Tiger Cave Temple or Wat Tham Sua offers a genuine spiritual experience in stunning natural surroundings. Located close to Krabi town this is one of Thailand’s finest natural wonders and definitely worth a visit. The temple here is a warren of natural caves formed within a lush jungle and home to monks who worship and live in this beautiful environment.
There are interesting icons and relics in the main temple cave but the real attraction here is the ‘footprint of the Buddha’. To get to this historic site you need to hike 1,237 steps up a limestone tower which is a challenging climb especially in the Thai climate. Those who make it to the top are compensated with panoramic 360 degree views of the amazing Andaman Sea, tropical islands, dramatic limestone cliff formations, verdant rainforests and ‘the Buddha’s footprint’. The incomparable vistas are particularly stunning at sunrise and sunset which is also the best time to climb up and avoid the heat and humidity.
Krabi Tiger Cave Highlights:
Arriving at Tiger Cave Temple, spend some time exploring the lower levels before taking the challenging climb up. Legend has it that a tiger once made the main cave his home hence the temples name, ‘Sua’ or ‘Suea’ being Thai for tiger. There are still tiger footprints on the floor of the lower temple which is surrounded by mountains and a rich tropical forest. You might want to purchase some bananas by the entrance to feed the many monkey occupants, but remember that they can bite and scratch so don’t get too close.
Thereafter take one of the two staircases up to the top; the one which is located close to the Chinese fertility goddess statue is slightly easier. Either way the climb is strenuous and should not be taken lightly; the steps are uneven and steep jutting up the mountain. You should allow up to one hour to make the climb, enjoying the rest stops and vantage points on the way up.
Krabi Tiger Cave:
Remarks: Dress respectfully and remember to take a bottle of water with you and to remove any jewellery, sunglasses or valuable items which may be taken by the playful monkeys. A visit is best scheduled early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday sun.
How to get there: Tiger cave temple is located about three kilometres from Krabi town and easiest reached by mini-bus, taxi or tuk-tuk (arrange a fare with the tuk-tuk driver in advance). Alternatively you can take a traditional Thai public bus also known as a songthaew from either Krabi town or from Ao Nang. The public bus makes for a really cheap and interesting option where you’ll see plenty of Thai sights and sounds along the way in addition to meeting some locals. The bus stops at the road next to Wat Tham Sua and from there it takes about 20 minutes on foot.