Vientiane is a great city to visit in Laos. Because of its long history, which has included conquest by several of the surrounding nations of the area, it is one of the most diverse cities culturally that you will find. This is seen in many of the structures that you will find within the city and is one of the primary reasons why tourists feel so compelled to visit this Southeast Asian destination each year.
However, it is not just about the man-made structures of the city and its surrounding area that makes it such a fantastic location to visit. Nature has provided a vast amount of spectacular locations to see in one set of these are the beautiful caves of Vientiane.
In and around the city there are seven different cave locations. All of them are accessible to tourists and provide an interesting look back at the history of Laos. Some of these have become places of refuge during invasions from foreign powers, and others are now home to the wildlife of Laos. There are great reasons to visit each, and here is a little tidbit about each one of them.
Tham Pou Kham Cave – Known as the “Golden Crab Cave,” this cave goes over 100 yards into the Earth’s surface. The entrance way to this cave is quite a small one but widens once inside exposing a large reclining Buddha statue that welcomes all those who enter. You should be aware that humans are not the only ones visiting. This is the home to bats, monkeys, gibbons, and other animals as well.
The Bee Cliff Complex is a series of caves on the northern face of Pha Khong kao Mountain. This consists of a large number of caverns clumped together in a way that might looks much like a beehive.
Tham Khan, otherwise known as the “Silver Bow Cave,” is about 2 miles outside of Vientiane. There is a large Buddha sitting at the entrance of the cavern and many great archaeological finds have been discovered there, including knives speeds and axes which date back thousands of years. A silver bow was also found there that dates back millennia and this is where the cave gets its name.
The Tham Chang Cave is considered to be the most important cave of them all. This is where many of those who were migrating to the area early in its history lived and later helped to form the city itself. During the tumultuous periods in the city’s history this is also been a frequent refuge for the people to avoid destruction.
The Ban Tham Xang Group is a cluster of caves near the Nam ong. The Tham Xang (Elephant Cave) is the gateway to this cluster.
The Ban Pha Thao Group is a set of two caves that are just north of Vientiane. This was once home to many of the locals of the city and you can still see remnants from the original homes that were built within the complex. It is said that those who visit this cave complex will see extended periods of good luck.
The Khoun Lang Cave is a spectacular display of stalagmites, stalactites, and flow stones that narrow at the entrance that expand once inside to over 250 yards long. There were awesome shapes and patterns in the ceiling area and many of the local people claim to be able to read these shapes as future predictors of events.