These caves in the rocky walls of the sandstone mountains
at the confluence of the Ou river and the Mekong, some 25
kilometres upriver from Luang Prabang, are the most important
attraction out of town.
The caves are inhabited by thousands of Buddha statues,
some allegedly more than 300 years old. Monks used to live
in the caves, too. When Laos was still a monarchy, the caves
were visited every year by the king. A small royal Wat is
near the caves.
The citizens of Luang Prabang believe that many goodnatured
spirits have their homes in the caves. Thus they undertake
short pilgrimages there on special occasions, especially
traditional New Year's Day. The best way to visit the caves
is by boat tour. The nature along the Mekong is absolutely
beautiful, and a boat tour to Pak Ou is likely to be the
most commemorable excursion from Luang Prabang.