Memos from Asia

A Hidden Village Protected by Caves and Mountains in Laos

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In the remote mountainous area of Laos, there is a secret village hidden in the embrace of the deep valley. The community can only be entered by walking through a long river cave. Hence, it is called the “hidden village,” which is difficult to access.

The hidden village history

The village name is “Alanradjana” or “Ban Ka tueb hua na.” This represents a place deep in the woods.

It is located in Khammouane Province, which is the center of Laos. It was the ancient city of Alanradjana, which has a recorded history of over 100 years. Now a few archaeological sites remain in the village.

The entrance cave also has traces from the pre-historic human and the ancient war of Thai-Laos. The tale told that Laos’s army w limestone ent through the cave after their battle with Thais, while the Thai side misunderstood that the cave was no other way out, and waste time to close the cave entrance. This gave the Laos side enough time to escape and gain safety.

entrance to the village of Alan Radna Na, Khammouane, Laos.

Geographic of Alanradjana village

Nam Thiang Cave, Khammouane District, Laos.

The cave is called “Tham Nam Tieng.” It is a large river cave bases on limestone hills that all surround these areas. Villagers and visitors must walk through the river in the dark cave both when entering and exiting the village, which sometimes could be deep and narrow.

The path inside the cave is very steep, so people walking inside must be careful at every step.

There are sandbags put along the hard walk to navigate people in the rainy season. Because the walkway is very dangerous, the villagers make many handrails and temporary wooden bridge to make their travel more comfortable.

The life in the secret village

The community where the people live appears after the cave. The area is a vast plain surrounded by high steep limestone mountains on each side.

This landform makes the village a place where outsiders can only access it from the cave.

Alanradjana is a tiny village. People still live on agriculture for a living. Because it is very difficult to contact other communities, the people of this village rely on native food for their livelihood.

There are a lot of natural vegetables and bamboo shoots that are enough for stocking up all year. They also own small stock cattle.

There is no electricity, water supply, and the internet. Life here is back in ancient times. There was once a high school, but it was closed. Many children must depart to the central city to study there.

Some villagers have migrated to Thailand for work. They would rarely come back home because of the hard access. Today, only 70 children and adults remain in this hidden community.

There is a strong belief that those who live here must be honest with the locals and make only good merits. If they do not, then they would be punished, either from spiritually or karmically.

Travel to the hidden community

BANGKOK, THAILAND – JANUARY 2, 2018: The sunset time of Third Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge, over the Mekong is a bridge that connects Nakhon Phanom Province in Thailand

For foreigners, it is easy to start a journey to this hidden village from the Thai border in Nakhon Phanom province, across the Mekong by The Third Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge to enter the city of Thakhek.

After you have submitted your travel documents, you can book a pick-up car driving to Ban Na Krok. Then you will start walking the trek on foot to the cave “Tham Nam Tieng,” the entrance to the hidden village Ban Ka tueb hua na.

It is recommended that all visitors should come back from the village through the cave before the sunset because it is dangerous to walk back at night.

As long as hidden by natural fortress

Although more and more people from around the world have come to know the village with increasing numbers of visitors from around the world, the geography of the village will continue to preserve the traditional life of the people here.

Therefore, the very calm atmosphere you feel when you enter the village, like you are in another world, will be preserved in the future.

Alanradjana will continue to be a hidden place for travelers to reflect on.

Aerial view Limestone mountains in Khammouane Laos. The beautiful landscape lay lighting of landmark of Asia.

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