Tham Khao Luang
Tham Khao Luang information
About 4km north of town is Tham Khao Luang, a dramatic stalactite-stuffed chamber that is one of Thailand’s most impressive cave shrines and a favourite of Rama IV. Accessed via a steep set of stairs, its central Buddha figure is often illuminated with a heavenly glow when sunlight filters in through the heart-shaped skylight.
At the opposite end of the chamber are a row of sitting Buddhas casting repetitive shadows on the undulating cavern wall.
The story is that Rama IV built the stone gate that separates the main chamber from a second chamber as a security measure for a couple who once lived in the cave. A figure of a prostrate body in the third chamber is said to represent the cycle of life and death but it hasn’t experienced a peaceful resting place as bandits destroyed much of it in search of hidden treasures. Deeper in the cave is supposedly a rock formation that looks like Christ on the cross but our literal eyes couldn’t spot it. (Thais are especially imaginative at spotting familiar forms in cave stalactites.)
Around the entrance to the cave you’ll meet brazen monkeys looking for handouts. Guides lurk in the car park, but they're not essential and aren't always forthcoming about their fees (usually 100B per person). You’ll need to arrange transport here from town (around 150B round-trip).