Kong Lor Cave In Laos: BEST Tips For Visiting (2024)

Find out absolutely everything you need to know about visiting Kong Lor Cave and the Village. Learn about how to get there, what to do, entry fees, where to stay, and more at Tham Kong Lo which it is sometimes referred to as.


Kong Lor Cave was a highlight of my recent trip to Laos and unlike anything, I have seen in Southeast Asia so far. My expectations were completely blown away.

Though Kong Lor is not the easiest place to get to and it will take a little bit of research.

Luckily in this guide, I will tell you absolutely everything you need to know about visiting Kong Lor Cave, or Tham Kong Lo.

On my second trip to Laos, I wanted to get away from the main backpacker trail of Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, and Vientiane to explore some more of the countryside. That is when I came across the glory which is Kong Lor Cave and knew I needed to add it to my Laos itinerary.

Honestly, I highly recommend visiting if you are wanting to get off the beaten track in Laos and check out one of the best geological wonders of Asia. However, let’s find out a little more about Kong Lor Cave and about the village itself.

That way you can figure out whether it is of interest to you and how exactly to plan your trip there.



🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Laos: 12Go Asia


coming out the other end of kong lor cave into the jungle
coming out the other end of kong lor cave into the jungle
jumping off rocks into river at kong lor cave
jumping off rocks into river at kong lor cave
swimming with some locals in the river at kong lor laos
swimming with some locals in the river at kong lor laos

Is It Worth Visiting Konglor Cave

Considered one of Southeast Asia’s geological wonders Kong Lor Cave certainly has quite a reputation to live up to. It is approximately 7 kilometers in length, running straight through the massive karst mountains which line the countryside.

The height of the cave itself is nearly 100 meters in parts, covered in impressive stalagmites and stalactites.

The Nam Hin Bun River runs through the length of the cave which is known to flood during the wet season. Our guide told us that it wasn’t until about the last twenty years that the locals in Kong Lor actually knew what was on the other side of the cave.

Occasionally bits of bamboo, flowers, and leaves would flow out of the cave, but they had no idea where it was coming from. It wasn’t until a couple of brave men volunteered to row their boat upstream to discover the village of Ban Natane on the other side.

Though depending on how many caves you have seen previously you might think Kong Lor Cave is overrated. Personally, this was the largest cave I have ever been in, and really enjoyed the experience.

Though Southeast Asia is home to some amazing and impressive caves in comparison you might think Kong Lor is not worth the effort to get to. However, for myself and many of other travelers, it was 100% worth the adventure to Kong Lor Village, and well worth adding to your Laos itinerary.

exiting kong lor cave back into the bright light in laos
exiting kong lor cave back into the bright light in laos

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Laos: 12Go Asia


Map Of Tham Kong Lor

The following is a map which points out the main town of Tham Kong Lor, Kong Lor Cave, and the village at the other end of Ban Natane.


How To Get To Kong Lor Cave

The unfortunate part of visiting Kong Lor is that is quite off the beaten track in Laos.

It will take a day of public transport to get there. However, that is also the great part because it never gets overly busy.

If this was located near one of Laos’s main tourist towns, visitors would quickly overrun it.


Vientiane To Kong Lor

The best way of getting to Kong Lor is if you are traveling Central Laos. This means you can get there from the nearest city of Vientiane.

You can take the daily bus from Vientiane to Kong Lor. Nearly all tour agencies and guesthouses around Vientiane will have these tickets for sale. This is the only direct option.

It will be a local bus and as this is not a common route there will not be many other travelers on the journey, but you will be able to find others once you get to Kong Lor.

This daily bus should cost around $5.00 / 100,000 kip per person including a minivan transfer to the bus station. Expect the journey to take about 6 hours.

If this is not an option for you, there is one other option. You can take a bus to Thakhek, but ask the bus driver to let you off in a town called Vieng Kham.

This is about halfway to Thakhek and is where there is a turnoff to Kong Lor. Obviously, you will need to keep an eye on your location with GPS on your phone.

Depending on the time you can stay there the night or get a songthaew to take you the remainder of the way to Kong Lor.

driving to kong lor cave down dirt roads with cows
driving to kong lor cave down dirt roads with cows

Thakhek Loop To Konglor

A popular choice for those who are comfortable riding a motorbike is the Thakhek Loop. For this, you will need to travel from Vientiane to Thakhek. This journey is a popular one and numerous buses leave per day from the capital.

