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A Kayaking Trip through Tham Khoon Xe, One of the Largest River Caves on Earth

(Photo: Ryan Deboodt Photography)

Tham Khoun Xe, a cave on the border of Laos and Vietnam, contains a 4-mile long river. Imagine the experience of paddling down its full length!

Ryan Deboodt, a nature photographer, doesn’t have to imagine. He lived that experience when he and his companions spent 2 days kayaking through the cave. He took many photos of the natural wonders of this enormous cave complex. In an interview with Smithsonian, Deboodt described the expedition:

Describe your journey to the cave.

It’s a pretty big journey. We started in Vietnam and crossed the boarder to Laos. Once we got to Laos, the road condition was quite poor. Dirt roads, and the bridges were damaged from floods from the previous years. It took a day of driving to get to the cave. When we got to the cave, we set up camp by the downstream entrance. From there, we spent two days kayaking inside the cave. We started at the downstream entrance and then went to the upstream entrance. Through the caves there are about seven to eight small waterfalls where we had to get out and carry our kayaks.

You can see more of Deboodt’s photos of the cave at Colossal.


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