I went to the Phraya Nakhon Cave as an impromptu day trip from Hua Hin. I decided to go because I fell in love with the picture of the Kuha Karuhas Pavilion, glimmering under a godly light, and I had to see it for myself. The cave was first discovered during King Nari’s reign (1629 – 1688) more than 300 years ago and it is located within the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province about 45 minutes drive from Hua Hin.
It was a strange feeling when I reached the cave. It wasn’t dark at all because the cave has an opening on its roof which is caused by natural weathering and erosion. There was hardly anyone around and it was just me, the limestone cave, the sky and the gravels. The surrounding was mostly unaltered and I almost thought I was going to find the way through the center of the earth here.
When I rambled closer to the Kuha Karuhas Pavilion, it stood undisturbed atop a sand dune, illuminating a soft glow. Perhaps, the Kings of Thailand were fascinated by this unearthly place, and three of them visited the Phraya Nakhon Cave including King Rama V (or King Chulalongkorn 1863 – 1910) and King Rama VII (or King Prajadhipok 1925 – 1935) and the current king of Thailand (as of 2013) Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The three kings had also left their signatures on the wall nearby the pavilion.
Buddhist statues nearby the pavilion.
The cave isn’t the easiest to get to. I was a bit perplexed when the taxi driver stopped at the beach. The only thing that has any relation to the cave is the monument with golden dragons and a picture of the pavilion. Since the trip was impromptu, I didn’t look up too much about the place only to find that there was quite a bit of climbing involved!
Do grab some food to fill your stomach before you start. There’s some local food stalls on the beach if you fancy.
The entrance to the park is 200 Baht. You can choose to climb the hill to reach the park, or you can take the easy way by taking a 10 minutes boat ride (200 Baht per boat). I went with climbing 🙂 The path starts of as stairs and eventually becomes a tiny stony path.
There is a few look out points along the way to enjoy the view of Gulf of Thailand.
The climb was first upwards then downwards which took about 40 minutes and I was pretty excited to see the Phraya Nakhon signage amidst coconut trees on a unpopulous beach.
I eagerly wandered along and discovered different kinds of habitats within a very short distance, going through coconut trees, a small forest of well aligned trees and a field of crazy entangled trees.
Then, I came to this! The cave is another 430 m up!
The climb wasn’t exactly inviting and in fact it looked rather endless! Not recommended for the young and elderly.
After visiting the cave and making my way down to the beach, I decided to take the boat ride (200 Baht) back. I think 200 Baht is tourist price but I was too tired to bargain and I was happy enough to have a ride on the boat. If you love quiet beaches, the calm beach and coconut trees near the cave is definitely a good one to be away from the hustle and bustle.
If I didn’t gone on the boat – this would be what I had to climb through (again) to get back to my taxi!
On my way back to Hua Hin, I saw a temple near by and went for a quick visit – the taxi driver said it’s the “Hoobtacod Temple”. Unfortunately there was not too much English explanations so I didn’t linger for too long and called it a day 🙂
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park on Wiki
Getting there: I hired a taxi for a day at 1500 Baht per day. Taxi and tutuk stands are readily available in Hua Hin town.