I would like to explore the Top 10 ten caves in Thailand with you.
Thailand harbors a lot of different caves from big to holy to inaccessible to unknown. To introduce the main top ten of them is my goal in this post.
Tham Nam Lod (Nam Lod Cave)
The Lod Cave is a Limestone cave which is located in the Mae Hong Song District, about 150 km. north-west of Chiang Mai. In the middle of nowhere click here you find the small village of Ban Tham Lod where you can also stay overnight.
The cave is under the supervision of the Tham Nam Lod Nature and Wildlife Education Centre, Tel. +66 53 617 218
Once there you find a small waterway Nam Lang that you will follow right to the end of the cave. The cave itself is a followup of three main chambers. After walking a few hundred meters you reach the cave entrance where locals with bamboo rafts are awaiting you to guide you into the dark. Floating on the millions of years cut out creek for another three hundred meters you reach the first hall called Tham Sao Hin, (the Stone Cullom Cave). The main attraction there is the limestone Culloms, some reaching a height of twenty meters.
Another 80 meters of rafting brings you to the second chamber, called the dolls cave (Tham Dukkata) here were pre-historic wall paintings discovered and you will discover doll like looking stalagmites growing from the floor.
The deepest chamber, some more 540 meters into the dark, the “Ghost Cave” appears. It lets you discover 2000-year-old antiques as the teak wood coffins with skeletons and some stone equipment. The treasures found in the coffins have unfortunately been removed:)
For this adventure, you don’t need any special equipment. Take some warm clothes with due to the rather cold climate inside the cave.
The caves are open all year long during the visiting hours between 8 am. and 4 pm. Please do not touch anything in the cave and help save this stunning site for the next generations.
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Hup Pa Tat Cave
This beautiful adventure you can find in the Uthai Thani Province. About 90 km. from Uthai Thani city in the Tham Pa Thun Non-Hunting Area check here.
Entering the very dark cave throws you back thousands of years into the Jurassic age of the world.
This site is more interesting due to the exceptional untouched wild forest you reach after passing through the cave. A valley surrounded by limestone mountain formations covered by exotic and some rare plants only seen in this exact area.
The roof of the exotic trees lets in just a little light and the climate inside this little jungle is comfortable and lets you enjoy a stroll through the tropic tall forest with the background acoustics of the many birds playing around.
Footprints of animals living inside this exotic chamber can be seen on the 700 meters long walkabout. Some of the smaller animals you might have a chance to get a glimpse but tigers, bulls, bears or deer you can probably only see the proof of their existence on the floor and scratches on trees.
Make sure to wear good shoes and bring a flashlight to this site. The park closes at 4 pm. but the best time to do the tour is from 11 am. to 1 pm. due to the short time the sunlight can enter the narrow valley. The site is open all year long.
More Information you can get at the TAT Uthai Thani Office, tel. +66 5651 2916
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The next four caves are all located in the Kanchanaburi district. I find some of them a bit hard to locate but where there’s a will there’s a way.
Tham Than Lod
At the far east end of the Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park only a hundred meters from the park office you find the entrance to the two Than Lod caves, the small and the big one. Get the location click here.
The first, Than Lod Noi is crossed by a stream. there are lights installed for you to easily follow the path. Strange looking stalactites and stalagmites can be seen along the way.
Don’t get scared if you hear wolfs barking, it is the giant jungle toad, a rare species of toads that make the scary sound.
On the other side, when you leave the small cave you can walk for about 2.5 km. through a tropical evergreen forest until you reach Tham Than Lod Yai. It is a huge hole in the limestone carved for thousands of years. Some gaps in the ceiling allow the sun to shine in. Now the cave resides various beautiful plants growing on the rocks.
More wonderful sites can be enjoyed in the national parks such as waterfalls, natural rock slides and a lake where you can cool off and swim with your family.
The park is open all year long and the opening hours are from 8.30 am. to 4 pm. No specific equipment is needed. please do not leave the provided paths and don’t bring pets.
