Kong Lor Cave – Laos - Atlas Obscura
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Laos

Kong Lor Cave

A boat ride through utter darkness, lit only by headlamps, reveals an emerald green pool locals believe is sacred. 

Most visitors to Laos tend to focus on the north, but there are many reasons for venturing a bit farther south. Kong Lor Cave, considered to be one of South Asia’s geological wonders, is definitely one of them.  

Karst limestone caves are particularly appealing due to their unusual rock formations, but Kong Lor is no ordinary limestone cave. In fact, it was formed by the Nam Hin Bun River running through an entire mountain, sculpting the rock along its way. Inside, there’s a pool of water with an emerald-tinted glow that locals believe is sacred.

Visitors can hire a wooden boat and an experienced boatman who will negotiate the sprawling caverns. They’ll take you through massive passages with majestic stalactites and towering stalagmites. There are also narrow passages that require skills and intimate familiarity with the cave, the depth of the river, the strength of the currents, and, of course, the itinerary. Navigating the cave is usually performed in utter blackness, aided by only the feeble, flickering lights of headlamps.

Kong Lor Cave is still used by villagers to transport goods and, if visited at the time of harvest, tobacco as well. Located in Khammouane Province, in the geographical heart of Laos,  it can be reached by following a rural road from Ban Khoun Kham or by taking a boat from Ban Naphouak.

Know Before You Go

There are several accommodation options in the area catering for all budgets.