Tham Phraya Nakhon

Phraya Nakhon Cave


Useful Information

Location: Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park. 320 km south of Bangkok, 63 km south of Hua Hin along the Gulf of Thailand. One hour walk from the village of Bang Pu, steep trail uphill to the cave entrance.
Open: All year daily 8-16:30.
[2020]
Fee: Adults THB 200, Children THB 100.
[2020]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: n/a
Dimension:  
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address:  
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History

~1800 discovered by Phraya Nakhon.
20-JUN-1890 visited by King Rama V..
1896 pavillion built.
1926 visited by King Rama VII..

Description

The Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park is located at the east coast of the southern peninsula of Thailand, in the Prachuab Khiri Khan Province. Khao Sam Roi Yot is translated "Mountains of Three Hundred Peaks", an area with numerous limestone hills up to 605 m asl.. The park covers an area of 98 km². This area has a very long history and is famous for its habitats. It is karstified and numerous caves are known.

Phraya Nakhon Cave is named after Lord Nakorn Srithammaraja. Actually it is unclear which one, as there were two of them. The first one governed in the late 17th century and the other one during the reign of King Rama I (*1782-✝1809). They ruled an independent city state. Nakorn Srithammaraja travelled by ship, when he was forced ashore by a violent monsoon storm. So he discovered the cave by "accident" when looking for shelter. It is likely, the cave was known to the locals for much longer, but that is not such a fine story. Actually the locals have a different legend how the area got its name.

this area was once an ocean. One day, a passing Chinese sailing ship was wrecked by a storm, and only 300 survived who then sought refuge on an island. The island was soon named Sam Roi Rod (300 Survivors). Over time, the water receded, and the islands became a mountain range and hence its name was adapted from Rod to Yot. The only evidence of water is now a marsh, which is believed to be the final resting place of the ship. Some locals have seen and walked on a ship mast in that very marsh.

Phraya Nakhon Cave has two large chambers with collapsed roof. So they are not really caves, but huge dolines which are 65 m deep and 50 m wide, with overhanging walls, covered with plants and stalactites. Inside of one doline is a pavilion, built after a visit by King Rama V. on 20-JUN-1890. He stopped here on a travel from his summer palace back to Bangkok. When he visited, he signed his name on the north wall of the cavern. The pavilion was completed in 1896, but he never saw it. The first king who visited the pavilion was Rama VII in 1926. He also signed on the north wall of the cave. The current king, Rama IX, has already visited the cave twice.

This pavillion is probably the most impressive sight around noon. At this time the sun shines almost vertical into the huge karstfenster in the ceiling of the cave and bathes the pavilion in golden light.