Tha Khek, A Good Base to Explore Central Laos
Tha Khek is an extremely small town in central Laos
, located across the Mekong from Nakhom Phanom in Thailand
. After a 9hour bus ride (that really took 12hours) from Luang Prabang
, a short overnight stay in Vientiane followed by another 6hour bus ride, we arrived in Tha Khek. Unfortunately, we were both pretty sick for a few days here, which kept us in the confined space of our hotel and has most definitely affected our opinion of the town (and what we managed to do here). We did manage to venture out on a few occasions to appreciate the sun as it set over Thailand, basking the Mekong in an incredible red hue.
The Tha Khek loop is the main reason for travellers to visit. As the start and finish for the 450km loop through central Laos, many people hire motorbikes to check out the region. While we initially considered completing the loop, we simply were too crook to even contemplate it. Aside from the loop, Tha Khek is a good place to serve as a base to explore central Laos.
Sunset over the Mekong River
A local girl scooting alongside the Mekong as the sunsets
We stayed at the Mekong Hotel for four nights. Desperation prevented us from finding an alternate abode. While there was nothing outright I can complain about, there was a decidedly dodgy feel about the place. The bed was also so hard I’m suspicious it was made of rock.
ACTIVITIES & ATTRACTIONS
After much debate and contemplation we booked a tour with Green Discovery to check out the Kong Lor Cave
. The tour was extremely overpriced and our guide had nothing extra to add which was a shame. After a short trek to a pitiful waterfall we had lunch before heading to the cave. The Kong Lor Cave lies beneath some impressive limestone mountains in the Phu Hin Bun National Protected Area. At 7.5km long and up to 100m high in some parts, exploration on the long boat can be quite spooky at times. There is one section of the cave which has been fitted with lighting to illuminate some impressive rock formations. I really enjoyed the longboat ride through the cave but just a bit disappointed we chose Green Discovery to take us there. In different circumstances we would have completed the trip without a tour.
the hidden Kong Lor Cave entrance
Travelling along the river in a longboat about to enter the cave
Seems to be tracking along as expected. We spent a lot more on the Kong Lor Cave tour than what was reasonable but given the circumstances our options were a bit limited. It balanced out a bit because we didn’t eat much while we were there!
Our plan hasn’t really changed, we will continue south to Pakse
and use this as a base to explore southern Laos
before flying to Siem Reap