Tham Piew Cave – Muang Kham, Laos - Atlas Obscura

Tham Piew Cave

Muang Kham, Laos

A tangible and sobering reminder of an atrocity that took place during a secret war.  

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On November 24, 1968, a single rocket fired by a United States fighter plane made contact with this cave in Central Laos killing 374 men, women, and children. Tham Piew was a vast cave that served as a shelter for the local community seeking refuge from the bombing campaigns that were designed to contain the Marxist Pathet Lao.

Today, Tham Piew is open to the public as both a memorial and a testament to a harrowing era in Laos history. There is a small interpretive center at the base of the mountain near the parking area that explains the significance of the site from a Laotian perspective.

A visit to Tham Piew isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a journey that should be undertaken with the utmost respect for the local community and the deceased buried in marked graves along the walkway to the cave.

Visitors can also leave an offering with a Buddhist monk at the base of the steps to the cave in memory of the victims.

Know Before You Go

Just north of Muang Kham, follow the signs labeled Tham Piew.