Laos, Thakhek Loop – A Motorbike Adventure
The circuit is full of endless rocky mountains, caves and mysterious lakes. The 200-450-kilometer-long circuit will take you two to four days on a motorcycle. It depends on how long the route you choose. A two-day circuit leads to Lake Thalang, while Kong Lor Cave is located on a longer circuit. It's almost impossible to get lost, you only follow one path all the time. But if you're worried, offline maps like Maps.Me work great here. The circuit is run counterclockwise and the road is in quite good condition, but I would still recommend riding a motorcycle only to experienced drivers. Motorcycle rental in Thakhek costs you around $ 12 to $ 15 a day.
First Day Under the Sign of Caves
Another important stop on the route is Lake Thalang with the village of the same name. The whole area has a mysterious, even scary atmosphere. There was once dry land in and around Thalang, until the whole area was flooded due to an adjacent dam. Many of the trees have died as a result, today you will see these dried trees sticking out of the lake everywhere you look. Also worth a stop is Cool Springs, a lagoon with turquoise and pretty cold water. You can cool off for free on hot summer days.
Cruise in a Cave River
The next stop is the river cave Kong Lor, famous for its size. It is about a 30km detour inland, but worth seeing. Visitors can go on a seven-kilometer boat trip inside the cave. Admission is charged and only accompanied by a guide. Before entering, you will be equipped with a life jacket and a headlamp. From my own experience, I recommend taking your own. Part of the cruise is a stop inside, during which you will see massive stalactites and stalagmites. The cruise takes about an hour. After reaching the other end of the cave, the guide will take you to a local village, where you will have the opportunity to look into the real Lao life.
On the last day, your journey leads back to Thakhek. It is not very interesting anymore, but there is a Limestone Forest Viewpoint.
Text and photos: Andrea Meluzínová
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