For further information contact the Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park tel. 66 3454 7020 or +66 3451 9606
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Tham Nok Nang Aen
Also located in the Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park but further to the north you find this a bit more challenging cave. To find the location click here.
To explore this exciting tour you will have to confirm your arrival in advance. The tour takes about 7 hours and some skills in climbing and swimming are required.
For about three km. a stream is flowing visibly through some parts of the cave though other parts it streams underground. Fantastic calcite curtains can be seen in the great halls of the cage.
At six points the cave siling has dropped in and lets light and fresh air enter the indescribable arts of nature. There are no flashlights needed and artificial light is not provided what makes the experience a real fascinating spectacle of the millions of years the cave took time to grow as it is today.
The Swallow Cave is only open during the months of March to Mai. I recommend taking good shoes, a waterproof bag, and some clothes to change. Lifevests, food, and accommodation are available at the scene. There is a camping site as well.
For reservation or more info. please contact the TAT Kanchanaburi Office, tel. +66 3451 1200 and +66 3462 3691 or the Lam Khlong Ngu National Park, tel. +66 8491 32381
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Tham Sao Hin
Now it gets really exciting. The Stone Pillar Cage is recorded in the Guinness book of records for its tallest natural stone cave pillar in the world. With its 62.5 meters, it is almost twice the size of No. 2 in China.
The cave is located in the Lam Khlong Ngu National Park, click here. You can not explore the cave without guides and therefore need to make a reservation up front.
The cave is known to be the most beautiful and unspoiled cave in the country. And to be able to enjoy the fantastic seven-hour trip you should be in a good shape. No less than three mountains you haveto treck over, climb 90-degree inclines, and then cross a stream in front of a gushing waterfall, just to enter the cave. Then another 700 meters of pulling yourself upstream on a rope.
The cave is left completely natural, no lights, no paths no decorations. Just the pure beauty of huge stalactites and stalagmites that grew over millions of years withstanding floods and earthquakes. The scene changes drop by drop over time and if we don’t touch the phenomenal structures they will grow for another million years and more.
For this adventure, you will have to bring head mounted flashlights and gloves. Best you wear clothes that dry fast and are not heavy but fit tight. even a diving suit can help prevent the cold and abrasion by the sharp rocks. Strong sneakers with a rubber sole are adviced for footwear. A mask against the smell of guano can be good. Not forget to bring something to drink as the water in and around the cave is polluted and cannot be used for hydration. Electrolyte drinks can help against cramps.
The park is open from March to May and you can get food, accommodation, campsite, guides and life vest at the park office. For reservation and info. contact here: TAT Kanchanaburi Office, tel. +66 3451 1200 or at the Lam Khlong Ngu National Park, tel. +66 8491 32381
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The Lawa Cave is located next to the banks of the upper river Kwai. See alocation, click here. It is the most popular cave in the Kanchanaburi District and can be visited easy and without special skills or equipment.
There must have been prehistoric life inside as remains of human skeletons were found when it was rediscovered in modern times. The cave consists of five chambers of which each one has a tale-telling about its name. To find the entrance you have to get up steep stairs to the top of the mountain where a small hole lets you inside Tham Lawa.
An indirect lightening system along the path leaves the exploring experience as natural as possible. The chambers are quite big, so there is no need for fear. Nicely decorated with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. Colonies of various bat species inhabit the cave so try to not be noisy.
The cave is open all year long and can be visited from 8 am. to 6 pm. It takes about 45 min. to walk through the cave. The tour guide will tell you the secrets of each chamber and point out some details you would not notice by yourself.
Further info you can get at the River Kwai Resotel Resort, tel. +66 2642 5497
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Wat Tham Khao Luang
Down in the Phetchaburi Province, you find this beautiful temple cave. The cave is not far from Bangkok on the way down to the south-west. See location, click here.
Some famous Budha statues, one built under the command of King Rama V who lived at the end of the 19th century. The cave is the most impressive cave shrine in Thailand.
