Pak Ou Caves. Near Pak Ou (mouth of the Ou river) the Tham Ting (lower cave) and the Tham Theung (upper cave) are caves overlooking the Mekong River, 25 km to the north of Luang Prabang, Laos.
They are a group of two caves on the west side of the Mekong river, about two hours upstream from the centre of Luang Prabang, and have become well known by tourists.
The caves are noted for their miniature Buddha sculptures. Hundreds of very small and mostly damaged wooden Buddhist figures are laid out over the wall shelves.
They take many different positions, including meditation, teaching, peace, rain, and reclining (nirvana).
The Pak Ou Caves are one of the most treasured religious symbols of the Louang Prabang Province. Several legends tell stories of this site where, over the years, thousands of statues of Buddha have been deposited.
Situated upstream from the Mekong, at about 20 miles from Luang Prabang, the caves are accessible by touktouk (taxi) or by boat, the boat is often the transport chosen, being as its much more comfortable (the road is pretty rugged for 6 or 7 miles) and more pleasant (the trip on its own is worth it).
You need to count an hour and a half by boat to get there and three quarters of an hour to return to Luang Phabang. By touktouk, count about 1 hour there and 1 hour back.
The entrance to the caves is a masterpiece, being as it is situated in a vertical cliff (which confirmed climbers will thoroughly enjoy) in the middle of a luxuriant jungle. The stairs, even though they are steep, are well looked after and equipped for many visitors. This site, which is primarily a religious site, is very much visited today by tourists; so don’t expect to be on your own for meditation ....
Visitors will be pleased to discover these two caves for their singular character (from a speleologist’s point of view), as well as for the number of small statues representing Buddha in all shapes and sizes ; approximately 4000 effigies.
You can have your fortune told. This means taking one of thirty numbered batons out of a basket; a paper carrying the same number predicts a more or less distant future, with philosophy and wisdom ... written only in the Laotian language, you will have to get it translated.
There is an entrance fee to this sanctuary of about 1 US $.