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Thakhek, Laos, the capital of Khammuan Province, is located on the banks of the Mekong River – almost directly across from Nakhon Phanom, Thailand.

The Thakhek Loop is a 476km motorbike journey across beautiful Laos countryside. Every stretch reveals colossal karst mountains, lush green rice fields and deep dark caves. For travellers intrepid enough to venture to Laos, The Thakhek Loop is a perfect way to get even further off the beaten track.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Thakhek is from October through April. 

The wet season runs generally from around May to September (June to August are the wettest months). As many areas in Laos, the weather is characterized by a sharp downpour for a few hours a day, rather than all-day continuously downpours. The rains can interfere with your outside activities.

Check the below table for the general idea of Thakhek weather throughout the year.

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 28.8 21.9 15.7
Feb 31.8 24.9 19.1
Mar 33.8 27.4 22.1
Apr 35 29.1 24.1
May 33.8 28.7 24.8
Jun 32.6 28.2 25.1
Jul 31.3 27.4 24.6
Aug 31.4 27.4 24.6
Sep 31.8 27.4 24.3
Oct 32.1 26.9 22.6
Nov 31.7 25.6 20.3
Dec 29.5 22.9 17

Thakhek's current weather and 7-day forecast


The easiest way to get to Thakhek is via bus. 

Vang Vieng to Thakhek (potentially needing to transfer in Vientiane): 10 hours in total, expect a cost between roughly ₭125.000 (21AUD/14USD/13EUR) and ₭200.000 (33AUD/23USD/21EUR)

Vientiane to Thakhek: 5,5 hours of travel, prices between roughly ₭66.000 (11AUD/8USD/7EUR) and ₭130.000 (22AUD/15USD/13EUR)

Pakse to Thakhek: little over 5 hours of travel

We recommend you check the latest bus schedule and price via

The Thakhek Loop is famous for its karst mountains and caves. Taking off on this loop, you will be driving between 200 to 450km, depending on whether you choose the two or four-day loop. The two-day loop goes as far as Lake Thalang while the Kong Lor Cave is located past the paved roads. If it is your first time on a motorcycle, it is a good idea to stick to the paved roads. If the Kong Lor Cave is on your wishlist, you have to complete the full 450km loop.

Getting lost on the Thakhek Loop is hard as there is literally one road. Paying close attention to the map will guide you perfectly.

Day 1: Thakhek to Lake Thalang 

Day one will take you alongside the beautiful karst mountain lined roads on Route 12 to 23km long the lake of Thalang.

Here, you will see plenty of small eateries with fuel stations. There are also many caves to visit. On day one you can choose between (in order if you are driving from Thakhek to Thalang) Elephant Cave or Tham Xang, Tham Pha Fa or Buddha Cave, Xieng Liab and Tham Pha Nya Inh Cave.

Stop 1: Buddha Cave

Your first cave of the day is Buddha Cave. It is a small detour from the road, but it is well marked. If you are looking on Google, search for Tham Pa Fa. The cave is filled with up to 229 Buddha statues! Buddha Cave is one of the more popular caves in the area and therefore there is an entrance fee to be paid. Note that it is not allowed to take photos inside the cave.

Stop 2: Tham Pha Nya Inh Cave

The second cave on your list is the biggest cave on day one, Tham Pha Nya Inh Cave. The cave has staircase built inside the cave (so strange) and for an extra fee of KIP 20.000, you can take a boat through the cave. The usual entrance fee for the cave is another KIP 30.000. Walking in the cave you can sense the immediate change of temperature and we had a good time discovering all the nooks and crannies.

Stop 3: Tha Falang swimming hole

Enough caves for today, your next stop is Tha Falang, a pristine swimming hole. The road to the swimming hole is dusty and corrugated, but totally worth it. After spending a day on the road, a refreshing swim is just what the doctor ordered.

Stop 4: Lake Thalang

Congratulations, you’ve made it to your first stop along the Thakhek Loop, Lake Thalang. Lake Thalang has a super eerie vibe as it is covered with dead trees. It used to be dry land before it was flooded due to the closeby dam. A large part of the trees died off while other trees are making it work. A very strange landscape to see!

