Vang Vieng is surrounded by limestone caves, and unfortunately we only had time to visit one of them. Tham Jang is a leisurely 20 minutes walk (past rice paddies and over the Nam Song River) from the town centre. Entrance is 15,000 kip, and you might want to go early to avoid walking in the heat of the day or encountering minivans full of Japanese tourists loaded with enviable camera gear (Josh was jealous).
The walk to the cave is a sight-seeing opportunity itself. Of course, we didn’t miss an opportunity to pose on the bright orange footbridge over the river.
A very blue freshwater pool is near the cave as well, and is open for swimming if you get too hot.
A steep staircase leads up to the cave entrance. According to Lonely Planet, this particular cave was used defend against attacks from Yunnanese Chinese in the 19th century.
The view from the top of the stairs lets you get a good look at the whole of Vang Vieng and we also spotted multiple butterflies and a little lizard who was very cooperative with the camera.
Stepping into the cave gave us a welcome break from the heat outside. It is quite wet inside, so shoes with good traction are a must here. Don’t bother with a flashlight/ torch in this cave though: It is well-lit by artificial lights placed here and there.
A shrine is also located inside. We couldn’t explore the whole thing because restoration work was in progress in some parts. But, all in all, this was a good (and easy) introduction to the caves of Laos, and we would recommend visiting Tham Jang if you’re in Vang Vieng and have the time. Many of the kayaking trips departing from Vang Vieng also get the chance to explore more out of the way caves, for those of you who want to take your explorations further.
Have you explored any caves on your travels? Would you do it again?