Step into the tropical forests of Phang Nga to visit one of southern Thailand’s most important temples, Wat Suwan Kuha. Commonly known as the Cave Temple, it sits inside a large cave complex and features many religious statues—the most prominent being the 50-foot (15-meter) golden reclining Buddha in the Tam Yai cave.
Many tours to the Cave Temple leave from Krabi or Phuket and include visits to nearby islands, such as James Bond Island. You can come to pay your respects, feed the local monkeys, and explore the large caves. Other tours feature a number of outdoor activities to explore the jungle and Wat Suwan Kuha. If you want to learn more about Buddhism, hop on a tour of the Phang Nga temples and immerse yourself in Thai culture.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Cave Temple is a must-see for those who want to travel off the beaten path.
- Guests generally spend about an hour exploring the cave system.
- Mischievous monkeys are known to reside in the area, so guard your belongings and any food you have with you.
- The only way to access the temple is via a small set of stairs, which makes it inaccessible to wheelchairs.
How to Get There
Wat Suwan Kuha is located 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the town of Phang Nga. The easiest way to access the caves is through an organized tour from Krabi or Phuket. To explore on your own, you can rent a car and park in the spacious lot near the caves. The drive is about 1.5 hours from many of the popular areas in Phuket and Krabi.
When to Get There
The cave is busiest in late morning and early afternoon. The best time to visit Southern Thailand is during the dry season, between the months of November and April. Though this time is more crowded with tourists, there is significantly less rain.
The Cave Temple holds much significance beyond the large reclining Buddha. This is the final resting place for a number of prominent leaders. The bones of the Na Takuathung family, who constructed the shrine, can be found in the chedi (stupa or pagoda). Also here, the initials of members of the royal family are etched into the cave walls from past visits.