We arrived in the Capital of Laos, Vientiane, all ready to get our visas for Vietnam from the embassy, however when we arrived we found it closed due to their new year celebrations! We decided that instead of waiting around for four days we would go south to Tha khaek, a small town recommened to us and definately off the beaten track.
After a long ride on a local bus filled with luggage from floor to celing, we finally arrived into a dusty bus station. We had planned to visit the cave the next day, however unfortunately dale caught the potentially fatal Dengue fever, and 'was close to death' (apparently)!! Although he made a spectacular recovery after plenty of bed rest, paracetamol and TLC.
Although that was not the end of our trials in our pursuit of the cave. We found out from fellow backpackers that the best way to view the area was by motorbike on a three day loop. We decieded against this, dale only just recovering and all! Instead we made our way to the 2km market in Tha khaek (the local bus stop) at 6am, then onto the back of a converted pick-up truck that left as soon as it was full of passengers. We rambled along the dusty laos roads for what felt like hours, arriving in Ban Na Hin where we waited for another pick-up for a ride to the cave.
After eventually arriving at the cave we were rewarded with a trip in a longtail boat that navigated the 7km route through the cave. It was a really surreal experience and the cave was gigantic, being 100m wide in places and almost as high! Apparently the cave is home to the worlds biggest spiders although we didn't see any (thank goodness). The cave is also lit-up along a walking path in the most impressive part with large stalacmites and stalactites.
Off to get our Visas! love liz and dale xxx