Attraction Krabi Town 81000, Thailand Published on: 03-07-2016
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Why Wat Tham Suea Caves (Tiger Cave Temple) is special ?
Tiger Cave Temple was founded in 1975 by the now famous Thai meditation monk, Ajahn Jomnien. In those days, the area was plagued by a Communist insurgency and the monk is said to have created the temple as a safe haven for fighters on both sides as well as the many neutral locals. A small village that sprouted around the temple remains today.
The tigers have long since vanished into the mountains of Khao Phanom Bencha National Park and the cave now houses a shrine with a statue of a tiger and numerous Buddha images. Other unique features include an oddly placed whale skull and human skeletons aimed at teaching visitors about the impermanence of life. A huge concrete chedi was being constructed during our most recent visit and an imposing pagoda that houses a giant statue of Kuan Yin is situated at one end of the grounds.
What to explore at Wat Tham Suea Caves (Tiger Cave Temple)?
1. Tiger Cave Temple is the tan/yellow colored building at the base of the hill close to where you will park. To the right of the building is a ramp and stairs leading up to the second floor. Once inside (remove your shoes) you can shop for Buddhist amulets at the counter, get a bracelet put on you from one of the women in white (nuns) and look at the 120+ Buddha statues. If you look to the front among the Buddha statues you’ll see a stairway that leads up to a special room where a Buddha footprint is as well as the most sacred place for the whole Wat Tum Sua temple. It’s small and crowded sometimes.
2. Outside the Tiger cave temple come back down to the ground level and walk left there are some buildings to see, but the next main attraction are the stairs leading up to the top of a small mountain (260 meters above sea level). There are 1,237 steps leading to the top that are challenging in the morning heat – best to go about 4 pm if you want coolest part of the day and to catch sunset, which is at times, amazing. There is cold water at the top of the climb (free) and places to sit or even lay down. I’ve seen all kinds of people make it to the top. A five year old boy, an 85 year old woman, and a 300 lb (130kg?) guy. If you want to make it you CAN – just go slow. It’s not a race. Sunset is awesome here when it’s not rainy season. Rainy season is April or May through November.
3. After you go up the steps, or in lieu of it (spelling of lieu?) go further back into the grounds and see the gwa-neen statue – female Buddha type statue. Chinese people love this goddess. Then to the left are more steps that lead to the foothills area of Wat Thamsuea. It’s about 88 steps up and 100 down into the foothills. There are 8 monks that live here and there’s a nature walk of maybe 400 meters around the perimeter of the foothills. Great for pics. Don’t miss the 1000 year old tree and the 2 caves. One cave you can walk back in and see a couple of rooms. Don’t stay long – in one cave it’s tough to breath. Not sure why that is.
4. There is a new building, a 99 meter high Chedi with 8 levels that might be done sometime in 2008. Looks cool from the outside. You can walk up now and see it – but not much to see just yet. Should be quite nice by time it’s finished.
How to get to Wat Tham Suea Caves (Tiger Cave Temple)?
The closest you can get by songthaew is Big C, from where the temple is about a kilometre away. A motorbike taxi can take you here for around 300 baht roundtrip. If going on your own steam, head north out of Krabi town on Uttarakit Road and take a right on to Phet Kasem Road (Route 4). The temple is located directly off a side road that shoots east (it's a left if heading east) right before the Big C shopping centre. There's only a single old faded sign from that direction so keep your eyes peeled. Admission is free but donations are appreciated.
- Amazing complex of Buddha temple
- Best for focus on spiritual matters
- Stunning views and great atmosphere
- A must do for Buddist
- One of best culture and nature in Ao Nang
Krabi Town 81000, Thailand
Tips for you
Do not take anything to eat with you that is outside your backpack since the monkeys may forcibly take it from you when they’re ravenous. Especially early mornings they are a bit nuts. Don’t leave your shoes, umbrellas or bags of anything laying around where the monkeys are – they’ll take them and play with them high in the trees. If a monkey jumps on you don’t flip out – just give it what it wants and he’ll get off. Seriously.Safety
Thought this was great but for the love of holy bring water!!It gets really hot because of the surrounding shrubs so the climb is tough but worth it!
1237 quite steep steps.. Got to be prepared for that, physically and mentally. Well, we young people came to the top in 30 min, Nice view there. Also, it's interesting to explore the jungle next to the mountain where the monks live. Some deep caves there, some animals (met few turtles).
went with my thai girlfriend and it was wonderful experience it is a quite peaceful experience and worth a visit
Not far away from Krabi town, Took tuk tuk red color to get here for 40 bath per pax. It was quite challenging to climb staircase (1227 staircase) to reach the top of the hill where there was Buddha statue. It took me about 35 minutes to reach the top and the view from here was fascinating. Bare in mind it was not so easy to climb those staircases your need to be fit and ready to curse all the way up