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An update from Evaneos

Pakou (Laos)

Practical information about Pakou

  • Viewpoint
  • Mountain
  • River
  • Caves
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Off the beaten track
4 / 5 - 3 reviews
How to get there
90 min from Luang Prabang by tuk-tuk
When to go
Between October and March
Minimum stay
Half a day

Reviews of Pakou

Bettina Zourli Travel writer
66 travel articles

Pak Ou is a cave near Luang Prabang. It's a very sacred place for the Laotians who come once a year to bless the Buddha statues. 

My suggestion:
Spend the day on a boat on the Mekong and stop for an hour at Pak Ou.

I don't think the Pak Ou cave is an essential part of your trip to Laos, but rather a place that is very important for the locals. I went alone and I think it would be interesting to have a guide so you can understand what's important about the place. 

However, it's a nice place to go for a walk and take photos of the beautiful view you have from the top of the mountain.

You should combine the visit to Pak Ou with a day on the Mekong, but don't expect a cave like the ones you can see in England, it's just a little cavity nestling high up in a mountain. 

Pak Ou cave
Aude Michelet Travel writer
32 travel articles

Located on the banks of the Mekong River, the Pakou Caves are a place of pilgrimage.

My suggestion:
Access by boat to Pakou is obligatory, but prefer only to make the crossing from the shore that is accessible by road - it is much more pleasant to go for a cruise on the Mekong River from Luang Prabang.

The Pakou Caves are unique in Laos. The first cave overlooks the Mekong River. Over the years, thousands of statues of Buddha have been offered by the faithful to create a spectacular sight.

The second cave is deeper. It is possible to rent a torch for those who haven't got their own. Examining the cave walls to find gold leaf images of Buddha makes you feel a little like an explorer.

The elephant conservation centre is situated opposite the Pakou Caves. A ride on the back of an elephant and the elephant bath in the Mekong River will make for an incredible memory of your trip to Laos. I would advise against bareback riding because of the risk of a fall that could spoil the rest of your trip. But I really think that you should not miss this opportunity to come into contact with these majestic animals during your stay in Laos.

Pakou Caves
David Debrincat Travel writer
459 travel articles

At 35km from Luang Prabang, Pak Ou is home to stunning Buddhist caves that are carved into a cliff face. Inside, you'll find thousands of Buddha statues overlooking a breathtaking view of the Mekong.

My suggestion:
During the Laotian New Year, pilgrimages are organised so worshippers can leave statues of Buddha as an offering.

If you're in Luang Prabang, there's no excuse for not visiting this site. My tour of the Pak Ou caves was one of the highlights of my trip to Laos. C'mon, let me give you a guided tour.

Pak Ou is a magnificent site carved into a cliff overlooking the Mekong. You need to cross the river by dugout canoe in order to reach the caves. In olden times they were inhabited by hermits. Today they're a a pilgrimage site, where worhippers come to leave statues of Buddha as part of the Laotian New Year celebrations. The caves currently house more than 6,000!

And the view over the Mekong is stunning. "Shhh, be quiet! Listen! Can you hear it? Chanting, prayers? Let's check it out!". It's the sound of monks praying. The view, the place, the monks, the's magical. It's enchanting. An experience you shouldn't miss.

In the Pak Ou caves