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The massive stalactites and stalagmites inside Phaka cave.    --Photo Maed district official

New cave discovery a must for adventure seekers

For Visit Laos-China Year 2019, Vientiane Times is publishing a series of feature articles and images promoting the two countries’ collaboration in tourism and hoping to inspire more people, especially from China, to experience the nature, culture, history and hospitality of Laos, the jewel of the Mekong.

If you like an adventure and are a nature lover, consider a visit to Phaka cave in Maed district, Vientiane province.
The cave was recently explored by a group of Japanese experts who believe it could be the largest cave in Laos.
Local people have known about the cave for a long time but no one dared to go inside because the cave is huge and can only be accessed by boat.
Phaka cave has been measured at 120 metres high, 400 metres wide, and about 8km long. Konglor cave in Khammuan province is currently the largest known cave in Laos, measuring 7.5km in length and being 90 metres wide and 100 metres high.
The entrance to the cave is partly blocked by trees and is fronted by the emerald green Nam Feuang river, so it is only accessible by boat.
The river water fills the cave throughout the year. The interior is filled with massive limestone stalactites and the air is cool and fresh. It’s not possible to walk in some parts of the cave because the water is too deep, so the Japanese surveyors had to swim, the district Information, Culture and Tourism Office said.
The group will return to the cave to make further assessments. They will prepare a report on their findings for presentation at an international meeting, where they will make the case for Phaka being the largest cave in Laos, an official in charge, Mr Saydaen Sounlintha, told Vientiane Times.
Anyone wanting to see the cave should contact Namfeuang village authorities, who will arrange for local residents to take you there.
Businesses interested in funding the installation of visitor facilities are asked to contact the Maed district Information, Culture and Tourism Office.
Phaka cave is located 33km from the main town in Maed district and can only be accessed by boat. The river trip from the town to the cave is about 19km.
Visitors to Maed district should not only see this cave but plan to explore other scenic attractions including the Moum cliff and Huay Chad, Huay Khamleab and Huay Pan waterfalls.
And don’t forget to try the local food, such as larb thao (riverweed mixed with ginger, chilli and eggplant), and hoi (river snails cooked with herbs and vegetables).
Souvenirs include items made locally under the One District, One Product scheme such as shirts and other items made from cotton and silk. These make great buys for the special people in your life.
Maed district is just over 200km from Vientiane and is not far from Vangvieng. This tourist hotspot offers a raft of fascinating places to explore, including Jang and Poukham caves, the blue lagoons, and Kaeng Nyui waterfall.
The Xong River offers kayaking, tubing, and speed-boating, and there are also zip-lines for the more adventurous.
More than 653,000 tourists visited Vientiane province last year, according to the 2018 Tourism Statistics report published by the Tourism Development Department, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
Vientiane province has at least 32 hotels, 312 resorts and guesthouses, 273 restaurants, and 41 entertainment venues.
The province is home to 171 officially designated nature-based attractions, 25 cultural sites, and four places of historical interest.

By Siladda Souliyong
(Latest Update August 5, 2019)

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