Discover Phraya Nakhon Cave, where a magical Thai temple is hidden away from the rest of the world. Where a lonely pavilion stands and waits in anticipation for a stream of light to fall directly upon it.
This is one of the most magical places we have ever been. It’s like a movie. It almost doesn’t feel real. You hike alongside the sea, then up a mountain and into a cave… Heavenly choruses start playing as light strikes the temple nestled between the trees within the cave. Luckily we have pictures, or else we wouldn’t even believe ourselves!
It is important to keep in mind that this great trek up to the cave is not an easy one. Maybe if you are an extremely fit human it would be a breeze, but for the average Joe, it’s a pretty tough walk.
The Hike To Phraya Nakhon Cave
Getting To Laem Sala Beach
The hike begins from the Laem Sala Beach. There are two ways to get there from the parking lot. First, you can fork out an extra 200 baht (over the 200 baht entrance fee) for a boat ride to the beach. Luxurious, fun and easy.
The second option is to brave the 30-minute hike up and over the Tian Mountain. Tiring and hot, but beautiful and cheap.
Once you’re on the Laem Sala beach, you can locate the start of the hike (well marked with signs) and get going. Our advice, however, having done this whole thing once before is to grab something cold to drink from the little restaurant there to take with you.
The Actual Hike
The hike consists of steep, rocky, uneven steps leading up the mountain. We won’t be completely dramatic, the hike is very nice, but if you have watched our YouTube video you will see Byron telling you something like this “You know what the great thing about hiking in Thailand is? That even though it is extraordinarily hot, there is still a nice blisteringly hot breeze that also keeps you hot.”
IT IS JUST SO HOT! You can’t escape it.
By the time we made our way to the top we were puffing and panting and my face was as red as a tomato. (Okay, well, I was puffing and panting… Byron is a pretty fit guy)
Once you begin the gradual decline to the cave, it begins to get magical and you start to forget about the pain.
You find yourself in what looks like a canyon, you can see the sky, the plants that are growing all around, the rocks and you can even hear the joyful chirping of birds. As you keep on walking you can make out the silhouette of the temple in the distance, peeking out of the entrance of the cave.
Then you enter the cave. It is absolutely beautiful!
I believe the temple is actually called the Khuha Kharuehat Pavilion and it was built to honor King Chulalongkorn (Rama V)’s visit in 1890.
It is so peaceful and surreal and you can spend as much time as you’d like up there. Afterwards you can head back down to the beach, grab a drink and celebrate your victory hike to the top.
Laem Sala beach is actually very pleasant and you might want to spend the day there afterwards anyway!
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
This is the national park that houses the Phraya Nakhon Cave. As with all national parks, foreigners need to pay a 200 baht entrance fee; but that opens up a whole world of activities!
Besides Laem Sala Beach and the Phraya Nakhon Cave, here are some of the activities to lookout for at Sam Roi Yot:
- The headquarter’s watchtower
- Multiple hiking trails
- Khao Daeng Viewpoint
- Kah Daeng Canal Boat Trip through the Mangrove forests
- Freshwater Marsh
- Bueng Bua Boardwalk
- Kaeo Cave
- Sai Cave
It may feel like there’s too much to do and too little time, but don’t worry you can camp there… On the beach! (Or stay in bungalows)
We have camped on the beach in Thailand and it was spectacular, we highly recommend it.
Vital Visitor’s Information
How Much It Costs
Mandatory National Park entrance fee: 200 baht p.p.
Boat ride from parking to Laem Sala: 200 baht p.p.
Kah Daeng Canal Boat Trip (max 6 people): 500 baht per trip
Camping fees: 50 baht for a two-person tent, 225 baht for a three-person and 300 baht for a four-person tent.
X Marks The Spot
What To Wear
Since the pavilion is not strictly a temple, you needn’t cover all knees and shoulder and avoid skin-tight clothing. However, it is still culturally less-than-ideal, so if you can dress more respectfully, please do.
In any case, it is essential to wear strong, closed shoes and a hat. Sunscreen, water and insect repellant will be very handy too!
How To Get To Hua Hin
We relied on 12Go Asia for all of our transport around Southeast Asia and they were amazing… Go ahead, give it a try below!
A Video Of Phraya Nakhon Cave
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