We arrived in Thakhek around 7 pm and settled in at the Travel Lodge. Over dinner and Beer Lao we met Steve (NZ) and Shak (UK) and agreed to form a biker gang and head to Konglor cave the next morning. We all got up early and full of anticipation. We picked up our motorbikes (110cc monsters!) from Mr. Ku and, despite the fact that none of the gauges worked, we bravely hit the road.
Josh's note: These bikes had gears, and even though she had never tried it before, Johanna jumped on, took a quick test run down the street, and said she could do it. I'm very proud.
|Josh, Johanna, Steve, and Shak with our sweet rides.
|It may look ridiculous, but the visor is very useful, especially in the rain.
The cave is incredibly dark, and massive (100 meters tall in some places). It's 7.5 km from one opening to the other, and is navigated by headlamps and the guides memory...
A few kilometers in, we stopped at a small bank and were ushered out. We climbed a small staircase as the guide flipped some switches in the wall, and lights began appearing all over the cave. We walked through and saw some amazing stalagtites and stalagmites. After making it through this section, we got back on the boat and continued into the dark. Soon we came out into an amazingly lush jungle. After a small break we went back through the cave and took our bikes 1 km down the road to the small Konglor village.
|The view from our guesthouse.
|Giving toys to kids in Lak Sao.
|Steve playing in the mud.
We stayed at the amazingly hospitable Sabaidee guesthouse, and got drunk on LaoLao (rice whiskey) with a few other intrepid motobikers (Dan - UK, Francesco - Italy, Jeff and Lisa - Alaska) who had also been on the loop. The next day we took a nice ride back to Thakhek, the only problems being when Johanna's mirror flew off while she was riding, and Josh's bike ran out of gas (Steve to the rescue again). We got back to the Travel Lodge and promptly passed out.
It was an amazing ride, and has easily been one of the highlights of our trip. Our next stop is Pakse/Champasek - which should have some amazing ruins. We'll try to post again soon.
The only way out is through.