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Pak Ou Caves; The Caverns of Countless Buddha Images in Laos

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Pak Ou Caves are an extraordinary set of caverns famous for its impressive array of Buddha sculptures and images assembled over the centuries.  There could be as many as 4000 Buddha statues at these caves.

The caves are located about 25 kilometers north of Luang Prabang and are situated on the junction of the Mekong and Ou Rivers.  There are two ways to get to Pak Ou.  One way is to get there by road.  But the more rewarding means of getting there is by boat on the Mekong River.  On this trip, visitors will discover what life by the Mekong River is like in Laos.  Fishermen casting their nets, children swimming in the waters and villagers passing by on their boats are some of the scenes in and around the river.  The journey from Luang Prabang to the caves on the Mekong will take less than two hours.

The Buddha statues at Pak Ou Caves take many different stances including meditation, standing and the reclining positions.  Before Buddhism arrived in Laos, the caves were believed to have been a place of worship for the river spirit.  After the arrival of Buddhism, locals and pilgrims continue worshipping in the caves by placing their old or damaged Buddha images inside.

There are two caverns at Pak Ou, the lower and smaller one called Tham Ting and the higher and bigger Tham Phun.  Tham Ting resembles a shrine, with a spot reserved for kneeling and praying in front of the bigger Buddha images.  Pathways lead visitors to the rest of the Buddha images, some of which silhouette beautifully against the river background.  A path against the face of the cliff leads up to Tham Phum Cave, where the majority of the Buddha sculptures are housed.  The Buddha images in this cave are deep inside and are only visible with torch or flashlight.

Pak Ou Caves are a great place to visit if you want to explore the beauty of Laos’ culture and natural wonders around Luang Prabang.  Explore the area’s history and landscape with our Pak Ou Caves and Kuang Si Falls – Luang Prabang day trip tour.  Cruise along the Mekong as you visit the picturesque waterfall, villages and of course the caves.  Laos can be discovered in depth with our 10 day Richness & Splendors of Laos tour.  Go on a mystical journey of discovery as we take you to the must sees and the rarely seen sites of Laos.  You can also see Exotissimo’s Laos tour page for other suggested trips into the Laos, a country full of rich culture and nature that is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.

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