Tham Pa Seuam (Pa Seuam Cave) is a beau­ti­ful 3‑kilometer long riv­er cave which can be ful­ly appre­ci­at­ed by rent­ing kayaks as part of a 3‑hour tour inside, or swim­ming through the cave. Oth­er­wise, you can walk to the entrance of the cave but can­not go very far inside (free) with­out swim­ming. Even the entrance is worth check­ing out if you have time, and the l near­by Nong Thao Lake is beau­ti­ful. I didn’t see any­one else on the 800m walk to the cave.

 Tham Pa Seuam — Pa Seuam Cave

Nong Thao Lake, Paseum Cave

Nong Thao Lake near Pa Seuam Cave

Alone, walk­ing through the for­est on a small path. Lime­stone karst peaks are every­where, cov­ered in lush, vibrant­ly green jun­gle. Through the jun­gle a lake appears, beau­ti­ful and shim­mer­ing in the after­noon light, backed by dark lime­stone peaks. A raised wood­en plat­form leads out to a view­ing area. Sounds of cicadas in the trees. A few min­utes lat­er I’m stand­ing in front of a hole in the karst. It does­n’t look like much, that is not until I’m stand­ing inside the cave. Spec­tac­u­lar sta­lac­tites and flut­ed flow stone cov­er the ceil­ing. In the clear water of the cave, fish­es eyes catch the light, sparkling like under­wa­ter fairies. This is as far as I go with­out a kayak, but it’s well worth the trip out here. A beau­ti­ful, peace­ful place to spend the last hours of the day.

Tham Pa Seuam Cave

Tham Pa Seuam Cave

If you are dri­ving on the Thakhek Loop check out the com­plete guide here with lots more infor­ma­tion on the caves and swim­ming holes.

Thakhek Loop – The Com­plete Guide

Get there:


Head­ing East from Thakhek on Route 12, around 4 kilo­me­ters turn left down a dirt road when you see the sign for “Bud­dha Cave and Pa Seuam Cave”. It’s 6 km on a dirt road. Dur­ing the rainy sea­son, the road has been known to get rough but was quite well grad­ed in the dry sea­son. After about 4 km take anoth­er left at the sign for the cave. It’s one of the first pos­si­ble stops on the Thakhek Loop.


Park in the park­ing lot (3,000 kip) next to a bunch of stalls. From here you can also access the Bud­dha Cave near­by. At the back of the stalls, there’s a sign “Pase­um Cave 800m”. Fol­low the path through the jun­gle. When the path forks just keep to the left. You’ll arrive at a nar­row wood­en bridge. Cross the bridge and fol­low the path along the base of a karst moun­tain. Soon you’ll see Nong Thao Lake (actu­al­ly “Nong” means “Lake” but this is how it’s writ­ten in many places). Keep going along the path and you see the open­ing for the cave. There are some wood­en platforms/tables right in front of it.

Kayaking or Swimming Tham Pa Seuam

Kayak­ing or swim­ming part or all of the 3 km through the cave would def­i­nite­ly be a high­light, prob­a­bly of this entire area. A sign near the park­ing area says it costs 100,000 kip for a kayak rental (with a flash­light, water­proof bag etc.) for 3 hours. I’d guess this also comes with a guide. In Thakhek at the tourist infor­ma­tion cen­ter or through Green Dis­cov­ery tour oper­a­tors, you will be quot­ed from 350,000 to 550,000 kip (per per­son) depend­ing on the num­ber of peo­ple for a full day tour of Bud­dha Cave and Tham Pa Seuam. But you can eas­i­ly vis­it these sites on your own with a motor­cy­cle, though arrive ear­li­er in the day if you want to kayak through Tham Pa Seuam so you can arrange to rent a kayak. If you want to swim I’d rec­om­mend hav­ing a water­proof flash­light, hel­met, life­jack­et, and dry­bags which you might be able to rent.
Entrance to Tham Pa Seuam Cave

Entrance to Tham Pa Seuam Cave

Tham Pa Seuam Cave

Tham Pa Seuam Cave

Nong Thao Lake, Tham Pa Seuam

Nong Thao Lake, Tham Pa Seuam

Map of Tham Pa Seuam Cave

Map of Tham Pa Seuam Cave

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