Tham Nang Aen Cave
One of the first stops along the Thakhek Loop should be Tham Nang Aen Cave. Just 18km from Thakhek, Tham Nang Aen Cave offers some huge chambers, backlit with dramatic lighting that shows them off at their best. Find it easily here.
Upon arrival, there are a couple of options for exploring the cave, and it is worth doing both of these! Heading up the stairs at the entranceway next to a small waterfall, you can explore the cave on foot with a path leading up towards the higher reaches of the first couple of chambers. The view from here is great, and you can see the small river below that runs through the cave system.
The second option, which is a must, is to take a boat trip through the network of caves. Lasting for about an hour, a local guide will gently paddle you through the waters, opening up access to several additional chambers. There are few other boats on the water at the same time, and the quietness is very calming. Towards the far end of the boat trip, you can get out and take a short 10 minute walk to explore a more distant chamber. All is well-lit, and the pathways relatively safe and easy to traverse.
Outside of the cave in the surrounding grounds, there is a small coffee shop, minimart and restaurant serving lunch options.
Click on the photos of Tham Nang Aen Cave below to enlarge.
If you are looking for some more stops along the Thakhek Loop, then try some of these: