Inside Vietnam: Cambodia Laos
Viengxay Caves of the Pathet Lao

Viengxay Caves of the Pathet Lao

Explore the network of caves used by the Pathet Lao to shelter from American bombing campaigns during the Vietnam War.

The Viengxay Caves in Houaphanh Province of North-Eastern Laos are an extensive network of caverns riddling the region's limestone mountains. 480 of these caves were used by the Pathet Lao to shelter from American bombardment during the Vietnam War.

Although the Vietnam War played out chiefly between the USA and Vietnam, both Laos and Cambodia suffered extensive bombing during the conflict. In fact, it's thought that America dropped more explosives on Laos between 1964 and 1973 than it did in the entirety of World War II. Locals say that farmers had to farm at night to avoid the raids. To protect themselves from this campaign, 23,000 people in the Viengxay (also Vieng Xai) region retreated to these caves, which they equipped with a hospital, a school, Pathet Lao offices, bakeries, shops, and even a theatre.

The area was home to the Lao communist organisation, the Pathet Lao, who were closely aligned with Vietnam's Viet Minh and Viet Cong and who were engaged in fighting royalist forces based in Vientiane. Viengxay served as a convenient base (and holding facility for captured US servicemen) because it was close to the Vietnamese border, offering logistical and political support for their allies in Vietnam.

When to go:

Viengxay Caves of the Pathet Lao

located in Sam Neua

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Interested in this Experience? It is included in this tour:

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    Eco lodges, night safaris, hidden cities and ancient mysteries  this is the ultimate adventurous traveller's introduction to Laos.

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