One of the best parts about traveling is the possibility for unexpected surprises, and Lod Cave was definitely one of those. While I was in Pai, Thailand, I signed up for a full-day tour of local attractions through the hostel I was staying at. I’ll be honest- I will usually never recommend day tours or anything that involves my natural enemy, the Thai mini bus. But this particular tour was worth the entire day of carsickness.
What~ Of all the stops we made that day, Lod Cave was the shining gem. Lod Cave is a massive natural cave formation; it was once home to a prehistoric tribe, and is still a major archaeological site. When we arrived, our group was assigned to our tour guides (one guide for every two people), who were equipped with lanterns. They accompanied us through the cave, sharing the stories as best they could with limited English.
Where~ The cave is located about an hour north of Pai by car; it’s very isolated, and way up in the mountains near the border with Myanmar. You can get there by scooter (if you’re determined) but sadly the bus tour is the easiest way to get there since its so far, and the roads are so steep and winding.
Why Do It~ This was the most incredible cave I have ever seen. It is massive, and the stalactites and stalagmites throughout are stunning. Our guide cracked me up, constantly pointing out formations that looked like “boobs” (she would point at the rock, grab her own boob, then laugh). She also stopped to show us what looked like a pile of canoes, which were actually ancient coffins.
After climbing up and down through the cave system, we even got to ride around on a thin wooden raft, cruising along the shallow river that runs through the cave. There were thousands of large, dark-colored fish swimming right near the surface, close enough to reach in and touch.
It was eerie, it was awe-inspiring, and it made me feel like an old-school adventurer for a day. If you’re ever in Pai, make sure to make this one of your stops!