Photo: Take a walk in the woods.

Tha Khaek trekking

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Of Khammuan Province’s three national protected areas, Phou Hin Poun NPA is the most accessible and open to tourists. Covering 1,690 square kilometres northeast of Tha Khaek and east of Route 13, it’s home to limestone peaks, blue lagoons, the once thought to be extinct Laotian rock rat and caves galore, the most notable being Konglor Cave.





Several of the caves, like Konglor and those accessible along Route 12, can be done independently. Others require a guided trek, and taking a walk, slowing down the savour the majestic otherworldly landscape is highly recommended.

Not your typical brisge. Photo taken in or around Tha Khaek trekking, Tha Khaek, Laos by Cindy Fan.

Not your typical brisge. Photo: Cindy Fan

The provincial tourist information office in Tha Khaek offers eco-guide services, with tour and trek programs ranging from day trips to overnight “community-based” trekking, which means staying in a village and involving the community in the running of the trip. Considering the state of other provincial tourism offices in the country, where the programmes are all but dead, Tha Khaek has enough volume of visitors to sustain a decent level of service and offerings.

We did the “Discover Phou Hin Poun” 2-day/1-night trek and highly recommend it for those who love walking in order to immerse in gorgeous natural and rural scenery and refreshing swimming holes. The walk takes you through pretty rice paddies and an immense limestone “forest”. At one point you’ll wade through a cave and emerge on the other side into an amphitheatre of karst, a flat valley surrounded 360 by layers of jagged peaks and ridges. There are idyllic swim stops on both days, in a cave on day one, Khun Kong Leng Lake on day two. These were also the site of our picnic lunch, prepared by the guide. The Lao are masters at throwing on a barbecue—the trip began with our guide buying ingredients at the market, and the fish were still flopping when we took our first steps. We were treated to a real Lao food jungle feast.

Take a dip in a blue lagoon. Photo taken in or around Tha Khaek trekking, Tha Khaek, Laos by Cindy Fan.

Take a dip in a blue lagoon. Photo: Cindy Fan

The walking is mostly flat though there are several water crossings, sometimes using makeshift log bridges. The terrain on the second day was more challenging with parts on an undulating trail through ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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