Kong LorSeptember 11, 2015 in Laos ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F
Dragonflies whipped overhead and as cockerels sang out their morning chorus as the sun made its way over the Karst Mountains, which stood as a stone curtain, shielding the peaceful farming valley from the rest of the world.
The purpose of our visit to Kong Lor was to explore its nearby cave. Legend has it that the cave was first discovered in the 7th century when a villager lost some ducks and located them on the other side of the mountain. The villager then took a boat into the cave entrance and discovered that it stretched 7km right through the mountain's base.
To explore it ourselves we took a motorised canoe from the side closer to Kong Lor village. From a distance the cave's mouth appeared small in comparison to the sheer black mountain towering above it. However once inside we were quickly dwarfed as the ceiling lifted away into caverns twice the height of cathedrals.
We and our driver entered the black abyss, our way through lit only by our headlamps. The only sounds were the rasp of the canoe's engine and the lick of water against the shallow wooden hull. The air was cool and moist, tasting stale upon our lips.
We starred in amazement as we rounded rocks as large as 4 story buildings, the light of our headlamps tracing the shadowy shapes. At times the lights would fall short, sitting faintly in the dark, the walls and ceilings of the cave's hallways too gigantic for the light to meet its edges. In other places the way would narrow so the rock with its stalactites hung closer to trickling our backs with water as we past by.
As it was wet season the water level was high meaning that we rode over most of the rapids but at one point we clambered out of the boat to walk up a sandy beach and along a man-made path through an eerie landscape of stalagmites and stalactites lit by coloured electric light.
It was almost with surprise when we eventually found daylight shining back at us from the mouth of the cave's exit. It had taken approximately an hour to get through the cave. After a short break on the riverbank we completed the return journey to then swim in the river by the original entrance.
For dinner Keo arranged for us to eat duck Lao-style, both barbecued and as a curry. He and a friend also prepared a Lao duck-blood salad, which Alex tried. It was a tasty meal involving a lot of sticky fingers, which even a brief power cut that left us in the dark could not distract from.Read more