Phraya Nakhon Cave Tham Phraya Nakhon Cave is a fantastic vacation spot and a really good and recommendable vacation experience to bring home from the trip to Thailand.
It is probably no coincidence that the late King Bhumibol Aduljadej visited Phraya Nakhon Cave more than once during his reign, for it is truly an amazing sight that awaits one, if one has the strength to climb the many steep paths up and down before reaching the cave.
Note - the tour is not recommended for handicapped people!
Phraya Nakhon is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful caves in Thailand and probably also the most photographed. Go there ! you will not be disappointed.
How to get to Phraya Nakhon Cave
The easiest way to get to the cave is to simply rent a taxi or minibus where ever you may be situated. This can be done for roughly 1500-2000 THB for a whole day, if you are staying in Hua Hin, for example. Add to that an additional few thousand baht, if you are coming all the way from Bangkok.
The Phraya Nakhon Cave is located approximately 1 hours drive south of the seaside resort of Hua Hin and a total of arround 3-4 hours drive south of the capital Bangkok. If you think the trip is a bit too long, just for a day trip, then there are several quite good hotels in the immediate vicinity (5 km) of Phraya Nakhon Cave.
When you reach Laem Sala beach, you can either choose to move further on to the cave on foot, or via a short boat ride along the coast around the first mountain. If you choose the boat trip, which takes place with a longtail boat, you save the trip over a single mountain, which most people also prefer.
The trip by boat, which takes approx. 10 min., costs around THB 400 for adults and half price for children. In addition, there is an entrance fee to the national park itself which is THB 200 for adults. No additional charge is made for access to the Phraya Nakhon Cave itself.
Tip ! make sure to go early in the day as you will experience the most beautiful sight at around 11 am when the sunlight directly hits the roof of the royal pavilion.
What awaits you..
As previously mentioned, the visit to the cave is not recommended for people with walking difficulties. You have to walk on very uneven, and sometimes also, quite steep paths. The trip is not "dangerous" and can easily be done by ordinary physically healthy people, but it undoubtedly pulls teeth on most people, who will get sweat on their foreheads before reaching the finish line after approx. 1/2 hour hike.
If you are traveling in a group where some individuals may have difficulty walking, then we would still recommend that everyone take the boat trip to the beach at Phraya Nakhon. Here is a small local restaurant where you can buy food and drinks and you can also rent beach chairs. Thus, those who can not make the trip up and down the paths to the cave may just enjoy the lovely beach in the meantime.
On the first beach you get to before the boat trip, there are up to several restaurants to choose from, but here the beach is not as good as the one you get to after the boat trip..here is a bit "bounty-like".
Remember water and good hiking shoes for the trip! clip flaps do not last..also not for the healthy ;-)
The trip to the cave ..
As already mentioned, the first part of the trip to Phraya Nakhon takes place either on foot, via narrow and steep paths on the cliffs along the coast, or by boat. It is our experience that more than 9 out of 10 choose the boat trip to save energy for the last part of the trip.
Once you have completed the first part of the trip, you will reach the beach at the foot of the mountain to Phraya Nakhon. The beach is quite deserted and if you choose to stay here, then you can most likely also get the beach almost to yourself and enjoy the tranquility under the palm trees.
Then begins the second part of the hike..
This takes place via a narrow trail system that winds its way up and down the mountain. If you are lucky, on the trip you will be able to experience Gibbon monkeys, dragons, colorful butterflies and maybe even see a snake twisting down from the trees in the forest ..
The first thing you will experience when you get to the first part of the cave is a dried out waterfall and stalactite formations that both hang down from the cave's ceiling but also form on the floor. These stalactites (which have formed over thousands of years) are also found in the second cave chamber. This is where the famous Kuha Karuha Pavilion is built.
If you look closely you will see that water drops fall on the stalactites in the exact same place every time. It is in this way that lime material is deposited from the water and the staglakite is formed and grows in size by approx. 0.005-0.7 mm. pr. year. Absolutely amazing!
Imagine how long it has taken to build just one of the meter-high formations found in the cave ..
Ouch ! Finally at the finish line..
The Phraya Nakhon cave itself consists of two chambers located in immediate extension of each other. In both rooms there is a "hole" in the ceiling, which at certain times of the day allows sunlight to enter. Precisely this helps to give the Phraya Nakhon cave a completely distinctive and almost magical expression over it.
Especially if you are lucky enough to hit the exact time of day when the sunlight hits exactly on the roof of the very beautiful pavilion built in the cave. The opening in the ceiling, in addition to sunlight, also allows rain to fall into the caves, which is why both trees and shrubs grow on the bottom.
Khuha Kharuehat Pavilion (Phra Thinang Khuha Kharuhat)
Phraya Nakhon Cave is probably best known for the beautiful Kuha Karuha Pavilion built in the late 19th century by King Chulalonkorn (Rama V).
The pavilion was first built in the capital Bangkok and then later shipped in smaller pieces to the cave, where it was then reassembled.
In the largest cave chamber (where the pavilion is built) you will next to this you will be able to see writings on the walls written by the former monarchs King Rama VII and Rama V. with Buddha statues.
If you are wondering that some of the other visitors to the cave stand with open mouths and try to catch the falling water droplets from the stalactites then it is because it is said that if you drink this water then it will bring you luck in the time of next year.
What a fantastic experience it was - we will be back soon !
Location: Phraya Nakhon Cave is located close to the coast on the western side of the Thai Gulf and is part of the National Park Khao Sam Roi Yot is located in the district Kui Buri.