Chom Ong Cave
45 km from Muang Xay, gives the visitor a dazzling feeling of entering Tolkien’s Mines of Moria. The biggest cave in Northern Laos is a recently discovered system of more than 16 km natural tunnels, adorned with pretty sparkling sinter formations, huge stalagmites and stalagtites. Passages have ceiling heights up to 50 metres and there is a stream course flowing in the cave. The natural attraction is accessible in a 50 minutes walk from the village “Ban Chom Ong”.
Ban Chom Ong is an outstandingly beautiful village of about 500 people of the ethnic group Khmu. It is starting point to the biggest cave in Northern Laos. Surrounded by paddy rice fields, locked by mountains, it is still largely untouched by modern influences. There is now electricity in the village. There is no mobile phone signal in the village, but as a compensation you’ll get the chance to observe authentic village life as for example handicraft production.
Chom Ong village, idyllic starting point to Chom Ong cave
Nam Heeng. If you’re very adventurous, it is also possible to reach Ban Chom Ong going to a village called Ban Nam Heeng first. The village itself is not particularly interesting, but from it is a 16km walk to Chom Ong village, where the cave is located. So called “Packing” cars leave from a public transport station near the normal bus station, the cost kip to Nam Heeng is about 35,000 kip. The challenging hike from Nam Heeng to Chom Ong takes approximately 5 hours. It is advisable to ask the villagers for directions to Ban Chom Ong.
Nam Kad Waterfall and Pristine Forest. While visiting Nam Kad Waterfall you can not only swim in the ice cold basin under the waterfall but also see one of the most untouched and beautiful pristine forests in Laos. Rent a motorbike and follow the sign which says “Nam Kad”. At a village called “Ban Faen”, turn right, and then just follow the road. You’ll have to cross the winding river 5 or 6 times, which might be slightly difficult in the rainy season. When the road ends, it is a 30 minutes walk to the waterfall in a wonderful jungle atmosphere. The distance from Muang Xay to Nam Kad is 23 km.
The stupa in Muang Xay
Oudomxay Museum. Unless in the Museum there are just few items to look at, the view you have from the top of “Phou Sebey” mountain is very nice. Go there early in the morning, when the sun is still low – you may watch the town centre waking up and enjoy the morning light as it starts caressing the roofs before the day gets too hot.
The stupa in Full Moon
Phuuthat-Stupa. Just opposite of the stairs to the museum there are similar stairs to climb, leading to an 18 meters high Stupa. The stupa was built in 14th century to allow all people of the region to come together, to celebrate religious festivals. When under French control, the area of the stupa was made into a war camp. During the first Vietnamese war the stupa was destroyed and only bricks were left. Reconstruction started in 1994 and was completed 3 years later. Religious celebrations are held at the stupa during the day of each full. Since April 2010 there is also a golden, 15 metre-high Buddha statue watching over Oudomxay from the top of Phou That, seeming to spur Oudomxay people to new religiousness. Enjoy the view over the town and see the stupa and Buddha shining in the sunset. The monks at the nearby temple are always happy to practice their English with foreigners.