January 13, 2021
The company of chickens in our yard turned out not to be such a great idea. All because the rooster started crowing around 5:00 am, knocking us out of sleep. Nevertheless, we get up refreshed. We step in for breakfast at our hosts. We eat an omelette, rice, and papaya salad. We still have some time before departure, which we use for hammocking.
At 10:00 am a tuk-tuk takes us to Kong Lo cave, 42 kilometers away from our accommodation. It is one of the greatest attractions of this part of Laos. Although we have already visited a lot of caves, we cannot wait to see it. We know that this one will be different than all the others. After about an hour we get there. We cross the turquoise river, and enter the cavern of the cave, where a boat is waiting for us. Kong Lo Cave is nothing more than a seven-and-a-half kilometer long tunnel cut by a river, running under a huge mountain. The only light is the flashlight. We get in the boat and drive for a few minutes. After reaching a small beach, we decide to go ashore, and walk through the dry part of the cave admiring stalactites and stalagmites. Then we get back into the boat to continue the cruise on this underground river. Only us and a two-person crew are there. The water level in some places is so low that we must get off and push the boat out into deeper water. Another time the current gets so much stronger that we take water inside. The cave itself is impressive. It flows through many cave chambers, sometimes tens of meters wide. Water drips in many places, we pass fallen tree limbs, and the darkness there makes it an amazing experience. After about an hour we reach the other side of the mountain. There we go out onto the land to take a little break. Nature surprises us again. We see a spider the size of an adult's hand, and then a green-bright snake feeding on a toad. We do not stay there long. Coming back we follow the same road, getting off several times to overcome the shallows. The cave was worth visiting. We were able to see once again how powerful and beautiful nature can be.
The next day we are moving on. As the village has nothing much to offer, there is no need to sit here any longer. We do not really know how we are going to travel, as communication in this part of the country is incomprehensible to us. We sit by the road with our backpacks on the bench, where the tuk-tuk drivers leave. One of them informs us that in half an hour he will leave for the intersection of roads 8 and 13, and there we can catch a transport to the south of the country. At the same time, there is a coach coming in this direction as well. We get in it. After about an hour, we stop at the side of the road and wait for something that only locals know about. After a few minutes, another bus arrives to Pakse. The driver says we can change over. Pakse suits us very well, but how did the driver know about it? It will remain his secret. Tourists probably travel this route very often.
After purchasing the ticket, we sit down comfortably. We have over 300 kilometers to cover. We ride the "highway" number 13 almost all the time. The traffic is not heavy. Only sometimes we pass other road users, and sometimes herds of cows or buffaloes. After a few hours, we stop again, another bus comes, and we must change again. It is hard to understand what is going on.
Finally, we reach our destination around 19:00. We go to the city center about two kilometers. It turns out that everything is full, and it takes us almost two hours to find accommodation. We are forced to take a more expensive hotel. Let's hope it will be worth it. Tomorrow we will be discovering this area, famous for its waterfalls.
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous