Pak Ou Caves

Sights Type / Natural Landmarks
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Location

Luang Prabang, Laos

Address

Luang Prabang, Laos

More information

https://facebook.com/pages/Pak-Ou-Caves/, https://foursquare.com/v/pak-ou-caves

Prices

Admission to caves 80,000K, return boat tickets per person/boat 65,000/300,000K

Opening hours

Boats depart 8.30am-11am

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The Pak Ou (also written Pakou) Caves are one of the most treasured religious symbols of the Luang Prabang Province. Several legends tell stories of this site where, over the years, thousands of statues of Buddha have been deposited.

Without a doubt the most popular day trip out of Luang Prabang is the trip up the Mekong River to the caves at the mouth of the Ou river (hence the name 'Pak Ou' - 'mouth of the ou'). Although you can make most of the trip by road, boat is the best way to go even though it does take nearly an hour (or more if the river is low) to make the trip up river.

Where rivers Ou and Mekong meet at Ban Pak Ou, two famous caves in the limestone cliff are crammed with myriad buddha images. In the lower cave a photogenic group of buddhas are silhouetted against the stunning riverine backdrop. The upper cave is five minutes' climb up steps (you'll need a torch), 50m into the rock face. Most visitors en route to Pak Ou stop at the 'Lao Lao Village' Ban Xang Hay, famous for its whiskey. Buy boat tickets from Luang Prabang longboat office.

As you head up the Mekong from Luang Prabang, the limestone hills get higher, with sometimes sheer cliffs jutting straight up out of the water. On the bank opposite the point where the Ou River joins the Mekong, a large cave gapes open in the face of one of these cliffs.

The cave has been used for centuries as a repository for old or disfigured Buddha images. Even before Buddhism, the cave was believed to be a place occupied by spirits. You enter cave from the river - meaning that even if you make the trip by road, you have to use a boat to cross the river.

A path from the main cave (called 'Tham Ting' in Lao) leads around and up the hill to another cave, home to even more Buddha images. The upper cave is protected by a massive wooden gate. Inside, there are the remains of platforms and other structures. There are also many drawings on the walls.

A trip to Pak Ou typically includes a stop at the 'whiskey village' about halfway there. The proper name of the village is Ban Xang Hai, but everyone knows it as the whiskey village. Here whiskey is made from fermented rice soaked in water from the Mekong River. You can of course sample the wares as well as purchase a bottle. There's also a silk weaving village on the way.

If you time it right, starting off in the morning, you'll finish about noon and can have lunch at the village opposite the caves. There are of course several places in the village to satisfy your cravings.

The narrow footpath-streets behind the very attractive (if mostly new) wat are also full of weavers' looms, colourful fabric stalls and a few stills producing the wide range of liquors sold. An alternative is to go by road to Ban Pak Ou (30km, around 160,000K return for a tuk-tuk) then take a motor-canoe across the river (20,000K return). Ban Pak Ou is 10km down a decent unpaved road that turns off Rte 13 near Km 405.

The caves are a very popular pilgrim site for locals and get very busy during April when the Lao New Year is in full swing with locals washing and attending to the images. The caves are not far from Ban Xang Hai village, famous for its wine production and for the making of Lao wine earthen jars; it is a great side trip where you will get the chance to try locally produced whisky and wine.

Whisky village

Opposite the Buddha Caves on the far side of the Mekong is the “mouth” of the “Ou” River – “Pak Ou” in Lao. The scenery here at the entrance of the Nam Ou is dramatic, with a huge limestone peak rising up over the junction of the two rivers. South of Pak Ou, on the banks of the Mekong, is a village that produced stoneware jars for thousands of years, but has now forsaken that activity, having found that distilling liquor is more lucrative. The inhabitants of BAN XANG HAI, referred to by local boatmen as the “Whisky Village”, are quite used to thirsty visitors stopping by for a pull on the bamboo straw. The liquor is lào-láo, made from fermented sticky rice, and pots filled with the hooch are lined up on the beach awaiting transport up or down the river.

