As reported on, a forty year old Australian man was lost for 11 days in Khammuan province after trying to walk to the Tadsanam Falls. The Australian Embassy and Red Cross organised a helicopter search party to find the man. A local village had been unsuccessful in helping to try and locate the man. The man was found at another nearby waterfall. It took villagers four hours to carry the man on a stretcher through the jungle.

It sounds like the Australian Embassy have done some great working in locating and helping this man. The local villagers should also be commended for their generous assistance.

The story reminds me of something a guide told me when I visited the caves in Vang Vieng. He told me that a Western tourists went into one of the caves alone and never came out. The local villagers with the help of some foreigners searched the caves for several days looking and calling out for him. Sadly they found him dead and stuck in a crevice.

General advice for visiting the caves in Vang Vieng:

The caves are quite safe to visit if you go with a local guide. You can get to the caves by bicycle or tuk tuk. Maps are are available from shops and guest houses around town. Local guides wait outside the paths to the caves for tourists they can take inside. The prices they charge are very fair. You don’t need to book a tour in town if you want to check out the caves, you can definitely go visit them by yourself. The torches you’re given are quite primitive but they’re water proof. You can buy your own head torch from a shop in town if you take your caving seriously. Some caves are quite wet, I actually went swimming inside one, so make sure you bring suitable footwear for this. Visiting the caves in Vang Vieng was one of the best experiences I had in Laos.

Here are some decent blog posts by tourists visiting Vang Vieng’s caves:

Chilling by the river

Caving in Vang Vieng