and your driver will bring you back to your hotel.