Today was my third and final day of riding The Loop, and the day I would visit Kong Lor cave. The cave was very near my idyllic resort, so I headed there first.
I was able to share a boat with an Italian couple, lowering the price substantially. I’m not much of a cave enthusiast, but Kong Lor cave is a must when riding The Loop, and is even a big attraction with tourists busing in directly from Vientiane.
I’ve seen my fair share of caves, but this one was big and impressive impressive. It was dark inside, and we could only see by our headlamps. But it was apparent that the ceiling was very high. It was similar to the underground river in the Philippines, but this cave had very few tourists. Locals used the same longtail boats to pass through, and they outnumbered the tourists.
Going through took an hour, with some stops were we had to walk through shallow water while our boatman pushed the boat up some little rapids. There was one stop where we walked through an area where the rocks were illuminated in eerie light, similar to the other cave I stopped at on the Loop.
Once through we relaxed in a little village that sold junk food. Then we retraced our path for an hour.
I could have hit this cave on the way to Tha Khek the first time. I wondered if I should skipped The Loop. It was nice, but I have seen so much scenery already. Of course those visiting for only a few weeks should absolutely do it. But I have been on the road for a long time, and adding an extra 450 km side trip seems crazy.
I had a long 150 km ride back to Tha Khek in the afternoon. I mostly didn’t enjoy it, because I was retracing my steps. But there was one portion before rejoining Route 13 and closing the loop that was new to me. The road climbed a mountain, and there were views of weird jagged rocks.
Then the road went down to the flat plain, and I had a boring 100 km retracing my path on Route 13. The road was flat and straight, so I went fast. But I didn’t know how fast because my speedometer/odometer broke again.
I couldn’t find the Travel Lodge, which is supposed to be THE place to stay in town, so I checked into the International Hotel, which is a dump, again. At least it is cheap. I was looking forward to a burger, so I headed to the best restaurant in town for my fix.