Tham Xienglieb Cave
The Tham Xienglieb is located 14 km northeast of Thakhaek on Route 12, near the village of Ban Songkhone. From the bridge over the Houay Xienglieb Creek you can either walk or ride a boat to the cave. There are several kiosks on the road : a dirt track on the right hand side leads to the cave (approximately 400m).
ieng means “former novice” and Lieb means “sneaking around”. Thus, this cave is named after a former novice who was sneaking around, in love with the daughter of a mountain hermit, looking for an opportunity to catch a glimpse or her in the cave. The entrance to this spectacular cave lies beneath a 300m cliff but has now been partially blocked by a large rock fall. Flowing through the cave is the Houay Xienglieb Creek, which can be navigated by boat during the rainy season. During the dry season you can walk through the cave (with care) to explore the scenic valley beyond. Swimming is possible at the far side of the cave.
The cave is approximately 200 m long with impressive limestone formations on the cave ceiling, and it is said that this cave also contains many historical drawings. Because there is enough natural light penetrating the cave you do not need a flashlight to find your way around, but do be prepared to get your feet wet. Residents of this cave include Paa Faa (soft-shelled turtle), as well as many bats. The cliffs around the cave protect the rare Francois Langur and the recently discovered Kha Nyou (Laotian rock rat). Villagers traditionally use the cave to escape the heat but request that people do not sleep inside.