Konglor cave (also known as Kong Lo cave) in Konglor village in Southern Laos is a bit of a hidden gem. Roughly four hours bus ride from Vientiane, it is a sleep farming village where chickens roam the roads and there are just a handful of restaurants and some great guesthouses popping up.
Konglor cave is just 10 minutes walk from where most of the guesthouses are situated and is the main reason for travellers to visit Konglor. It is a 7 kilometer long cave, through which a section of the Hin Boun river runs. Taking a boat through the cave is a truly awesome experience, which some parts of the cave reaching over 50 meters in height.
The trip through the cave to the village of Ban Natan takes about an hour and there is usually a half hour rest side for refreshments before the return journey to Konglor. Sandals and a decent headtorch are a must for seeing the inside of the cave and its amazing features.
I really enjoyed the time I spent in Konglor in 2012. The people were really accomodating and the village had a lot of charm. I hope it hasn’t changed too much and that Konglor cave will continue to welcome travellers for years to come.
How to get to Konglor Cave
The nearest town is Nahin (Khoum Kham), located along Route 8 in central Laos. If you are traveling on the central Laos loop you will pass through Nahin.
If you are coming from the north, such as from Vientiane, you will probably be on a bus heading south to Tha Khaek or beyond. You’ll be traveling on Route 13 and you’ll need to get off the bus at the junction with Route 8 near Vieng Kham (Thang Beng). From this junction, take a songthaew to Nahin.
If you are coming from the south and heading north, you’ll get off at the same junction and you’ll take the same songthaew to Nahin. An easier option from the south is a songthaew directly from Tha Khaek to Nahin.
The cave is a further 30km south of Nahin. Another songthaew will take you there. If you arrived in Nahin on your own transportation, the turn off to the cave is marked and not too difficult to find. If you are having trouble, just ask someone.
Accomodation near Konglor Cave
The only place near the cave with an online presence is Chantha House, but luckily it’s the best option in the area anyway. There didn’t seem to be a shortage of rooms when we were there (2012), so you can probably just show up and find a room/
One of the villages on the far side of the cave offers home-stay options. They charge 50,000 Kip for a place to sleep (usually a thin mattress on a hard floor) and three meals per day. These villages are extremely rural with no modern amenities, but can be a great experience for those interested in seeing how people in this part of the world live.
If you arrive at the cave by motorbike or bicycle, you will be required to pay a small parking fee. Boats through the cave cost 100,000 Kip each, which includes the entrance fee to the cave. They will only allow two people per boat (although you will see about ten Laotians squeezed into the same boat)
Make sure to wear sturdy footwear that can get wet. The boat will scrape the bottom at several points (especially in the dry season) and you will have to get out and wade while the boatmen drag the boat across the rocks. At one point, you will be let out of the boats to explore some of the rock formations up close. A strong torch could come in handy as well.