Day 2: Thalang to Na Hin 

Here, you have the option of heading back to Thakhek and staying on the (safe) paved roads. Make sure that you drive on a little bit further up anyway before heading back. The immediate area around Lake Thalang is as haunting as it is gorgeous! Or you can choose to continue to Na Hin. Either way, don’t forget to fuel up before you leave!
The route from Thalang to Na Hin:

52 km north of Thalang is when you’ll arrive in Lak Sao. Lak Sao has petrol, banks, restaurants, and a mechanic. When you arrive at the main intersection of Lak Sao you’ll continue west. Lak Sao to Nahin is the most scenic part of the drive.
But before you arrive in Nahin you’ll want to make a stop at Dragon Cave. Dragon Cave is only 36 km away from Nahin.
As you get closer to Nahin you’ll start seeing a bunch of good lookout points to pullover. One of them is not very far from Nahin and it overlooks the whole village. It’s a good place to return to for sunset or the sunrise the next morning.

Day 3: Nahin to Kong Lor Cave 

Nahin to Kong Lor is the shortest drive of the entire trip. But it’s also the drive with the worst section of road. But it doesn’t last very long.

As you head south from the Sanhak Guesthouse you’ll be driving along a fenced in building and lake. Once you get past that the road becomes dirt and you’ll probably have to maneuver past some cows. Then the road gets ridiculous with potholes. That should take about 15 minutes until you’re back on a paved road.

Then you’ll have to cross a bridge that doesn’t look like it’ll hold.

After the bridge it’s smooth driving the rest of the way to Kong Lor cave.

Kong Lor cave:

The Kong Lor Cave is so famous due to its size. Visitors describe it as going inside a mountain, others as a real-life ‘Space Mountain‘. Most visitors come here for the 7km long boat tour you can take inside the cave.

It’s no secret that the cave will be your most expensive attraction along the Thakhek Loop. Expect to pay to park your motorcycle, to enter the cave and for the boat tour. For LAK 65.000 (11AUD/7USD/8EUR) you can enter the cave and take part in one of the boat tours.

Day 4: Kong Lor cave to Thakhek 

Most people will be keen to head back to Thakhek after several days on the motorcycle. After all, most of this journey will be spent on busy Highway 13.

If you do desire a quick stop over and a dip in another swimming hole, mark Khun Kong Leng Lake on your map. It looks idyllic on some photos and a lot less on other photos, but it looks worth having a look for yourself.

Day 1 Accommodation in Thalang

You have two options to stay on the Thakhek loop during your first evening:

Phosy Thalang Guesthouse

The nightly rate is around 77.000KIP (13AUD/9USD/8EUR) for 2 adults in a double bed, Fill in your dates to get a more exact price. It got pretty cold at night, so make sure to pack some extra clothes!

Sabaidee Guesthouse

A little bit further down the road of Phosy Thalang, Sabaidee Guesthouse offers a more lively atmosphere, perfect if you want to meet fellow backpackers. The coolest thing about this place is that they offer an outdoor BBQ (50.000 KIP) which many travelers call a must, even if you are not overnighting here.

Day 2 Accommodation in Nahin

You have two excellently rated guesthouses:

Sanhak Guest House

With dorm options and private rooms, Sanhak Guest House is a steal. A single bed in the dorm will only cost you around LAK42.000 (7AUD/5USD/4EUR). Fill in your dates for an exact price.

Phamarnview Guesthouse

More expensive than the previous option, but also very well rated.

Day 3 Accommodation in Kong Lor

Thongdam Guesthouse

Ask for a bungalow and enjoy the view. Expect to pay LAK77.500 (13AUD/9USD/8EUR), but fill in your dates for an exact price.

SpringRiver Resort

SpringRiver resort is based next to the river and only offers bungalows. The river view bungalows are very expensive online. If you want to be sure, you can book a garden view bungalow for LAK131.300 (22AUD/15USD/13.5EUR). Prices will vary depending on when you’re booking.

Kong Klor Cave Guesthouse

According to, this is the best place to stay during your visit to Kong Lor Cave. It’s very close to the location and the price is super affordable at LAK60.000 (10AUD/7USD/6EUR).

Motorbike hire in Thakhek will cost around 120,000 – 160,000 KIP per day, which is around $12-$15 USD per day. Most people do the loop on a Honda Wave 125cc, but you can get up to 250cc if you’re an experienced rider and you want something more powerful. Some recommended places to hire a motorbike in Thakhek are:

Mad Monkey Motorbike Rental 

This German-Lao owned motorbike rental shop is the most popular place for backpackers to pick up their wheels for the Thakhek Loop. They claim to have the top quality bikes (no fake brands). In addition, they promise that if you break down anywhere along the loop they will drive out and pick up your bike and bring you another one – totally free! Not a bad service. They are located in the centre of town opposite the fountain plaza.

