Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi

Krabi is one of my favourite provinces in Thailand, and it is gradually becoming a major tourist destination for people who find Phuket a little bit too expensive and too westernised. I have been several times over the past years, and in the next couple of weeks I would like to show you a few places I liked around there.

Krabi town itself is located at a river and is surrounded by thick mangrove forests, no beaches within walking distance. However, you could stay a day or two and use it as a base to go on daytrips and discover the temples, national parks, hot springs in the area.

The golden Buddha and chedi of Tiger Cave Temple is visible from town, on top of a steep mountain. If you go nearer, you will discover that you can actually climb up all the way – if you can scale a mere 1237 steps, that is! The mountain is one of those steep carst formations that dot the landscape around Krabi and Phang Nga provinces – they may remind you of Chinese paintings or the Meteora in Greece, depending where you come from.

Just riding around on rural roads and admiring the landscape would be a great half day trip. Luckily, there are attractions like Tiger Cave Temple to make wondering around a full-day trip. It is only 4 kms from the town centre, you can take a songthaew heading for Tesco or the airport and ask to get dropped off if you don’t have a rented motorcycle. There is no entry fee.

Apparently, the name of the temple comes from olden times when tigers roamed the area and lived in some of the caves, but, rather unfortunately for them, they have had to recede further north, to Khao Sok National Park, where they live undisturbed. No chance of a tiger walking up to you any more.

The first thing that you will notice is the absolutely huge chedi being built by construction cranes from concrete. It must be the biggest I have ever seen. Somebody is pouring lots of money into this temple!

There are a couple of moderately interesting temple buildings, all locked, a few almost garish statues, a steep cliff face with monkeys that come and take your food if they spot you having some, and then you start wondering, ok, what is there to see around here if you don’t feel like climbing up all those stairs in the 40-degree heat? You just need to walk to the end of the temple grounds until you see this Buddha statue.

Climb some 100 stairs up, then down, and you find yourself in a valley surrounded by high cliffs. The ancient trees hardly let any sunlight through, but the air is not moving, it is absolutely humid and hot. Please resist the temptation and keep your shirt on.

There is a path around that takes about 40 minutes to walk (10 if you rush or you are with a tour group), passing by small stalagmite caves with Buddha images, monks’ huts, huge weird scary trees with monkeys playing around in the thick foliage – an interesting and safe “jungle” walk. I don’t remember seeing a single monk though.

Probably I shouldn’t be writing a review of this temple since there is no way I could climb to the top of the mountain to see the golden chedi and golden Buddha – however, I googled the place and the views are amazing. Maybe one of you readers has been there, or is now interested in going? If you have been to the top, please send a few pictures and write a blog about it 🙂

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