You can access the cave using steep stairs. A big heart-shaped hole in the roof lets the sun daze in which gives many of the golden Budha images a magical shine. There are about 170 different Budha images to see and Thai people use the place to do their prayers. The atmosphere inside is very devout with lots of candles and incents sticks burning.
Outside the cave, many food stalls sell their meals and snacks, fruit and drinks and the little monkeys all over trying to get their share. The place can be pretty busy as it is one of the most famous sightseeing temples in the region.
The temple caves are open all year long and you can visit them from 9 in the morning till 4 pm.
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Tham Le Khao Kop
A good 100 km. from Krabi, in the Trang Province, you find this unique site. A small river flows all the way under a small mountain through the 800 meters long cave. Check the location, click here.
You jump into a boat and let the fun start. Moving through a lot of green suddenly you find yourself in front of a wall where the water disappears in the dark. Out of the eight chambers, 5 are accessible to the public and that’s where the boat stops inside the mountain and lets you explore the dripping stones by foot.
At one point you will have to flow under the dragon’s belly and the cieling comes closer and closer until, in the end, you have to lie down in the boat to get past. the ceiling then is just centimeters above your nose. Some people get scared a bit but if you like a thrill you’ll love it.
The boats are steered and paddled by hand by a crew of two, to leave the place clean and quiet. Please don’t touch the stalactites and stalagmites as they need thousands of years to grow just a few centimeters.
The site is always open:) I didn’t find opening hours. The trip lasts maybe half an hour and all you need is maybe an extra head flashlight.
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Tham Morakot (Emerald Cave)
The same Province of Trat is the home of the extremely beautiful cave in the sea in the middle of high reaching cliffs. Near the coast in south Thailand, you reach the small island “Kho Muk” by 30 minutes long boat ride which you find at the Hat Pak Meng Pier. For location Click here.
Only with low tide, you can enter the small cavity either by kayak or by swimming. When the tide is high it takes a long dive of about 80 meters under the curvy cave. With the bright sunlight, the walls inside the cave blaze in a magnificent emerald green color as could not be painted by man.
When you exit the cave on the other side you will be welcomed by a white sandy beach surrounded by stunning steep cliffs, covered with evergreen under a mostly clear blue sky.
Other parts of the island also come with wonderful white sandy beaches. There is no guesthouse on the island but a space for campers is available. You can also find restaurants and restrooms. Kayaks are for rent or a trip with a longtail boat can be chartered. The site is open all year long.
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Chet Khot Cave
Last but not least, Tham Chet Khot. It lays in the Satun, the most southern District on the west coast of southern Thailand. It belongs to the Satun Geopark located in the middle of the tropical rainforest. Get the location, click here.
The name Chat Khot means “seven Curves ” and that is what you find inside the 600 meters long cave. You can rent a kayak and paddle through the quiet cavern and check out the beautiful dripstones growing from the roof and floor.
Another unfamiliar but magical picture presents the eyes of huge bat colonies at the top of the cave, that glow like stars when you shine on them with your flashlight.
The rowing experience is a very quiet one that puts you in a reflective mood surrounded by all this beauty of nature. At the end of the tunnel, a big cavity 15 *30 meters, awaits you with a nice sandy ridge. Welcoming for a relaxing sit and maybe a small picnic enjoying the evergreen forest reflecting in the river.
The cave is open all year long and daily from 9 am. to 4 pm. All you need to bring is a flashlight and a picnic and water. You can rent the kayak, torch, ask for a guide and there are restrooms to use.
For information please call the TAT Trang Office, tel. +66 7521 5867
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That’s it for now
I hope you find a cave or two you can visit. Of course, there are uncounted other caves all over the country. If you happen to know of one, that should be mentioned here, please leave a comment below and I will love to check it out.
Visiting most caves in Thailand is labeled as ECO tourism and the sites are left quite natural. Therefore make sure to have the things you need with you, like mosquito spray, light, water, food, spare clothes, preferably long sleeve shirts plus all the gear mentioned in each chapter.
Take your waste with you and don’t distract the nature, respect the guides and Buddhist shrines.
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