Blind fish or the deadly albino Lao cave snake?

Just kidding…there is no such thing as the highly venomous Laos cave snake. I think.

I could have found out today though. I met Mo and after some yummy Pad Thai (I know, wrong country) we hired a couple mountain bikes and went exploring. I saw beautiful parts of Vang Vieng outside the Khao-San style backpacker slum that we all know. We ended up crossing a bridge, paying a toll, and going to Chiang cave.

It was in a very quiet and secluded place that had baby cows walking around everywhere in the park area. First, we climbed too many stairs and went inside the dry part of the cave. We were the only ones there which was nice and went off the beaten path into the closed part of the cave for a little adrenaline boost. Once satisfied that we had broken enough rules, we went outside to the water entrance of the cave. Once again we were the only ones and with mag light in hand, I shed my shirt and we swam into the cave. This was much different than the sea cave I swam into in Ko Lanta, where we had a big group and guide. This was wild caving. There were no lights or little warning signs, just us, crystal clear ice cold water, and the occassional curious blind fish with feelers on its head. We went quite a ways in, swimming and avoiding the sharp rocks. My mag-light performed wonderful, even completely underwater where it was most of the time. We went until we ran into a side passage that I went down to explore on my own. It was ankle deep then out of the blue dropped to very very deep in front of me. The ceiling got so low that I actually tried holding my breath and swimming under the rocks with my light to see if it opened on the other side. No luck, so we had finally run out of cave without proper gear. Various sized albino pink-eyed cave freaks would swim up from the deepest part to bump into my legs and give me a little scare. I decided to call it quits before something more strange swam up out of the hole.

Still, this was the first wild cave that I have ever explored completely in the water and it was quite a thrill to say the least. Even the biking was spectacular. The road is all rocks, mud, and obstacles so just the ride there was fun and we gave our bikes a little workout anyways. Tomorrow there are at least half a dozen more caves on my map, plus a hidden lagoon, plus a scramble into the mountains that a German guy mentioned. This is turning into quite an adventure town for me and I love it! Luang Probang and French culture might just have to wait an extra day or two.

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