As it’s logical to see the Pak Ou Caves and the Whisky Village on the same trip, most boatmen hired in Luang Prabang are happy to treat it as a package, assuming that after you’ve seen a cave-full of Buddhas you’ll be ready for a good, stiff drink. Boatmen congregate throughout the day near the slow boat landing and at the tip of the peninsula near Wat Xieng Thong.

Travel tips

Its worth going there, even if its only for the walk. Make sure you take a powerful torch with you so as to visit the second cave. You should also visit the village, opposite, which is full of curiosities and unusual objects. There are also restaurants (very good snack bars if you walk a couple of hundred metres towards the river Nam Ou), and a beautiful and authentic temple.

Admission fee & getting there

There is an entrance fee of 20,000 Kips (US $2) to visit the Pak Ou Caves. Boat trips to the caves are usually around 80,000 Kip per person, or 300,000 per boat. While the rates are often posted, they are generally negotiable.

Reviews by visitors

When the cave was discovered by an explorer in the 1800s I doubt he was thinking what a cool tourist trap. When thousands of devout Buddhists leave their favorite old Buddha figurines in what they consider to be a holy place it's not to trap tourists. This is a beautiful, HISTORIC, spiritual place. If seeing a bunch of Buddhas in a couple of caves sounds "lame" to you then you shouldn't visit, but I can't stand seeing the reviews knocking this place as a waste of time and merely a tourist trap. It's disrespectful and inaccurate.

~Melibrooklyn

A must see. You will reach these caves after a 2hr Scenic boat ride on Mekong River, there are 2 caves one lower and smaller, you walk about 30-40 steps from the river bank it is full of Buddha figures several hundred years old. Then you climb another 200+ steps to reach the 2nd much bigger cave. It is pitch dark inside but you are given torch at the enterance, there is a small pray area as well inside the cave & it is noticeably cooler inside the cave. There are hundreds of big/small Buddha statues inside the cave, take your time to walk around & see some hundreds of years old paintings on the cave walls.

Do take water with you & an Umbrella. I did not see toilet facility here.

~Kazi

The cave is located on the area where Mae Khong River met Ou River in Loa called Pak Ou.Many tourists came to visit by boats.The Cave divided two levels as a lower cave and the upper cave.Inside the cave,there are many Buddha statues which made from wood,stone,plaster,brass.We can walk around then kept the steps on a ladders to the upper level.Inside the upper level..little bit dark , no much light here.The guide used torchlight led for us.

~Korokoso

As many other reviewers already mentioned, the cave is nothing special. Just a rather small cave with buddha statues in it. We climbed up the steps to another cave (lady selling flashlights in front of it) which is even more underwhelming.

We went there by ourselves by renting a motorbike in LP. We stopped at the famous whiskey village first where you can buy lao handicraft and watch how they make their whisky (free tasting). When arriving at the Pak Ou village, we parked our motorbike and bought the ferry ticket. The ferry ride across the Mekong to the caves was short but enjoyable.

~paisam

We took a tour to visit the caves by kayak, we had a great time, stunning views, the cave is not as big as you may think, but the experience is amazing!

~cfb

Somewhat disappointing and uneventful. The caves themselves have a rich history, but have become a trap where everything is charged and requests for tips all over. 

20000 to enter the cave area. 
13000 for the boat trip across the Mekong to get there. 
Prepare to pay 5000 Kip to go to the loo. 

There are small restaurants which we decided to skip. 

Ways to get there...

Tour up the Mekong, this can be arranged at your hotel 
Tuk Tuk, grab one in town or arrange at your hotel. 
Rent a motorcycle... We chose this option. Scooter rental is about 120,000 Kip per day. Caution the road is very busy and there is a lot of construction and trucks along the way. 

My recommendation is give this a skip, go to the Kuang Si Waterfall and do the 3km walk to the source and there's am amazing cave to explore.

~larkanw

Basically the title of the review sums it up. Not a very interesting cave with many Buddha figures, wooden, stone and plaster inside. Out guide told me that many were moved there during the Vietnam war for safety. What I did enjoy was kayaking to the cave and this attraction is often couple with an elephant riding experience as a half day itinerary.

