Buddhist Cave Shrines in Kanchanaburi

17 Sep 2007 08:26 - 17 May 2013 17:37 #743 by Anonymous
Buddhist Cave Shrines in Kanchanaburi was created by Anonymous

Following on from a previous week’s experience of traveling to some of the caves in Ratchaburi, this week I decided to go and look at some the Buddhist cave shrines in the neighboring province of Kanchanaburi. Kanchanaburi province has always been one of my favorite provinces and once again it did not disappoint. At the end of the rainy season it is lush and green and a delight to travel in and explore the limestone caves and karsts.{kunena_discuss:732}

Of particular note was Tham Phu Toei. A small but immaculately kept cave, by its resident monk, that is a little of the beaten

track but definitely worth the visit if you are close to Sai Yok. Another really excellent find in this area was Tham Chaloei which is situated just off the railway track not far from Tham Krasae. This hill top cave has 3 chambers and is very well kept although the entrance to the path leading to the cave was very very hard to find as it had become overgrown in the rainy season.

Tham Krasae. While the cave here is nothing amazing to look at the access along a viaduct of the Death Railway provides very nice views over the surrounds, with the river sliding by below you. It’s quite surreal to be walking along the railway track on the side of a hill to enter a cave. Definitely recommended!

Suea Dao Cave is located right on the highway to Sai Yok next to the famous tiger temple – definitely worth the short climb as the entire hill is hollow inside. The cave contains both Chinese and Thai shrines.

Pra That Cave is located in Erawan National Park , north of Erawan Waterfall on the road to Mae Khamin. The stalactites and stalagmites inside the cave are truly impressive but be warned as it requires a 4WD in the rainy season and a hell of a stamina to climb up the peak where the cave is located. There is no natural light but the local guide will show you around with storm lanterns.

Kaeng Lawa Cave is supposed to be one of the best caves in Kanchanaburi. I will never know, I drove all the way there to be shown a sign by the “gate keeper” that it would cost 400 baht for me go inside. I have my own rule – No to double pricing policies – so I politely left. I will not rant here but this double pricing policy of charging foreigners ten times more than locals does not wash with me.

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Wang Badan Cave. I knew this cave was 1km to the east of Sai Yok Noi falls and is reached via a 1.5km-long trail running through a predominantly bamboo forest. However I never quite made it because whilst searching for the entrance road (which is only passable by 4WD at the moment) I noticed a cave in the hillside above and set of on another grueling climb to explore. The two caves (it was actually a hard push to call one of them a cave) were true meditation caves and occupied by local monks. Not outstandingly beautiful caves but it is heartening, in this monetized world, to see higher ideals being actively sought.

Wat Tham Mongkon Thong. I really wanted to see this cave as it is reputed to have a resident floating nun, who “floats” on top of the water while assuming various yoga positions. It is very close to Kanchanaburi though so when I arrived at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning there were already tour buses. I don’t really like touristy, so I fled without getting out of the car. I did not have to go far because on the back of the same mountain is Phetcharat Khuha cave, so off I headed. The cave is not worth the trip but the scenery is interesting as it is a huge military horse stabling area. It’s quite odd to be surrounded by open field full with horses in Thailand. It is also worthwhile looking at the large Jamjuree tree (aka rain tree, monkey pod tree, cenizaro, saman tree, and cow tamarind tree, Samanea saman), locally sign posted as the silk tree, it is huge I could not take a photo with it all in.

Tham Ang Hin. Ang Hin cave is quite something, a little run down and the shrine is yet to be finished but if you take the right hand path halfway up the access stairs you can enter a large multi-chamber cave with 2 sky lights. It’s very interesting, although not for the faint of heart. The cave has huge bats that circle and spiral when you enter – the sound of their movement is quite frightening as they circle in unison and you can feel the draft as they pass you face in the darkness. I also visited Tham Maduea but could not gain access as it was firmly locked. Prathun Cave which is quite disappointing and is accessed through a half finished house.

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