Tham Phaseng: Head to the legendary Tham Phaseng Caves and inspect the sacred stone statue of Buddha chiselled from a natural fossil. The caves’ legend recounts tales of tigers and giant snakes, which have battled at the site over the centuries. Locals have found tiger footprints in the area but no evidence of giant snakes. Many of the caves are home to scores of bats. A rocket festival is annually held at Tham Phaseng in May. To reach the caves, travel about 20 km south of Savannakhet Town on Route 13 to Song Khon Town.
Tham Pulan: Inspect this cave oddity on the Mekong. More than 10 boulder caves make up Tham Pulan, which may have housed the area’s earliest inhabitants. The caves sit near the Kong Phanang Panorama, where massive rocks jut from the river to create scores of mini-islands. Some believe the early residents used these huge stones as construction materials. During the dry season, a walking path leads to an excellent view of this amazing natural site.
Elephant Scratching Cave: Explorers on the 4-day “Mountains of the Elephant Parade” trek can examine Elephant Scratching Cave (Tham Xang See). Elephants used the cave, hidden in Phou Xang Hae NPA, as a rainy season sanctuary, and you can inspect the walls rubbed smooth by itchy resident pachyderms.