Pak Ou caves, also known as Buddha caves, or the King’s caves, are located 25 km north upriver. They hold great significance for the Lao people and are one of Luang Prabang’s more popular sites of interest. The cruise to the caves offers magnificent views of mountainous landscapes and opportunities to stop in local villages along the way.
For centuries, Buddhists from far and wide have been making the pilgrimage to Pak Ou Caves to leave effigies as spiritual offerings. Literally thousands of Buddha’s, varying in size and stature, are scattered across every available surface within the two caves creating a phenomenal display of religious artifacts.
Scooped out of the cliff face, the lower cave’s (Tham Ting) formation allows a preview of some of the statues from the water’s edge. As you ascend the grand staircase leading into the hollow, the striking effect caused by the sheer mass of Buddhas reaches full impact.
The upper and larger of the two caves (Tham Theung) is reached by a 10 minute, yet worthwhile, climb up a well-maintained stairway. Due to the scale and cavernous quality of the cave, the density of statues is less intense. However, the addition of beautiful rock formations helps to create a seraphic atmosphere that befits the cave’s spiritual purpose.