Explore The Tham Khoun Xe Cave, One Of The Largest Active River Caves In The World
Laos is a popular tourist destination because of its picturesque sites and historical temples. But what lies under the ground is perhaps as beautiful as the scenery above the surface.
Tham Khoun Xe Cave is a massive river cave situated in Khammouane Province in central Laos. Also known as Xe Bang Fai River Cave, it is believed to be one of the largest active river caves in the world. Stretching to a distance of 4.5 miles, this magnificent cave has colossal passages, some of which are more than 400 feet high and 600 feet wide. The cave is also filled with crystalized stalagmites and stalactites measuring around 60 feet long.
The cave begins from Annam Trung Sun Mountain in the boarder of Vietnam and Lao. It crosses the Nakhai Highland and flows to the Mekong River.
The locals believed that the Tham Khoun Xe Cave is inhabited by spirits. Their faith is strong that the spirits are protecting them from any danger and proof of that is there has been no accident reported so far in the cave. Every year, the locals perform a ceremony to show respect to the spirits and offer a prayer for their kinsfolks, as well as for the tourists.
The glorious cave was first discovered in 1905 by Paul Macey, a French explorer. Many decades thereafter, no outsider attempted to explore after Macey for unknown reasons. But in 2005-2006, the government officially opened the natural site for public exploration. Tourists from other countries are also welcome to explore the glorious cave by kayaking or renting boats from the locals.
Because of its spectacular stone formation, crystal waters, and majestic ambiance, photographers from other countries have come to explore its natural structure. In 2008, Laos’ biggest river cave was recognized by the National Geographic and it became an even more popular tourist attraction.
Ryan Deboodt, a Beijing-based photographer, shares his stunning video of his exploration of Tham Khoun Xe Cave.