Once in Thakhek, you can hire a motorbike from one of the many rental agencies. Three main rental agencies specialize in hiring to foreigners specifically the Thakhek Loop.

Expect to pay around $3.00 / 60,000 KIP per day for the rental plus petrol which is relatively inexpensive. They should also provide you with a Thakhek loop guidebook or map with places to stop.

The loop itself is around 500 kilometers long and generally takes travelers between 3 to 5 days to complete.

Kong Lor Cave may be a highlight of the journey but is certainly not the only thing to do. You will stop at other attractions including other caves, natural springs, and waterfalls.

Side note: During our visit, we saw people doing the Thakhek Loop taking their motorbikes on board the small boats through Kong Lor Cave so they could continue the loop on the other side.

They no doubt paid extra for this, but it took numerous locals to get the bikes down the staircase, across sinking sand, and over little hills before they were on the boat.

Once the tourists were out of sight the locals all said they would never do it again and how horrible it was to carry the motorbikes in the midday sun. Therefore please simply do the return boat trip and avoid bringing your motorbike with you!

karst mountain landscapes driving from vientiane to kong lor cave
karst mountain landscapes driving from vientiane to kong lor cave

When Is The Best Time To Visit Tham Kong Lor

The best time to visit Kong Lor is during the dry season from November to March. The earlier in the dry season you visit the higher the water levels will be within the cave.

I personally visited during March when the water levels were fairly low, though it was still safe to visit the cave. On about 3 occasions we had to jump out of the boat so the driver could push the boat over the bottom.

At most, we only had to walk for about 30 seconds before we could jump back on board. This might seem annoying, though, over a 7-kilometer journey, it was not a big deal.

Also on the way back, as we were following the current of the water we only had to get out once.

Because of this, you might think it would be better to visit during the wet season, though this is certainly not the case. During this period the cave has been known to flood which can lead to Kong Lor Cave dangerous situations.

relaxing at thong dam bungalows where to stay in kong lor
relaxing at thong dam bungalows
walking across the bamboo bridge above the nam hin bun river
walking across the bamboo bridge above the nam hin bun river
taken a wooden longtail boat through the jungle in laos
as you can see the boats are on the smaller side, but it adds to the adventure

Kong Lor Cave Entrance Fee

There are three different entrance fees you will need to pay to get your Kong Lor Cave tickets.

The first is the main fee to enter Phu Hin Bun National Park which is $0.10 / 2,000 KIP.

The second is the fee to enter the cave itself which is $0.60 / 10,000 KIP. This fee is usually included in the price of the boat trip.

The last is the price of the boat tour. A boat fits 3 people (excluding the driver) and the charge of $6.30 / 130,000 KIP can be split between the three people hiring the boat. My partner and I just hired it ourselves and paid $3.15 / 65,000 KIP each.

So, there is $6.30 / 130,000 KIP for the boat, $0.60 / 10,000 KIP to enter the cave (usually included in the boat ticket), and $0.10 / 2,000 KIP to enter the national park.

purchasing our entry ticket to konglor cave in laos
purchasing our entry ticket to konglor cave in laos

Kong Lor Cave Opening Hours

Kong Lor Cave is open from 8.00 am to 4.00 pm daily.

However, this is rural Laos and things are slower here. Don’t rock up first thing bang on 8.00 am and get disappointed if you have to wait around!

a mother and baby water buffalo in the fields around tham kong lo
a mother and baby water buffalo in the fields around tham kong lo
looking over the tobacco fields up to the karst limestone mountains with water buffalo in the foreground at kong lor laos
incredible landscapes around kong lor laos

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Laos: 12Go Asia


My Experience On A Kong Lor Cave Tour

We arrived at Kong Lor the day before and had a relaxing evening watching the sunset over the countryside. The following morning we had a relatively early start heading down to Kong Lor Cave at around 8.30 am.

At the entrance, we pay the national park fee before walking down through the trees to an opening on the Nam Hin Bun River.

Though, before heading down we stop at a small shack where we pay for our boat and get paired up with one of the drivers waiting nearby. We are given a life jacket as well as a head torch to help us see in the pitch-black cave.

Down the stairs, we cross a small bridge and follow a path alongside the sand to the entrance of the cave. Once there we are ushered into a small wooden longtail boat and get comfortable for the journey ahead not knowing what to expect.

We quickly lose the light coming from the front of the cave and into the darkness. The head torches make out the ceiling and cave walls, though the pitch-black water below is a scary sight.