~Tzenwen

When in Luang Prabang, every other tour office and tuktuk driver offers trips to Pak Ou cave. Often combined with obligatory and touristy visits to the local whiskey village (selling bottles of alcohol with dead snakes and scorpions..) or a trip to an elephant camp, to engage in activities like sit on an elephant or wash an elephant. I wonder how the elephants would review being sat on washed all day every day.

So, we opted for the self-organized tour and rented a motorcycle to drive there. The drive itself was a 1-hour trip that was quite ok. Mostly asphalt roads, last piece more natural surroundings. 

To reach the cave you have to cross the river by ferry, which was a nice experience. You pass by a small village that feels very local, it's not part of any of the tour packages. You have cows and chickens walking around freely, you can buy drinks, some food, local handicrafts and ferry tickets here.

The cave itself is really not that special, it's a hole in the rock filled with lots of buddha statues. 

But we were still happy with this trip since it showed us some of the surroundings of Luang Prabang.

~Sanne

Booked through Manifa Travel in Sisavangvong Rd, Luang Phrabang for the slow boat up the Mekong and Kuangsi Falls. Not disappointed at all.

Van trip to a little village first to see if we wanted to buy local produce as alot of tours do. Saw silk worms and silk harvesting which was good and then onto boat and up river.

Lovely cruise up the Mekong with the wind across the water cooling and plenty to see.

Caves were busy with tourists but very interesting and beautiful. 

Worth the climb up the stairs to top cave too but hard yakka.

Stopped on way back at elephant tour/riding place for lunch which was plentiful and nice.

Money well spent.

~kev

It takes about 90 minutes by boat from Luang Prabang up the Mekong to reach the caves. On the way you can catch sights like villagers collecting cicadas, buffalo cooling off in the mud and elephants roaming the riverbank. When you reach the caves, you are treated to the spectacle of thousands of Buddha statues with a thousand year history. Before leaving, enjoy the spectacular view down to the river and surrounding countryside before enjoying lunch on the 45 minute journey back to Luang Prabang.

~Dale

The caves are 25km upstream from Luang Prabang. The boat ride up the Mekong River makes for a pleasant 90 minutes. There are different quality of boats doing the trip, some which westerners would probably not care for even if they did save a few bucks. The caves themselves are not the kind of caves we think of in U.S. Parks for example. They do not go deep underground and they do not have colourful stalagmites and stalactites. They are simply large breakaway sections in the side of a limestone cliff. There are perhaps 2500 Buddha images, most quite small and unremarkable. Probably best to say it is worthwhile because it is there, or famous for being famous.

~dldc

The boat takes 2 hours to get to the caves. Once there you can see the caves within 15 mins and it's hardly a cave, more a large hole in the side of a mountain. Admittedly the hundreds of Buddhas were cool but that's it. It's then another hour and twenty minute boat ride back (quicker on the way back because you're travelling with the current). So all up its over 3 hours travel time to see a cave for 15-20 mins. Not worth it at all in my opinion! 

We paid 85K Kip through our hotel which we thought would include transport back to our hotel but once the boat docked we were left to find our own way home. There's also an additional 20K Kip entrance fee once you get to the caves.

Seriously, save your money and spend it on a bus ticket to Vang Vieng (will cost you the same price = 100K kip) and go see some proper caves!

~luke

We chartered a private boat from our hotel that fetched us from our hotel to the cave. Otherwise, there's a 'public ferry' service.

There are Upper and Lower Caves and I recommend to head to the Upper Cave.
It was not exactly a difficult climb but steep enough. Therefore, it's always good to do it when one's energy is still there.

There are decently clean toilets along the way up but one needs to pay 5,000 kip for the usage.

For serious photographers, I recommend to bring your tripod along.

As you can see from the photographs, the Upper Cave is very dark, totally reliance on natural light from the entrance.
Free torch lights are available at the entrance.
Don't rush through the cave as any typical tourists would have done.
Slow down the pace, observe the drawings on the walls, the mini Buddha statutes. 

Along the way from the Upper to Lower Cave, one can enjoy the view from up above to the Mekong River. Personally, I love that view.

The Lower Cave is more well lighted and somehow it's more crowded than the Upper Cave. And the 'space' is more restricted than the Upper Cave.

