Fancy a boat ride on the Mekong? And then a shot of a drink that is going to jolt your senses?
Why not do a half-day trip to Pak Ou Cave. The tour is combined with a visit to Whiskey Village. The tour itself is roughly around four hours, with the ride to the caves taking about two hours.
Once you arrive, walk up the stairs and you will come to the first cave called Tham Ting. Just be careful as it is dimly lit. Make your way higher and you come to the second cave called Tham Theung, which is larger and darker. Both these caves are full of Buddha statues, about 4,000 of them.
If the caves are not what you expected, or the least bit bothered about, then now is an excellent time to sit at one of the restaurants, order a Beerlao, and gaze at the mighty Mekong joins the Nam Ou River.
From here, you are whisked away to a small village, about an hour away. It is not really a village, but more like a few stalls that have been set up to resemble one.
Point to note. This section of the tour may not be for everyone. Some of you might not enjoy the taste, while others may find the sight of snakes and scorpions fermenting in the alcohol a little, well, hard to digest.
This local whiskey is made from sticky rice, which through different processes of filtration, is steamed, boiled and then cooled. What finally comes out is a liquor that can pack a punch. It can be pungent and harsh, especially the ones with the snakes and scorpions. Nevertheless, it’s still something you should try, if you are game.
However, there’s more than just the stalls selling whiskey in various sized bottles and ingredients. There’s also silk, cotton scarves, dresses and other fabrics being sold here. Walk around and you may be lucky to see it being weaved on the looms. They aren’t expensive, especially when you convert it into your currency, and my suggestion is that you pick up a scarf or two, either for yourself or to take back as a gift.
A word of advice. Should you wish to carry any of the alcohol with you out of the country, be careful. While customs are obviously going to have an issue with snakes and scorpions in liquor, some of the smaller bottles that are oval can be a bit tricky, especially when viewed through the airport scanner. I was called out when checking in my baggage at Hanoi airport as it looked like a grenade on their screen.
Depending on who you book your tour with, prices start from LAK 100,000 per person. I advise that you ask around before you confirm.