Kao Rao Caves

Northern Laos

Well-signed beside Rte 3, 1.5km east of Nam Eng village, is this extensive, accessible cave system, which has a 700m section open to visitors. The main limestone formations include old stalactites encrusted with crystal deposits.

Local guides accompany visitors through the cave, but speak no English and have weak torches (flashlights). Extensive lighting is already wired up, but there are often power cuts, meaning your own torch is a handy accessory. Allow around 45 minutes for the visit.

Curious corrugations in the floor that now look like great old tree roots once formed the lips of carbonate pools like those at Turkey's Pamukkale.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Northern Laos attractions

1. Nam Ha NPA

11.84 MILES

The 2224-sq-km Nam Ha NPA is one of Laos' most accessible natural preserves and home to clouded leopards and possibly a few remaining tigers. Both around…

2. That Phum Phuk

24.08 MILES

The red-gold stupa you see when first approaching the small and historic That Phum Phuk is a 2003 replica. Right beside it lies the brick-and-stucco…

3. Golden Stupa

26.95 MILES

By far Namtha's most striking landmark, this large golden stupa sits on a steep ridge directly northwest of town. It gleams majestically when viewed from…

4. Luang Nam Tha Museum

27.03 MILES

The Luang Nam Tha Museum contains a collection of local anthropological artefacts, such as ethnic clothing, Khamu bronze drums and ceramics. There are…

5. Ban Nam Di

28.71 MILES

Barely 3km out of Luang Namtha, this hamlet is populated by Lao Huay (Lenten) people; the women wear traditional indigo tunics with purple sash-belts and…

6. That Xieng Tung

29.8 MILES

Around 6km southeast of Muang Sing, That Xieng Tung sits on a grassy plateau dotted with sacred trees, 1km up a rough access track that branches south off…