Situated 12 km from Wiang Phuka town, Kao Rao cave was officially opened for tourism, 1 January. Officials believe it can attract international travellers interested in nature trails, mainly Europeans who stay in the country for two weeks or more.
The cave pioneer, Sriwang Kaewmanee, told TTR Weekly that he found the cave in 2001 and asked the Lao’s government to support efforts to introduce it to tourists.
“I spent considerable cash from my own pocket, but the Lao government supported my efforts with US$100,000 to put in infrastructure and electricity.”
Mr Sriwang said around 1,500 international visitors visited the cave since it opened, mainly Germans, Thais and Chinese.
“The cave earns revenue for the district and helps the local economy,” he added.
The income from an entrance fees is shared; 20% for Nam Hang villagers as the cave is located in their district; 30% for Wiang Phuka tourism office; and 50% for the Lao government.
A highlight of the cave is a huge stalactite shaped like a bathtub, which villagers believe was once a place where the legendary serpent, Naga, rested and bathed.
The Kao Rao Cave opens daily and Mr Sriwang and his team (four people) are on stand-by to welcome visitors daily.
The admission fee for Thais and international visitors is Bt40 or 10,000 kip.
Visitors are given flashlights to explore the cave. For safety reasons visitors need to wear strong canvas shoes and clothing suitable for trekking.
The cave does not have roped off paths so visitors have to be cautious and follow the instructions of the guides.
Source: TTR Weekly