Pak Ou Cave is also known as the Thousand Buddha Cave because of the thousands of statues, large and small, found in the cave. Brought by devotees far and wide, it has made the caves an especially holy place for pilgrims and a favorite day-outing for Sofitel Luang Prabang guests. Situated along the sheer limestone cliffs of the Mekong River, it’s one of the most respected holy sites in Laos. Pak Ou Cave has a history dating back thousands of years. Packed with over 4,000 Buddha images, the caves, and a shrine to the river spirit and Lord Buddha, are set in a striking limestone cliff at the confluence of the Mekong River and the Nam Ou River. It consists of two caves, a lower cave called Tham Ting and the upper cave called Tham Theung, both filled with small Buddhist figures that are mostly made from wood.
Positioned about 50 feet above the river, Tham Ting filters in some light but a torch is required for the absolutely pitch black Tham Theung. The upper cave is home to the majority of the icons and you will need to use your torch to see the thousands of statues within. The figures are believed to have been left by local people over hundreds of years.
By river, the trip to Pak Ou Caves takes around two hours from Luang Prabang and you can go with a tour agency, buy a ticket from the boat dock or let Sofitel Luang Prabang charter a boat for you. It’s also possible to reach the caves in an hour by tuk tuk, though you’ll still need to cross the Mekong River to reach the Pak Ou cave entrance. Let Sofitel Luang Prabang arrange a lunch cruise for you with accompanying food and beverage on board.