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Heup cave, Konglor cave, Hinboun river valley, villages and school, life in central Laos (29 Dec 2011 to 04 Jan 2012)

We started the trip in Thailand's Nakhon Panom on the Mekong river bank. From Nakhon Panom river front the limestone hills in the central Laos on the eastern side of the Mekong river can be enjoyed. The sunrise view is especially wonderful. The city itself is a mix of Lao and Thai I-sarn style. It is where Ho Chi Minh lived between 1928 and 1931 and his house is open as a museum for public. Lao and Thai style temples, local silk products and its relatively quiet atmosphere and biking routes are attractions for some tourists. The most famous and probably oldest temple is Phra That Phanom.

We crossed the Mekong over the newly finished friendship bridge to Thakhet on Lao side. First place of interest we went is Heup cave covering a small stream thaty flows into Hinboun river. From Thakhet we followed the road 13 and turn east onto a dusty road that took us to Hinboun river infront of the limestone hills. Approximately one km long Heup cave is on the eastern bank of the river oppsoite Ban Nakok village.

After Heup cave adventure we went to stay at beautiful Sala Konglor village lodge right on the bank of Hinboun river surrounded by a village and its primary school. Recenty paved road connecting the road 8 near Na Hin and Konglor village near Konglor cave means you can expect some tourist traffic. But it is still much quieter than Vang Vieng in the north. Still the tourism in the area is under some sort of local management.

Instead of taking the car we chose the much quieter and natural way of riding wooden boats along Hinboun river passing many small villages to Konglor cave on the other day. On the way you will admire the beauty of limestone hills. The slow motion trip gives you time to see the local life along the river. After the one hour boat ride through the 7.5km long Konglor cave we went to a village school to make a small donation to their children. We spent two nights at Sala Konglor - another lovely village lodge also on the river bank managed by Sala Lao group.

During our stay there we took time to see the farms, the life in the villages and also made small donations to primary schools in two villages.

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