Pac Ou Caves was one of the Top Ten Things I wanted to see in Southeast Asia, so this was a very exciting stop for me! You can rent your own slow boat, or you can book through one of the many small travel companies and book your blow boat ride for about 2 hours down the Mekong River to the cave temples.
When you book through a tour they will make a stop in Ban Xang Hai (a.k.a Whiskey Village). This is basically a stop for you to shop until you drop, if that’s the sort of thing you’re into. The specialty that gives the town its nickname is of course, whiskey! But this whiskey is stuffed with snakes & scorpions! The people selling the whiskey are more than willing to give you, and your boat driver, all kinds of free samples.
Tham Ting is the lower cave and has the highest number of figures. Most of these figures are made of wood or resin and depict the Buddha in various poses. There are over 4,000 Buddhas in the two caves!
The upper cave, Tham Theung, hold some of the larger statues and is a much deeper cave. Be sure to bring your torch to truly enjoy this section of the caves, or you can rent one from the children at the mouth of the cave.
Pac Ou is a incredible sight to see, but wasn’t the site of a spiritual experience for me. Although, it wasn’t super crowded, it wasn’t a functioning temple and was touristy enough to be missing that meditative, deep experience that I had many other places along my journey in Southeast Asia, but it’s still worth a visit!
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