Tham Lod Cave have three different stops where we exited the rafts to climb up into the cave chambers via rickety wooden staircases and explore the wealth of stalactites and stalagmites inside. Also filling the caves were thousands of bats and swifts a type of small bird and teakwood coffins thought to have been carved by the Lawa tribespeople over 1,400 years ago.
Tham Lod Cave is an archaeological site of great antiquity, being occupied in the pre-historic era from 9000BC to 5500BC by the Hoabinhian hunting tribe. They were a Stone Age community of hunters and gatherers who used artefacts and tools of primitive workmanship such as short axes, hammerstones, tools made out of bones etc. the caves were first excavated in the 1960s by Chester Gorman, an American anthropologist and archaeologist, who detailed food items and implements used by the ancient Hoabinhians. According to Gorman, the Hoabinhians learnt the domestication of plants, as exemplified by the presence of leguminous plants at the site; a number of other fruits and vegetables, such as almonds, betel, pepper, bottle gourd etc were also used as food, condiments and stimulants, and for lighting purposes.
The highlight though was getting on small bamboo raft inside the Tham Lod cave and gliding slowly over the water through the cave with only the light from the lamp guiding the way, and with the sound of hundreds of bats above. Eventually you slowly emerge through a stunning cave opening out into the jungle.