Underground River Kong Lor, shivering in the dark

A boat, a river of 7 km that passes under the mountain, in a cave where it is so dark that a simple headlamp is not enough. This is what I did to Kong Lor, an authentic village where you have access to the real lives of Laotians.

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This river called Hinboun was discovered in the 16th century. It connects the villages of Konglor and Natane. The opening to tourism dates back to 2002.

Navigating the river, to the blind, it is a little feel like an explorer who does not know what he will find. It’s really hard to recreate what it feels like.

After walking a few meters inside the cave, on the large sand cutting, we boarded a kind of small motor boat to which the propeller is at the end of a long pole.

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The hair in the warm breeze and humidity of the cellar. It is not cold, it is not hot. We feel good. The sweep of the torches of the boatman and his co-pilot allows to realize the immensity of the cavity. There must be 5 meters high.

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Darkness is striking. We do not really see and that’s what makes the magic. Make a photo would be impossible. Engine noise is reassuring in this place almost hostile.

At the entrance we were given life jackets and this is the first time I am happy to wear one, just in case, to be seen. However, the water is very shallow. It even happens that the boat bottom touch the sand and sometimes it takes the pilot to descend the boat to push it. Basically, we have water to the knee!


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The rock walls are gray and we perceive some bats here and there but nothing too bad.

During the first way which is only one hour, we stop to walk in the middle of the cave. The site is arranged and informed and you can admire the formations of stalactites and stalagmites. Orange and blue lights highlight the site.


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Then we find our boat to the other side to continue in the tunnel. The boatmen are familiar with the cave. Sometimes there are rocks in the water they easily avoied. You do not see two meters and the driver takes curves calculated to the nearest centimeter.

We meet other boats returning. It only distinguishes their torch, dazzling in the dark underground.

After an hour, we reach the other side of the mountain. The sun dazzled us and we still sailing a few minutes on the river, through the forest. Karst mountains, volcanic rocks extend all around.


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We finally stopped in a village where manufactured are arranged stalls and tables for coffee.

After a break of about 15-30 minutes, it starts in the cave to do the opposite. An hour later, we are back to our starting point, delighted!



Practical information

Entrance to the park costs 2,000 kip per person. Then you have to buy your ticket for the boat. The price varies depending on the number of people per boat.

110 000 Kips if you are alone, 120,000 Kips two and three 130,000 Kips. Can not be on the boat.


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This is one of the best experiences I have done. The adrenaline is there, we marvel, it feels small, it’s beautiful!


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