About 15 minutes in we pull into a small riverbank and notice a group from another boat going up a makeshift sand staircase.

At the top stalagmites and stalactites are lit up. We follow the pathway through these insane creations of nature before descending another staircase and into our waiting boat.

Following the cave further upstream it is crazy to think of being in darkness for 7 kilometers. A couple of times we need to get out due to low river levels, though it provides a good opportunity to stretch the legs.

The driver obviously knows the route well as he darts from the sides of the river.

After about forty minutes the cave walls begin to lighten and we soon see the exit.

It is another 10-minute ride through the isolated jungle before we reach the small village. We are given twenty minutes to walk around, though in all honesty there isn’t too much happening.

The small restaurants offer food and drink whilst there are a couple of informational boards we kill time reading.

Back down on the boat, we head back inside Kong Lor Cave. It is equally as impressive the other direction and my mouth is open in awe.

This way we do not need to get out as many times as the fast current pushes the boat over the low-lying river floor. It also makes for a much quicker journey and soon enough we are back at the entry point and into the turquoise waters surrounding Kong Lor.

Outside the cave we swim in the river, cooling off as the midday heat beats down. A large rock is a perfect spot to practice our jumping off before heading back into the village to continue our journey.

a man on a longtail boat going back through kong lor cave
longtail boat going back through kong lor cave
wooden long tail boats at the beginning of kong lor cave waiting for tourists
wooden long tail boats at the beginning of kong lor cave waiting for tourists
a man waiting to go on the boat inside tham kong lo
waiting to go on the boat inside konglor cave laos
stalagmites inside kong lor cave
stalagmites inside kong lor cave

Is Konglor Cave Laos Dangerous

Fair enough question, it’s a dark super long cave. You are on a crazy backpacking journey through Laos and there is no way you want the next headline to read Kong Lor Cave Death or Kong Lor Cave Drowning.

And I get it, some attractions, especially those off the beaten track in South East Asia and be a bit dodgy.

Luckily Kong Lor Cave Laos is nothing like this. You will be provided with safety gear such as life jackets and head torches while exploring the cave.

The paths within the cave are well-marked and also lit up. There have been no reported deaths or drownings at Tham Kong Lor so you will know you are in good hands.

This is certainly a “tourist cave” by standards in Asia, however, because it’s so off the beaten track it doesn’t seem touristy.

walking through the kong lor hike section of the cave, in reality its only a five to ten minute walk
walking through the kong lor hike section of the cave, in reality its only a five to ten minute walk

Other Things Do In Tham Kong Lor

The main thing to do in Kong Lor is the cave. However, there are still a couple of other things to do that can keep you busy.

As mentioned above we enjoyed going for swims in the Nam Hin Bun River. There are no swimming signs around where the fish seem to congregate, though the other areas are fine.

Some of the local guesthouses also provide bicycle hire to explore around the village. This should cost you around $1.00 / 20,000 KIP per day.

One of the popular spots to bike to around here is Tham Nam None. This is another one of the great Laos caves cave in the area which actually spans a distance of 15 kilometers.

However, be cautious and do not venture in far. Some of the nearby guesthouses will set up special trips for you with a guide and equipment.

swimming in the river which flows through kong lor cave
swimming in the river which flows through kong lor cave
sunset over the moutains in tham kong lo
sunset over the moutains in tham kong lo

Where To Stay In Kong Lor

There are minimal accommodation choices available in Kong Lor as it is quite a small village. However, there are still a handful of decent options.

I stayed in Thongdam Bungalows, and it was an excellent option. There is a small restaurant across the dirt road, and the rooms have beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes.

Another good option is SpringRiver Resort. Starting at $15.00 for a double room the property is completely tucked away in nature and offers plenty of things to do. Seriously it is in the most amazing location!

Konglor Eco-Lodge Guesthouse and Restaurant

Konglor Eco-Lodge Guesthouse and Restaurant

Clean and modern rooms in a peaceful location starting from $10.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
SpringRiver Resort

SpringRiver Resort

An incredible resort surrounded by nature. Rooms here start from $20.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
Konglor Cave Resort

Konglor Cave Resort

A great affordable option for travelers on a budget. Private rooms start from $8.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
Thongdam Guesthouse

Thongdam Guesthouse

With both dorms ($5.00 per night) and private rooms ($10.00 per night) this is a great choice for all travelers.

