Lusi & Pha Poak Caves @ Vang Vieng

After my introduction to drinking "black russians" during my first Vang Vieng bar excursion last night, I awoke this morning with a throbbing hangover and no urge to deal with a rickshaw driver. A little asking around proved there was a cave within walking distance to the west of town, so I loaded my backpack with Beerlao, threw on the cheap sandals I'd purchased the night before and started walking.

Starting my journey @ Vang Vieng
Hill which contained Pha Poak Caves

After 1 beer and what seamed like about a kilometer of walking I reached quite a large hill with a sign at the base reading Pha Poak Caves. Similarly to the temples in Luang Prabang, some guy hangs out here all day in a hammock waiting to collect his 10,000 kip from each tourist who arrives. I worked my way up a steep dirt path and some bamboo stair cases until I hit the cave but what I found inside didn't seem worth paying a dollar to see.

The trail supposedly went up past the cave to the hilltop so after I finished up snapping my disappointing photos, I continued my climb up. The journey up the hill quickly evolved from steep dirt and bamboo stairways into jagged rocks and near vertical ladders, the only thing to grip onto up here were tree-roots, some of which would wag around like ropes with the slightest touch.

Once I was at the top there was a rock about 6 or 8 feet high with a bamboo stick coming out the top, which of-course was a perfect place to sip down the last of my Beerlao. Looking down from the top of the rock there was about 270 degrees of serious injury or death waiting to happen if my balance was lost. While attempting to step toward the safe side of the rock, one of its jagged edges split my sandal in two causing me to almost drop my beer.

Looking back at Vang Vieng

After about 20 minutes of barefoot rock climbing I was back on the ground and ready to proceed onto the next cave. I was able to make a quick fix to my sandal before the journey however within about 5 minutes it broke again, each time I'd reapply the fix it seemed to last about 75 percent as long as it had the prior fix. I'd have been driven to madness by this constant breaking and fixing if it weren't for the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

At the Lusi Caves the son of the ticket salesman offered to lend me his sandals. After paying another 10,000 kip, a tour guide escorted me into a slightly bigger and darker cave then at the previous attraction. Although there were a couple stalactites and stalagmites, the most exciting thing that happened during the tour was my slipping in a puddle of mud.

Inside Lusi Cave