Wikitravel (May 2009) says from Vientiane the bus leaves from Southern Bus Terminal which is located outside of town. Requires a 50,000kip tuk tuk or bus from Talat Soa (market) bus st. to get to. Vientiane - Na Hin by aircon bus direct - 6 hours. I don't know the departure times. I think there is only 1 bus daily? Overnighting in Na Hin it seems is a prerequisite. Na Hin-Konglor Cave: songthaew departs from 10am(when full),50,000kip return.(ref Nov 2009 blog). Na Hin-Tha Khaek by bus deps. hrly 8-11am (about 45,000kip). Overall, I believe the minimum no. of nights is 2, both in Na Hin (for transport connections). Comments/advice?
Any recent advice appreciated (planning August)
Sounds about right. You can get the tuk-tuk to the southern bus station from anywhere in Vientiane, not just Thalat Sao specifically. There are other accommodation options closer to khong lo cave such as the Sala Hinboun. 2 nights in the area would be a minimum - you could spend longer if you wanted to explore the area.
An alternative would be to go on a guided tour with the Khammouane Eco Guides. However you would need to start this from Thakek so you would have to double back on yourself a little (about an hour). They offer a good 3 day trekking trip which includes the cave.
laos_info, thanks for your reply. Sounds like all the results from my research basically still apply. Moto/tuk tuk to Sthern Bus Terminal - check. I have retained accom. options in Kong Lor just in case. I have read the Sala Hin Boun GH is owned by the same people who run the Seng Chan GH in Na Hin. My only interest in the area is to see the cave (due to all the positive comments I've read) so I'm prepared to travel down from Vientiane and then re-enter Thailand at Tha Khaek and head back up to Nong Khai. I'm in my fifties now and my trekking days are behind me. I believe the only available transport between Na Hin/Kong Lor/Na Hin is by songthaew and they only depart in the mornings. So coming from Vientiane the option is min. 2 nights in Na Hin or min. 3 nights if staying in Kong Lor hence the Na Hin option. In Na Hin I might treat myself by staying at the Sainamhai Resort(4kms out of town) subject to guaranteed transport to and from. Thanks again.