Along the way from the Hotel to the Pak Ou Caves, the boat stopped at a little Handicraft village where we observed how Rice Papers making were and other more laid-back lifestyle (anyhow, Laos is not a fast paced country).

It's ok to wear to slippers for this trip. No serious walking.

~Stephen C

We went on a private tour up the mekong river, stopping at the whiskey village for about 10 minutes. As we had no interest in shopping out excellent guide just showed us the interesting aspects of life. 

The caves are beautiful and I am so glad we went to see them. Thousands of Buddha's, some very old. The cave at the top of about 200 steps was amazing and as we had a good torch with us we got to do some really good exploring. 

The whole journey was serene and peaceful and we had a lovely view of river life. 

After we went and ate in the resteraunt on the other side of the mekong. The food was excellent. 

I recommend this trip.

~Joe

If you're short on time and cash, then the standard group tour may suit your needs. However you get what you pay for. The whole tour takes about 4 hours. Its very relaxing travelling up to the caves by boat however they ONLY allow you 15 minutes for the village stop. (Whiskey village) and a strict 30 minutes to see the caves. While there's not a lot to see at either we could have easily spent 30 minuted at the village. The people are very friendly. While there are only two caves, 30 minutes was a rush. At least 45 to 50 minutes would have made it interesting and more relaxing, a few stairs but manageable. Our boat driver was NOT happy when people arrived back late.

~elizaval

This was enforced stop via Nagi of Mekong on our way to Luang Prabang, and whilst not wholly uninteresting, the major talking point amongst the group appeared to be how many steps there were to the top. 

I counted 233 but others counted more. Maybe they had smaller legs???

This is a difficult one to judge. The caves are regarded as a mandatory stop along the river for many and in some regards, I understand why. Would I head their way were I travelling independently, then no, I would undoubtedly pass-on by. There are better caves and better temples to seek out if that's what rock's your boat! 

Happy Travelling.

~London

We took a boat upstream for 2 hours. The boat stopped at a local village selling weaving products. 

It depends on when you visit, the ride tends to be a few degree cooler than what you experience inland...so wear a jacket if necessary.

The first hour and a half before the village quite feel long so you may want to use the toilet before you take the ride. 

The cave is interesting and have been mentioned by the other writers. I personally enjoy the whole ride more. The Mekong river is such important transport line to the region. 

~KH L

Great journey along the Meakong River stopping first at the village making rice whiskey .. Lao Lao. The 50 percent one could run a car. The boat continues to the caves and takes about 90 minutes to get there. The cave is accessed up steep steps and they have marked where the Mekong rose to in 2008. This is about 20 metres higher than now. The caves are literally packed with Buddah statues and is pretty astonishing

~Leginx

I took the half day boat tour today and really enjoyed the whisky village. I have read about the caves and saw the YouTube videos and really it's nothing spectacular. The Mekong boat ride gazing at the misty mountains is majestic. The cheapest fare of 65,000LAK can only be purchased at the pier. The tourist office will charge you 80,000LAK and the local agents will start from 100,000LAK upwards. All these rates exclude the 20,000LAK entrance fee. Finding the pier is a bit of a hit and miss as the sign can be missed. So take the riverside road and keep walking until you see the Saffron espresso coffee. Just opposite is the pier with the ticket desk. Be there at 08:00am as the first boats leave at 08:30am.

~Nick

Overlooking the Mekong with hundreds of buddha statues filling the caves this is an atmospheric day trip from Luang Prabang. Best to travel by long boat and enjoy the river experience; restaurant and bar across the river near the caves. Stop en route at Whiskey village and see the local rice wine being made.

~tomeden

The best part of this place is the getting there by boat, which is a pleasant 40 minute cruise up river from Luang Prabang.

The caves themselves are neither big by any standards, or especially interesting. There seemed to me to be a lack of attention by all concerned with their upkeep, safety and tidiness. A lot more could be done to enhance the whole experience.

