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Buddha Caves Pak Ou Cave (also called Thousand Buddha caves, Pak U caves, Pak Ou caves) is one of the most visited and famous attractions in the vicinity of Luang Prabang. The caves are located 25 kilometers from the city, and they are visited in the form of a boat tour, but you can get there by motorbike or hire a tuk-tuk. Along the way, they usually make a stop at the village of moonshiners Ban Xang Hay, where you can see how rice moonshine is made, taste it, and if you want to buy it. In fact, we can not say that the caves are mandatory to visit: they are too long to get to, and there is nothing spectacular. But the very path to them along the river and the tearing views make the trip to them quite attractive. If you did not manage to travel around Laos by boat, then you should definitely take advantage of this opportunity here.
For local Buddhist residents, the Pak Ou caves are a sacred place. It is said that even before the advent of Buddhism in Laos, the locals worshiped spirits in these caves. Now they keep an incalculable number of all kinds of images and statues of the Buddha, which are brought here by local residents.
There are only two caves: lower and upper, or Ting and Tham Phun. The lower cave is illuminated and is the most visited by tourists, and is said to house thousands of damaged Buddha statues. Tourists get to the upper cave much less often. To get into it, you have to climb up the mountainside along the path. It also contains statues of the Buddha, but in smaller numbers, and in appearance they are much older. The upper cave is not illuminated, a lantern is needed to visit. If you do not have your own lantern, you can rent it at the entrance for 10,000 Kip.
It is better to allocate half a day to visit the caves, since the way to them takes about one and a half to two hours in one direction, one hour you will spend on the inspection itself, and back one and a half to two hours.
🕐 Working hours: from 08:00 to 17:00.
💵 Entrance fee / tickets price: 20,000 Kip (1.11 USD, see Lao currency and exchange rate).
🚶 How to get there: the caves are located 25 kilometers from Luang Prabang to the North (Buddha caves on the map of Luang Prabang). You can get there on land by rented transport or by tuk-tuk, or by river by boat. The most popular route is by boat, but this is also the longest option:
On the waterfront of Luang Prabang at any time of the day, you can hire a boat in both directions with the expectation that it will cost 350,000 Kip (19.4 USD) for two, 450 000 for four, etc. there is a more budget option: buy a group tour in travel agencies, hotels, or right on the waterfront. Excursions depart in the morning at 08:30 from the conditional pier on the banks of the Mekong opposite the royal palace (there is a sign). The cost when buying directly on the embankment is 65 000 Kip (3.6 USD) + cave entrance fee. Book a tour better for the day.
On the ground
On the ground, you can take a tuk-tuk or rented transport to the village of Ban Pk Ou. There are no scheduled tuk-tuks, you need to hire about 200,000 Kip, bargaining. In the village, you will need to take a boat and move to the other side of the river directly to the caves for 20,000 Kip/person in both directions. If you get to the village by rented transport, you will have to leave it in the village under the supervision of 3000 Kip.