BOOK NOW
incredible views from my hammock at tham kong lo
incredible views from my hammock at tham kong lo
incredible sites in front of kong lor cave over the nam hin bun river
incredible sites in front of kong lor cave over the nam hin bun river

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Laos: 12Go Asia


What To Pack For Kong Lor

You will likely be visiting Kong Lor Caves during the dry season. Therefore you will definitely want lightweight, breathable clothing.

The sun here is intense so do not forget sunscreen as well. I highly recommend packing some swimwear as the river provides the perfect spot to cool off.

For your adventures inside of Kong Lor Cave shorts and a tee shirt will be fine. The temperature drops within the cave, though it is not enough for you to become cold.

Definitely, do not wear jandals/sandals as they can easily float away into the darkness if you jump out of the boat in the shallows or during the Kong Lor Cave hike up to the stalactites. Water shoes or sneakers will be the best choice.

In terms of technology I personally only brought my GoPro, though I highly regret not taking my DSLR camera. I thought that it might have not been safe to bring it and the river could’ve had rapids in some sections, but it was fine.

If you have a waterproof bag then that would certainly come in handy in keeping your belongings safe.

swimming in the nam hin bun river around kong lor laos
swimming in the nam hin bun river around kong lor laos
climbing up the staircase back to the carpark after a swim on the nam hin bun river
climbing up the staircase back to the carpark after a swim on the nam hin bun river
exploring village at the other side of kong lor cave
exploring village at the other side of kong lor cave

Where To Go After Kong Lor?

You are best to continue traveling south after discovering the incredible sights and Kong Lor Cave history.

The nearest city is called Thakhek and on arrival, you will easily be able to access public transport to other parts of the country. The journey from Kong Lor to Thakhek is 180 kilometers and will take you at least 5 hours.

Around 6.30 am a songthaew style local bus begins in Kong Lor and will take you all the way to Thakhek, arriving around midday. The cost is $3.60 / 75,000 KIP and prepare to get a numb bum on the wooden seat!

You can also choose to continue traveling directly onto Pakse by heading to the bus station in Thakhek. On arrival, there are a couple of afternoon bus departures that will get you into Pakse around 8 p.m.

If you do happen to miss the direct songthaew from Kong Lor to Thakhek, there is another which leaves at 7.30 am to Nahin Lak.

From there you will need to change to a different Songthaew which will take you to Thakhek. This is the same price as the first option.

local bus details from kong lor to thakhek
local bus details from kong lor to thakhek
tuktuk schedule to kong lor
tuktuk schedule to kong lor

FAQs About Tham Kong Lo

How long is the Konglor cave?

Spanning an impressive distance of approximately 7.5 kilometers (4.6 miles), the Konglor Cave stretches through the mountains beneath Phou Hin Poun National Protected Area in central Laos.

How do I get from Vientiane to Kong Lor?

There is a daily bus from Vientiane to Kong Lor, and tickets can be purchased from tour agencies and guesthouses around Vientiane. It should cost around $5.00 / 100,000 kip per person and take about 6 hours.

How big is Kong Lor cave?

Kong Lor Cave is 7.5 km long, and some of the passages are up to 90 m wide and 100 m high. You will have plenty of opportunities to appreciate the stalactites and stalagmites.

Where is Kong Lor Cave?

Kong Lor Cave, also known as Tham Kong Lo, is a karst limestone cave located in the Phu Hin Bun National Park in the Khammouane Province of Laos. It is situated approximately 130 kilometers (81 miles) north of Thakhek and is accessible via the Nam Hin Bun River.


🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Laos: 12Go Asia


Wrap-Up: Why Visit Kong Lor Cave

Kong Lor Cave is a truly remarkable wonder that offers an unforgettable experience. Its size, stunning rock formations, and underground river create a surreal environment.

I hope with the help of this guide you will feel confident and know everything you need to get to Tham Kong Lo and explore this epic cave.

For sure this was one of my highlights from all my trips in Laos and I can’t wait for you to discover it as well.


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Find out absolutely everything you need to know about visiting Kong Lor Cave and the Village. Learn about how to get there, what to do, entry fees, where to stay and more at Tham Kong Lo which it is sometimes referred to as.


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.

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1 thoughts on “Kong Lor Cave In Laos: BEST Tips For Visiting (2024)

  1. Avatar for Danny
    Danny says:

    Thanks for sharing, I have been lucky to visit Laos and seen most of these that you have pointed out, I would like to return one day 🙂

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