~cumbrian

We were looking forward to this tour, and really enjoyed the 25km boat ride up the river from Luang Prabang. However, the caves are less than spectacular, being relatively small. The caves are filled with countless statues of Bhudda and other religious shrine objects. There were quite a number of people burning incense sticks and praying. In my opinion (quite possibly errant), this is more of a religious shrine than a tourist destination. I also personally believe that those who visited to pray may have been better served allowing them to practice their religion without hordes of tourists filling the cave. Indeed I felt that at times, as a tourist, I was imposing upon the worshippers!

It was interesting to visit the village where villagers were using rather primitive stills to distill alcohol, reportedly with a strength of 55% ABV. I'm not sure how they controlled the separation of the ethyl alcohol from the methyl alcohol, as the process looked quite primitive. But one assumes that they have acquired skills over generations to cut one from the other, otherwise the resultant alcohol could be potentially dangerous if drunk in sufficient quantity! 

The lower strength wine that they produced from the alcohol they'd distilled wasn't to my taste, but this is a a subjective rather than objective view of this potable beverage. However, being able to see alcohol distilled in the way that it has been for untold centuries, was an interesting experience.

It was also quite interesting to see villagers, in traditional wooden houses, making exquisite embroidery and other handicraft items. Clearly these villagers rely upon tourists to make a (I suspect less than lucrative) living. We'd have been perfectly happy to take the boat up the river and see the village, without visiting the cave. But many may find the whole tour interesting; it's just that it didn't 'float our boat'!

~lan O

It's a lengthy boat ride up the Mekong in order to get to the caves. You won't regret a second as every square inch of the landscape is breathtaking and will sit with you forever. The caves are a tad slippery so wear shoes that ensure your safety. Truly another beautiful natural part of Laos you must see.

~James

This is about a 45 minute ride down river from Luang Prabang. Once there, you can visit two different caves. One is up many stairs and it does require good health and stamina to get there. That cave is dark (bring or rent light) and contains mostly small Buddha statues. 

The lower cave is wide open and bright. It is generally full of people and displays tons of Buddha statues. Overall the caves are boring and uninteresting. The best part is the slow boat ride on the Mekong. Great chance to see the morning fog rolling off the green forested mountains that surround the river.

~fox

Pak Ou caves are decent caves, a good workout for your legs, and I got to speak to some nice monks at the top about my Sanskrit tattoo, but for me the best part of the whole day was having a boat to myself and cruising the Mekong river, the whiskey/silk village stop off was next best thing, then the actual caves... 

Again what made this experience for me was having a long boat to myself (cost about $40USD for the 5-6 hours round trip)

This meant I could set my own pace, have literally no noise other than the boat and my own thoughts, I could ask to slow down for photos, stop off at other areas just to have a 5-10 minute look around and just generally enjoy the moment of being on the Mekong without the constant chatter of other tourists. Worth it if you can afford the $ in your budget.

~blaze

You can't beat a scenic ride in a private river boat down the Mekong River. Even better the opportunity to stop in and see the Pak Ou Caves. 

Well preserved and only accessible by boat. It was a pleasant surprise and not what I was expecting.

Tip : suitable footwear, and clothing for visiting religious places, camera, tour guide

~janr

I shared a ride with another single traveller by arranging the trip with a local boat driver. We negotiated a rate to visit the two caves, visit the local village of weavers, and see the sunset. The boat driver was flexible but he strongly suggested that if we wanted to see the sunset, we could only stay at the local village for 20 minutes maximum. Thus, I really wanted to see the sunset and it was worth it. 

I suggest that if you want to do all three things, leave before 1:30 pm. There is beautiful scenery along the way and it took about 1 1/2 hrs to get to the caves. To reach Tham Theung (the upper cave), you need to climb some stairs. It's a moderate hike if you take your time. 

Inside the upper cave, it was dark and you can rent a flash light. I recommend you bring your own flashlight or use your mobile device for better visibility. There were many Buddhas inside. Be careful walking as the ground is uneven in certain parts. On the way down the steps, towards the left is the entrance to the lower cave (Tham Ting). I spent more time inside this cave as there were hundreds of Buddhas ranging in different sizes and heights. Visibility is great. There's even a bench inside to rest. I did not see any guides at the caves to give historical information. There is a small fee to enter both caves which is collected by the locals near the caves. 

