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Laos: Tour du Jour

Exploring the lost cave city of Laos.

(Map by Newhouse Design)

For nine years during the Vietnam War, approximately 23,000 Laotians hid from American forces in the Viengxay caves, creating an elaborate city—complete with a hospital and a theater—in the 486 limestone caverns and 155 miles of tunnels. Seven of the caves have been opened to the public. English-speaking guides lead three-hour walking or biking tours, during which you'll see the dwellings of former Communist leaders, still stocked with uniforms and emergency oxygen pumps. Lao Air (lao-air.com) runs twice-weekly 80-minute flights to Xam Nua, in the Houaphanh province, from Vientiane. 011-856/64-314-321, from $3.

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