Mixay Motorbike Rental 

A good alternative to Mad Monkey (sometimes Mad Monkey is completely sold out of bikes!) that has good quality new motorbikes. Trustworthy English speaking owner that will give you a good deal on a bike for the four-day loop.

Mr Ku 

Conveniently located right next door to the Thakhek Travel Lodge (a little out of town), Mr Ku has been offering his rental bikes for over 10 years.

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We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision. Check below our recommended plans regarding the theme you prefer or what you can do based on the time frame you have

Family Vacation
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The combination of fun and educational activities

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Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

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Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

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Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

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Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

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Taking a cruise on the fascinating Mekong River offers a unique and memorable travel experience. The Mekong River, one of the longest rivers in Asia, flows through several countries, including China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Each destination along the river offers its own distinct cultural, historical, and natural attractions. In this article, we will go over what you can expect when cruising the Mekong River. 


Despite being open to tourism for the past two decades, Laos remains a destination brimming with hidden treasures and unexplored gems, awaiting the arrival of curious adventurers.

Among these remarkable places is the Xe Champhone Loop, an enchanting location that captures the essence of Laos.

In early September 2022, we had the privilege of embarking on an Educational Tour organized by the esteemed Tetraktys Organization. Our objective was to delve into the wonders of this loop and promote its allure to international tourists.

During our expedition, we were awe-struck by the captivating sights and valuable insights we gained. The area boasts an abundance of captivating natural landscapes, rich traditional culture, and warm-hearted hosts.

We have compiled comprehensive information about this captivating region below.

Stay connected to discover more about this hidden gem!


The romance of train travel is alive and well in Laos. The recently-completed high-speed railway that stretches from Vientiane, through Laos, and into southern China is operating ‘full steam’ ahead. 


Luang Prabang will celebrate the boat racing festival (Boun Souang Heua) in Namkhan River during Buddhist Lent Period, on August 26th, 2022.

A notice issued by Luang Prabang provincial office says that Luang Prabang will arrange Boun Hor Khaopadapdin, an annual festival held to feed spirits with home-made parcels of food, and the boat racing activities along Namkhan River. 

The province intends to promote the traditional festival and practices in hopes of attracting more domestic and foreign tourists, generating revenue for locals.

Traditional racing boats are made of a single tree and can accommodate up to fifty rowers.

The boats are considered sacred, are cleaned, and are given offerings which are believed to bring victory to the team.

In the downtown heart of Luang Prabang, there will also be gatherings and markets.

The festival will be held on August 26th, 2022, the same day with Boun Khao Padapdine.

Covid-19 put a stop to traditional customs and festivals for almost three years, but now that the measurements have been relaxed, tourist destinations in Laos expect to recommence festivities and offer hope for travelers.


How long to spend in Laos may seem like a ridiculous question to address, but if you have plenty of time and aren’t sure how much to dedicate, this blog will definitely help you out. 

How long can you stay in Laos? 

Well, as long as you like! From 7 days to a month, there are various ways you can travel across Laos and uncover its secrets. Advising an ideal trip length for Laos is a bit of a complex challenge, as it depends on several factors such as the places you wish to visit, the activities you plan to join, or if you want to combine Laos with its neighbor countries. 

Stay tuned! We are going to sort all these things out including the step-by-step guide to create the best itinerary in Laos.


The Rocket Festival (Boun Bang Fai) is a merit-making ceremony traditionally practiced by ethnic Lao people near the beginning of the wet season in numerous villages and municipalities, in the regions of Northeastern Thailand and Laos. Celebrations typically include preliminary music and dance performances, competitive processions of floats, dancers and musicians on the second day, and culminating on the third day in competitive firings of home-made rockets. Local participants and sponsors use the occasion to enhance their social prestige, as is customary in traditional Buddhist folk festivals throughout Southeast Asia.

The festival in Thailand also includes special programs and specific local patterns like Bung Fai (Parade dance) and a Beautiful Bung Fai float such as Yasothon the third weekend of May, and continues Suwannaphum District, Roi Et on the first weekend of June, Phanom Phrai District Roi Et during the full moon of the seventh month in Lunar year's calendar each year. The Bung Fai festival is not only found in Isan or Northeasthern Thailand and North Thailand and Laos, but also in Amphoe Sukhirin, Narathiwat.

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Friendly and food-obsessed, hedonistic and historic, cultured and curious, Thailand tempts visitors with a smile as golden as the country's glittering temples and tropical beaches.
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