Thailand's hidden cave - Pang Mapha

Entrance to Pang Mapha cave.

Pang Mapha cave entrance.  Photo:  Michael Scalet

If you have ever been to Thailand or you’re currently researching where to travel in the country, you’ve likely found images of its stunning landscapes and beautiful landmarks. With over 25 million visitors per year, Thailand is extremely popular and a quick glance at the sheer amount of things to do and sights to see shows exactly why the country is a popular tourist destination.  However, an attraction that flies under the radar in Thailand is one worth visiting--Pang Mapha.

Photo:  Michael Scalet

Found in the Northwestern corner of Thailand, Pang Mapha is an extensive network of caverns that offer a great trip for exploration and discovery. It is important to note that the preferred method for travelling through the caves is a kayak and if requested, you can also hire a local tour guide to help and inform along the way.   However, before embarking on an exploration of the caverns it is wise to choose an accommodation close by such as the ‘Cave Lodge’—a popular accommodation that sits just outside the village of Ban Tham Lo.  The Cave Lodge offers a welcoming homey appearance and is a great location for all nature lovers. The distance from lodge to cave is extremely short so you can plan your exploration according to the time you have available.

When it comes to the caves themselves, a crocodile statue made from limestone will be one of the first things you notice and care needs to be taken because the surfaces under foot can be extremely slippery. Although the statue is solid, it has tricked many a visitor in the past because its appearance can be frightening at first glance until the mind analyses the situation and realizes the true beauty of the art piece. After entering the cave, stalagmites and stalactites will fill your view and they present a natural beauty that can only fully be appreciated in person.

To enjoy everything Pang Mapha has to offer, a visit to ‘spirit cave’ is an imperative.  This cave has gained fame throughout the past few centuries and is as spooky as its name implies because the spirit cave takes one through and above 1,700+ year-old coffins on wooden scaffoldings. Visiting the other caves can bring a great experience but only when you visit the spirit cave can you truly begin to understand its depth in history. Not only will you learn about the caves from the coffins, you will also learn about the culture of northern Thailand as a whole.

If you are planning your trip to Thailand, be sure to add Pang Mapha to your list of places to visit, as it can be a memorable experience that allows you to be at one with nature and history.  

About the Author

Tonya Fitzpatrick is a “recovering attorney” who shares a life full of adventure, dark chocolate and champagne with her husband and business partner, Ian.   She has a deep love for animals and would be happy owning a zoo if she weren’t traveling. 

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