Tha Khaek

Tha Khaek

The launching point for that loop

The provincial capital of Khammuan province, Tha Khaek sits on the banks of the Mekong River across from the Thai town of Nakhon Phanom. While Tha Khaek is not the most exciting town in Laos, it’s on the tourist map as the jumping-off point for explorations of the province’s mesmeric landscape and stirringly beautiful natural wonders, the highlight being Konglor Cave.

More on Tha Khaek

Elsewhere online

Browse hotels in Tha Khaek on Agoda

Provided by Travelfish partner Agoda.

Tha Khaek means “guest landing”, a reference to the town’s past as a pier and trading post, a role that continues to this day as host to the third Thai-Lao Friendship bridge, just 13 km north of town; Lao visas on arrival are available and the border is easy to cross by public bus.

Take a stroll in the countryside. Photo by: Cindy Fan.
Take a stroll in the countryside. Photo: Cindy Fan

With the bridge, good roads connecting to Vietnam and hydroelectric projects dotting the province, the town is establishing itself as a commercial centre (and a notorious hub for the illegal wildlife trade). Sadly tourism isn’t the main priority, and one need only drive a few kilometres east along Route 12 to understand Tha Khaek’s enormous tourism potential.

Flat farmlands and rice paddies are littered with jagged cliffs that appear like black teeth jutting from the earth. Within those limestone karst is another world—the first 20 kilometres of Route 12 is “cave alley” where visitors can explore caves filled with Buddha statues, underground rivers and eerie formations.

Have you ever swum in a cave like this? Photo by: Cindy Fan.
Have you ever swum in a cave like this? Photo: Cindy Fan

Route 12 is also the start of the “Tha Khaek Loop”, a multi-day motorbike journey popping up on Southeast Asia-backpacker bucket lists, though it will never feel crowded. There are long, lonely stretches where you will pass no village or see another soul for miles. The loop takes a minimum of three days, driving around the edges of Phou Hin Poun National Protected Area and to Konglor cave, where a thrilling boat ride on an underground ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 900 words.)

Log in to Travelfish

Please sign in to read the rest of this page. The full text is around 900 words.

Log in now
Become a Travelfish member

Choose from a free two-day pass right through to a lifetime membership.

Find out more

13 other destinations in Southern Laos

Learn more about Don Khon
Don Khon

Charming island getaway

Learn more about Champasak

All about Wat Phu

Learn more about Tad Lo
Tad Lo

Waterfalls and chilling out

Learn more about Don Khong
Don Khong

Real Lao life

Learn more about Don Dhet
Don Dhet

The land of the lotus-eaters

Learn more about Ban Khiet Ngong
Ban Khiet Ngong

Village living

Learn more about Tha Khaek Loop
Tha Khaek Loop

Get a bike and go

Learn more about Attapeu

Vietnamese boom town

Learn more about Pakse

The southern hub

Learn more about Savannakhet

A low-key riverside city

Learn more about Salavan

The Broken Bridge

Learn more about Paksan


Learn more about Sekong

Well off the radar