We stopped at a local village on the way back. It was late afternoon when we arrived and the locals had pretty much closed down for the day. They wanted me to try the local whisky which I politely declined. There were many local women who were weaving from their houses and putting their scarves for sale. They are made of 100% cotton which are nicely woven. It's incredible how much time these women spend weaving one scarf. I bought a couple but didn't have enough time as we needed to get back. The village's main source of income is from selling their whisky and scarves. It's a great way to support the locals. 

I had taken many photos of the sunset on the way back. I would highly recommend hiring your own driver as you can sightsee at your own leisure. The driver charges one price regardless of the number of people, and the price is negotiable.

~Melanie

An interesting place, worth visiting because the Mekong River cruise from Luang Prabang gets you onto the water where you get a new perspective. The cave has a few areas where all the horizontal surfaces (other than walkways) are covered with hundreds of varieties of Buddha images. Enjoy some fine views across the Mekong. Our guide said the upper cave area was dark and not worth the climb.

~ccvv

It is very important to understand that this review is about the two caves – nothing else. So, when it comes to that, this is a less inspiring place that you easily can skip. The first cave are somewhat better than the top one to which you have to scale about 150 steps before you arrive to a cave where you need to use a flashlight (possible to rent on site). Inside there are little to see. However! If I add to the experience (which many fellow reviewers do) the boat ride along Mekong to get here then the grade goes up because the boat ride is very interesting. But it is also possible to go here by tuk-tuk or car so depending on your choice of transportation this can be a disappointment or an acceptable experience. Poor toilet on site – go for the toilets in the restaurants on the other side of the river from the cave.

~dgjohan

Book a riverboat cruise to take you to the caves ... About 1.5 hours ... Steep climb ... Not advisable for older or weak climbers. Make sure you research why the caves and statues are there BEFORE you go there. Seeing River life very interesting this time of year with farming and fishing along the banks. Trip back takes half the time because of current.

~jeane

We rented a motorbike to get here and it took us about 1 hour. The road was a combination of good paved road and dusty off-road. We parked the motorbike by the river, rent a boat to cross the river, and paid another entrance fee of 20.000 kip. We spent about 45 minutes to get there. Maybe if we bring our own lunch, it'd be nicer as the restaurant was very small and provide basic food only (this is the food stall before crossing the river).

~sihombing

We stayed out on the Nam Ou River so to get to the caves we needed to take a private long boat with a local couple to see it. They were delightful--and this was the best part of our trip to Laos! The man drove the boat with us in the middle while his wife sat up the front to navigate us through the shallow waters as we past amazing cliffs and jungle. The weather was perfect and there was lots to take in.

The caves were interesting but nothing compared to the scenery along the river. We also made a stop at the whiskey and weaving village down stream from the caves which was a hoot! Buying some textiles from the lady who wove them on a loom under her house made it extra special.

We saw plenty of people coming and going from Luang Prabang on bigger boats however we were so pleased we happened upon this unique adventure.

~Glenda

The attraction seems overrated after visiting incredible caves with Buddha statues in Myanmar. The caves are tiny and crammed full of hundreds of dusty Buddha statues. Not hugely appealing but the view over the Mekong is magic.

~Sus

In these caves the people place their old Buddhas that are broken and worn. The caves are reached by boat. There is a lower cave that is easily accessible, but the upper cave, which you need to climb about 200 uneven steps, is well worth the visit. There is no light, so be sure to take a flashlight with you. It is well worth the climb. And the view is spectacular.

~Anne

The caves in themselves are not particularly interesting, but we saw them as part of a river trip up the Mekong when we stopped at a couple of villages along the way and then had lunch in a restaurant on the opposiite bank of the river. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip as a whole, because the atmosphere on the Mekong we found to be really lovely, and relaxing.

~Tabougris

My 17 yr old son and I were keen to do some challenging Kayaking and the option of doing that while seeing the Pak Ou caves, then down the Mekong and visiting the Lao Whiskey Village, was a good option for us. Hard kayaking in some sections, but great fun!

THE CAVES - They're not as big or exciting as you might expect. They are in a lovely spot on the river, the caves themselves are pretty small but nice, and yes there are hundreds of Buddhas. Beautiful ones through to... well... other ones. If you are there, do the upper cave too... Yes it's a bit of a walk, yes it's up a lot of steps... But you've come a long way already right? 

