You will need a guide to take you to these caves. The caves are 5 kms long and are absolutely amazing inside with wonderful rock formations. There is a village, Ban Nam Eng, a Khamu village where you can find a local to show you around
You can spend an hour or two just wandering around the back streets where you will meet many people who are anxious to get to know you. Most people live in wooden houses and if you reach the outskirts of town just follow the paths to through the surrounding countryside.
The market here is busy early morning and late afternoon as locals purchase their food for their meals. You will come across small roasted birds and other forest animals. The market is on a street to the right just after the local hospital as you enter town from the north.
The minibus will usually drop tourists off at Le Peteit Cafe, which is by the main road in the middle of town. Good meals are provided here as well as baguette sandwiches. There are four small tables making it rather cosy and easy to meet people because just about every tourist in town ends up here, as the other choices are limited. The owner is helpful, he runs the trekking agency next door, but once he finds out that you are not interested in trekking he does not seem to be so interesting to talk to you.
After waiting three hours for transport south by the side of the road in Vieng Phoukha a bus eventually stopped and picked us up. The bus was coming from China on its way to Hauy Xai, only 4 other passengers but was loaded with goods that we had to clamber over to find a seat. The driver was a lunatic, passing other vehicles on blind corners while he chatted to the other passengers. While overtaking a truck on a blind corner the inevitable happened. A motorbike came speeding round the bend and braked suddenly, lost control and the rider went flying off the side of the road, still travelling at a good speed. For sure he would have been seriously injured but the Chinese bus driver just laughed and continued on his merry way. We were extremely nervous and it wasn't until we got to the flat area, a few kms before Hauy Xai, that we were able to relax a little.