Feeling like an explorer in Laos

Chom Ong is the second longest cave in Laos. It’s also name of a village lying nearby. There are no buses going there since the road is too bad for almost any vehicle. Probably for this reason there are hardly any tourists visiting. So on my second day in Laos, inspired by this guy, I rented a scooter in Oudomxay and went  for an overnight trip.

Upon arrival, I discovered there was a bamboo gate in the cave entrance with a lock. Should have learned lock picking when I had the time to kill and thought it would be a cool skill. After searching around, I found another entrance but couldn’t go far since there was an underground river flowing. Just some pic of the entrance from the inside:

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For the main entrance I had to get a key so I went to the village. I knew communication would be hard, but eventually  met a guy who knew whom to ask for the key, offered to be my guide and could even speak a few words in English. Unfortunately, I didn’t like him at all. It was obviously clear that I was just a cash cow to him and he would do anything to milk me. When I tried to find a homestay or food, he would follow me and insist that I get it from him. I didn’t think I could be picky considering the language barrier, so I went for it. We agreed that I would stay and eat at his home and we would go to the cave the next morning. He then stopped following me and I could finally enjoy the village.

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In the morning I could see with my own eyes what others have been saying: that cave is huge! It makes you feel like you are exploring Tolkien’s Moria. And with no signs of tourists, no walkways, no barriers (just some lamps near the entrance, they weren’t turned on, though) it was truly a breathtaking experience. As expected, my “guide” was completely unprepared and turned out to be just a random villager. He also tried his best to shorten our hike. It didn’t spoil it for me, though.

After a short absurd argument (he demanded to be paid more than what we had agreed on) it was time to head back. And drive on that terrible but scenic road again.

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All in all, a great introduction to Laos.

Posted from Android

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