CAVE LOVERS TIP - Near the top of the Kuang-Si waterfall out of Luang Prabang there is a walk to a little known cave called Phawesi Cave... and for 10,000 kip at the entrance including torch it's a way more impressive cave, stretching back about maybe 75-100m into the mountain... Has an impressive snake carving guarding the entrance and a few nice Buddhas inside... 

THE WHISKEY VILLAGE - I'll do a separate review of that... Interesting...

THE KAYAKING - If your interested, you can check out my review of the kayaking by searching my review of 'White Elephant Tours' in Luang Prabang... They were great, and the Kayaking was quite challenging in parts...

SUMMARY - Enjoy the Pak Ou caves while doing something else as well like boating up or down the river, or kayaking, but in my view the caves themselves are probably not worth a standalone day trip...

~Cameron P

We visited the caves as we were on a boat from Pak Beng to Luang Prabang. It was interesting enough but I certainly wouldn't make a specific trip there just to see them. Perhaps if you go with low expectations, you won't be disappointed. The boat trip was more interesting that the caves themselves.

~TG

Look. If you are travelling downstream on a tour boat and you stop here, then go. If not and you go by yourself, don't as really just a collection of Buddhas, under some limestone caves, with little more than that. 

Best bit for me was the photo opportunity of silhouette Buddhas against a beautiful river vista - what say you - photo attached

~MS

I was expecting something bigger. Mostly I was expecting better from the cave itself but it's just a basic one. There's a lot of Buddhas everywhere and this is ok but it doesn't worth 20 000 kips. The upper cave is disappointing too. You can take a torch at the entrance and you think "hell yeah, adventure!" But you just go to a little room with Buddhas and you have already seen like 300 of them. You have to climb stairs during 10 minutes and that's not worthy.

The boat trip on the Mekong was nice, even with the imposed stop at Whiskey Village. We tried some alcohol and that was good but it stinks tourism at 1000 km away. I mean I'm ok with some touristic spot but this one has turned a little village into a "craving for touristic attention" spot.

~Marine

We made a long trip on motorbike from Luang Prabang city to Pak Ou village, the road is dusty, not covered , not easy to drive, not picturesque. 

When we arrived to the village (it is right opposite the cave), we were asked to pay 5000 Lak for parking + 13 000 Lak / person to cross the river on a small boat.

After 1 minute trip on board we paid 20 000 Lak /person as entrance fee.

After stepping to the cave we were asked for donation again and again.

The cave itself is small, with many old statues of Buddha. The cave consist of 2 levels, 15 minutes will be enough to see everything there. It is really nothing to see for this price, better do not waste your time and money and visit Kuang si waterfall or a cave in Vang Vieng, which is great

~MyThai

The Pak Ou Caves are nestled in a dramatic karst formation. There are actually 2 sets of caves. The lower one is crammed with Buddha statues of varying shapes and sizes and a long climb to an upper one that contains fewer but larger statues. The former is more interesting for the picture perfect scenes of hundreds if not thousands of little Buddha statues. The latter is less interesting just because it was too dark to see anything. The darkness does lend a certain amount of atmosphere though. One interesting thing about the upper cave is that it's a functioning shrine and people do come here to worship and pray.

The caves themselves aren't actually that appealing, I really came for 2 hour long boat trip from Luang Prabang to see more of the locals.

~Macedonboy

We had a great trip on the river boat to the cave. Be prepared for a long climb!!!!! ( While you are there it makes sense to see it all is my view!!) The lower larger cave has a large collection of Buddha statues and a lovely view from the cave entrance. There is a long climb to the upper cave but worth the climb...just take your time!! :-)

~Brian

The caves are kind of a hidden beauty, as you have to take a boat ride in the Mekong to get to them.

There are thousands of really old Buddha statues of all shapes and sizes crammed in the lower cave as well as the upper caves, the upper caves are really dark though, and you need a flashlight even during the day, to see what's in there.

I loved these mysterious caves, and said a little prayer too.

~Parul

You can see more Luang Prabang travel guide at here.