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Home Laos Vang Vieng ⇒ Karsts, Caves & Underground Pools

Vang Vieng, Laos

2Karsts, Caves & Underground Pools

The geology of the region is karst; weathered limestone rock, forming massive ranges of sharp, jagged jungle-covered mountains and tall, crumbling cliffs with mysterious, half-seen caves screened by dense foliage. In places where it is too steep for vegetation, the bare rock seems to change by the minute as the sun moves across the sky. Early morning the whole is wreathed in mist. The dripping foliage, the eerie echoing cries, the honks and hoots and rustle of hidden wildlife is from another, earlier time. As most of the town is recovering from the debauches of the previous night early morning is delightfully free of people.

Limestone is soft and easily eroded, so the area is riddled with caves, caverns and underground passages. Water is everywhere; rivers meander between the hills, streams leap down the sides of mountains or flow cold and clear from the base of cliffs. Inside caves, water drips from the roof forming stalagmites and stalactites of monstrous and fanciful contortions. Tham Jang (tham means cave in Lao)is the biggest and also nearest to town and so the most visited. It was apparently once used to store bombs but hey have now gone and the cave has been Disneyfied with colored lights and concrete paths. Most caves remain relatively untouched and I'd recommend strong shoes and flashlights to explore. Some caves are accessible only by wading along a stream and others by a series of rickety ladders so you may prefer to give these amiss or take a tour from Vang Vieng.

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