ถ้ำเลสเตโกดอน

Tham Le Stegodon


Useful Information

Location: Ban Khiriwong, Thung Wa, Satun Province 91120
(7.123883, 99.798487)
Open: All year after appointment.
[2021]
Fee: depends on package.
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=4 km.
Guided tours: D=2-3 h.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Tham Le Stegodon, UNESCO Global Geopark Satun, Tambon Thung Wa, Thung Wa District, Satun 91120, Tel: +66-62-298-8928.
Reservation: Khun Chuk, Thung Wa Sub-district Administrative Organisation, Tel: +66-8-4858-5100.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

2008 stegodon fossil discovered by three locals fishing for giant river prawns.

Description

ถ้ำเลสเตโกดอน (Tham Le Stegodon, Stegodon Sea Cave) was named after the extinct elephant Stegodon. Many Pleistocene vertebrate fossils were found in the cave, a lot of them from the elephant. The oldest fossils are 1.8 Million years old, the youngest about 10,000 years. The most spectacular findings are the jaw plate of an ancient elephant, the jaw of an ancient rhino, and numerous antlers. A life-sized replica of such a stegodon was erected at the cave entrance. The Thungwa Ancient Elephant Museum exhibits the finds and gives explanations. A visit of the museum prior to the cave tour is much recommended.

The cave is visited by kayak, starting at the cave entrance at highway 416. The cave river Wang Kluay crosses the north to south running mountain ridge westwards towards the sea. Actually there are two rivers which enter the cave system at the eastern side and meet inside the cave. At the other end of the through cave the visitors board a motorboat for a 30 minutes boat ride down the river through mangrove forests to the Ban Tha Oi Pier. Visitors are equipped with kayak, life vest, headlamp and a guide. From the end of the tour they return by shuttle bus.

The cave passage have a size of about 10 m to 20 m in both width and height. The cave is only slightly above sea level and the seawater enters the estuary and reaches the cave. The water is thus brackish as soon as it leaves the cave. Due to the location the cave visit depends on the tide and the weather, so while cave tours are available all year it is necessary to reserve and the dates and times are given by the Geopark.

The cave was originally named Wang Kluai Cave, but was renamed after the fossils were discovered. In 2008 three locals living near the cave, which were fishing for giant river prawns, discovered the first bones.