The breathtaking limestone mountains that frame the Lao city of Vang Vieng are rugged by underground cave systems. Some of the caves are well developed with electric light and masonry steps; others must be explored by the light of the headlamp. Some caves are unbelievably large and are adorned with stalagmites and stalactites; some are so small that a human can barely squeeze through the tiny openings. Some are filled with water and can be explored by tube or kayak, others have served as temple sites for Buddhist believers for centuries.
Although not the most impressive cave, Tham Chang is very popular. The sprawling cave is well lit and located southwest of Vang Vieng in the Pha Lao mountain. A wooden bridge leads to a staircase that leads steeply up to the cave entrance. Due to the elevated position, you have an excellent view of Vang Vieng and the rice paddies. At the foot of the cave, there is a natural ‘swimming pool,’ which is often used by local children for swimming. In the early 19th century in the Ho Wars, which took place between 1865 and 1890 in Tonkin, northern Laos and northern Thailand, the cave was used as a bunker or hiding place.