Photo: Time to explore.

Route 12 caves and swimming holes

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The first 20 kilometres of Route 12 east of Tha Khaek is packed with interesting caves and pause-a-while swimming holes. This is the same route that launches day one of the popular Tha Khaek motorbike loop. Whether you are doing the loop or a day trip, here’s how to tackle cave alley.

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Route 12 is a smooth sealed road flanked by impressive karst, making for a memorable, photogenic ride. However, the side roads to the sites are not paved and can be quite challenging. Travelling independently on a motorbike or going on a tour with tuk tuk/minivan are the best options.

From the inside looking out. Photo taken in or around Route 12 caves and swimming holes, Tha Khaek, Laos by Adam Poskitt.

From the inside looking out. Photo: Adam Poskitt

If you’ve got a good motorbike and know how to handle dirt track, it’s doable but not without a battle. It would be a full on war in rainy season so consider carefully. Given the distances involved and the road conditions to the sites, bicycle is the least appealing option. Unless you can get a hold of a great mountain bike, we wouldn’t recommend pedalling all of the following.

Take note that some of the caves have several different local names or spellings. Turn offs for each cave are signposted, though often only on one side of the road facing one ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,900 words.)

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Popular attractions in Tha Khaek

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Tha Khaek.

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A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Tha Khaek.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Tha Khaek.
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See below for more sights and activities in Tha Khaek that are listed on

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Tha Khaek? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Laos.

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