Biking through the rice paddies surrounded by karst limestone formations is another way to enjoy the beauty of the Nam Song River valley outside of Vang Vieng. A series of blue lagoons and caves offer opportunities to cool off on a hot day.
We booked this second trip with Green Discovery after our kayaking trip the day before. The guide, Ting, met us at our hotel and walked us across the street where we got our mountain bikes. These were not the best quality bikes. My brakes were iffy and Don’s gears didn’t work quite right, but they were serviceable for the day.
From town we rode across the Namsong Bridge and did a roughly 26k loop through the rice paddies and limestone cliff mountains.
The road passes through a number of towns, none of which were particularly interesting or picturesque, some chickens running around, cows on the road, a couple of turkeys and a large pig.
The area is now also frequented by buggy cars which are highly popular with the Koreans, especially in the rainy, i.e., muddy season. We worried that they might make a lot of dust on the road but we didn’t encounter many vehicles.
We chose to do the loop along the rough road first, reaching the Blue Lagoon near the end of the ride, and then have the easier paved road for our return to town. This turned out to be wise because the road does become quite rough just before the Blue Lagoon.
It took us nearly 3 hours to reach the lagoon but that was most of the cycling for the day. We stopped for photos but no other real attractions. The second half of the loop is more rural and scenic but this is also the rougher part of the road.
The temperature was warm but not uncomfortable. The road was more or less flat with some up and down but no big hills.
When we arrived at the Blue Lagoon around 12:30 it was relatively quiet. More people showed up while we were eating lunch and it was very busy when we left around 3PM after our visit to the cave.
The clear blue swimming hole is deep enough that you can jump from a platform in a tree about 15 to 20 feet above the water. Enough to get my heart pumping when I looked down, but not dangerous if you jump right.
For lunch Ting made us the same lunch we had yesterday, meat and veggie skewers served with a roll and fried rice.
Phu Kham Cave
After lunch we climbed up to the lagoon cave, about 10 minutes up a steep stone staircase with big steps. I don’t know how the little Chinese ladies coming down managed such big steps.
The large main area of the cave is lit well enough that you don’t need a torch. However, a torch is needed for the dark route behind the Buddha.
Winding around, climbing up and down the slick stones Ting took us to a back room with impressive formations.
While the biking part of the trip would be easy to do on your own I was glad to have a guide for the caving as the path to the back chamber is not always clearly marked.
After the cave it’s an easy bike ride back to town.
November 2, 2018
For links to all the posts in this series see the Laos/Cambodia page.