Trekking in Khammouane
Follow paths through the Limestone Forest, filled with towering rock spires inside the Phou Hin Poun NPA. Head deeper into the province along the famed Ho Chi Minh Trail and explore the caves and wildlife in Hin Nam No NPA. On the journey, you’ll meet the people, experience village life, and overnight in a homestay.
Konglor Cave Trek & Homestay
Check in to a Ban Na Hin guesthouse before noon, and follow your guide into a protected forest and between limestone karsts to Tad Mouang and Tad Namsanam Waterfalls. Along the way, the guide explains the forest’s plants and wildlife, and organises a picnic lunch. Return to Ban Na Hin in the late afternoon with time to explore the town, located on Route 8 to Vietnam.
On Day 2, take a vehicle to Ban Konglor and a short hike to the 7.5-km Konglor Cave’s entrance. Here, you catch a boat through the massive tunnel to the valley on the other side. After a picnic lunch, continue walking to Ban Natan, and arrive in the mid-afternoon in time to wander around the village to observe weaving and rice polishing. Eat a Lao dinner and participate in a baci ceremony and traditional activities before a night in a villager’s home. Return the next day to Ban Na Hin or Konglor, and on to Thakaek to Lak Xao.
Limestone Forest Extension
Start your 3-day adventure in the Limestone Forest following the “Konglor Cave Trek & Homestay” itinerary, but continue to Konglor for an afternoon cruise through the cave. Then, follow the path for a Ban Natan homestay. The next morning, return to the cave, but rather than boat, you’ll climb a steep trail over the mountain to Konglor Village for the night in the village lodge or family’s house. Then, it’s back to Ban Na Hin and onward travel.
Pristine Phou Hin Poun
Ease into this 2-day trek at Tha Falang, a popular Nam Don River swimming hole. Continue to Ban Na Village and Phou Hin Poun NPA. From here, your guide takes you down a path through the Limestone Forest to explore Tham Pa Chan Cave and ancient Muang Pone Stupa. Along the way, the guide teaches you about local plants and wildlife.
Return to Ban Na in the late afternoon to observe their traditional way of life. The villagers cook dinner and organize a traditional baci ceremony and performances, before you spend the night in the simple village lodge.
The following morning, trek to Ban Na Kue and further to Khoun Kong Leng Lake hidden in the forest. Return to Ban Na Kue for a tractor ride along the Khon Keo River to its rapids. A short walk leads to Khon Keo village and transportation back to Thakaek.
Hin Nam No Cave Trek
Follow the Houay Hok Stream through the Hin Nam No NPA to explore three distant caves on this 12-km, 7.5-hour trek. Start at Ban Thongxam Village, and trace the stream to a climb over a sandstone ridge on the 6-km hike to Nam Ork resurgence cave. You may see a troupe of black langurs on the cliffs overlooking the path, and otter tracks at the cave entrance. Once inside, investigate the odd formations on the ceiling.
Continue downstream to Tham Nok Aen (Swallow Cave) tunnel, where the Houay Hok cuts 60 metres through a limestone outcrop. A sandy beach lines most of the chest-high stream, making for an interesting swim in the cold and dark. Bats and swallows nest in this cave, and can enter and exit through a ceiling window above a large cavern. Villagers claim Vietnamese soldiers on the Ho Chi Minh Trail inhabited this cave during the Indochina War, as seen in the cans and items they left behind.
Further along, explore Tham Pak Tham Cave, where the Houay Hok drills another tunnel through limestone, and leaves a bottomless pool in its wake. Then, it’s a 2.7-km walk to Ban Thongxam. A 3.5-hour, 6.5-km version of this trek is possible if you bypass Nam Ork Cave. Homestays are available in Ban Thongxam. The Langkhang area offers various accommodation options.
String together a couple of 2-km treks just outside Langkhang Town during your stay in the Hin Nam No/Ho Chi Minh Trail region. Take a short guided hike from Ban Nongboua Village to Tad Songsou Waterfall and its 20-metre drop into a deep pool, where you can swim.
See macaques at Pha Koud Cliff in the early morning or evening during a short 2-km trek from Ban Nongseng. The monkeys inhabit caves pocking Pha Koud, and eat the natural vegetables growing at the base of the cliff. Hire a village guide to guarantee a sighting, and remember to bring binoculars for a close-up view. Guides are also available for a longer trek around the foot of Pha Koud.