Kong Lor Cave, Laos Week 7 7th June 2011
We walked about 200m from where we were camped.

Simply pleasant surroundings.

We arrived a bit early at 07:00.

It rained. We waited. It stopped raining. We set off about 08:00.

This is a rough map of the cave. The tour has been set up with some French help.

Kong Lor cave is basically a 7.5km navigable tunnel through the limestone between two valleys.

The entrance is on the far side of the lagoon. That black hole.

And if you missed it the first time here it is a bit closer.
One to operate the engine and steer. The elder. Another to paddle from the front and help steer. The younger.

There's evidence of a bit of sensible organisation which involves the local village.

From inside the mouth the scale of the cave begins to make its impact.
Its probably relatively young as limestone caves go. The tunnel is obviously water worn with only a few growths.
Very difficult to photograph something on this scale. The flash just seems to be absorbed.

There's the water, a sandbank, and the wall.

Part way into the cave we were let out of the boat to explore some illuminated formations.
We walked for at least a couple of hundred meters.
The formations are large and mostly dry.
A mixture of all sorts. And showing the effect of a breeze that gently flows through the tunnel.
Beautiful formations. Not sure where the colour of this one comes from.
The cave carries supplies as well as tourists.

The first motor powered boats went through in about 2004.

First tourist exploitation was about 1995.

The roof changed from being a few meters high to lots (at least 50m).
Light at the end of the tunnel!
Emerging into the beautiful light of a river in the jungle.
A happy tourist!
The limestone mountains are spectacular.
Every which way we looked.
And then some.
And in close up.
The transport waiting for the return journey.

The turnaround time was taken up with bailing the boat while the happy tourists drank an orange juice.

There was a village to visit about a km away but the track was a bit muddy. We were happy with the cave.

The return journey was just as interesting.

This is the entrance.

And the next boat load of happy tourists.

I think I took them by surprise. They weren't smiling for the camera.

This bit was just inside the mouth.

Everyone out! Walk for about 20m. Everyone in.

Meanwhile the boat was launched down a bumpy bit.

Floated away in the gloom  and paddled back.

The job of the assistant.

More transport headed up river.

This one was a container boat.

The rocks we floated over when it wasn't gravel.

The white dots are splashes from the roof.

Not as low as it looks.
Another boat around the corner.
The erosion of the walls and roof was fascinating.

The orange bit is a 1,000,000 candlepower torch we'd carried all the way from Aus for just this occasion.

Apart from allowing us to see independently of the headlights of the crew it gave the camera something to focus on.

We swerved neatly around this bit. The illuminated formations are high on the right.
The roof has the same sort of veins that we've seen in other limestone caves where the underlying rock is visible.
And finally back to the beginning.

A fairly exciting 3 hours for the princely sum of 110,000 Kip (about A$13 for both of us).

TowardsVeng Viang, Laos Week 7 8th - 10th June 2011

Bruce Wed, 08 Jun 11 17:06:28 +1000
Looks like you're having a lot of fun exploring things up there Julian.
Keep up the blog for the likes of me!!!
Wonderful photos!

Sharon Fri, 10 Jun 11 17:05:03 +1000
Loving the blog Julian and Ali. Makes me wish our truck as ready and not just starting. Maybe even with my health we could do something like your trip, as I am enjoying the blog of your trip and the photos and comments so very much, it is the next best thing to being there.
Enjoy the rest of your trip.

John Head Tue, 12 Jul 11 22:19:15 +1000
I am indebted to Pete Garbutt for the web address of your blog. Ali deserves the title of 'The Bravest Kiwi' I am envious.

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