There’s a mystical cave known as Phraya Nakhon Cave in the green hills of Thailand’s Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park. Located in Thailand’s Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, it’s been a kings’ destination for over 200 years.
This fascinating spot is only 45 minutes drive from Hua Hin and around 177km southwest of Bangkok.
What is Phraya Nakhon Cave?
A famous tourist hot spot, Phraya Nakhon, is one of the most magnificent caves in Thailand.
Inside the cave is an incredible attraction hidden deep inside this gorgeous place. It’s called Phraya Nakhon Temple. This is the smallest temple in Thailand, with a magnificent green and gold Kukha Karuhas pavilion.
The unmatched natural beauty of Phraya Nakhon makes it one of the most popular tourist attractions and photographed caves in Thailand. However, the remote location and tricky track limit several tourists interested in capturing a glimpse of this stunning sight.
The atmosphere in the cave is serene, especially when the crowds are limited.
Two Chambers of the Cave
The Phraya Nakhon has two chambers with open ceilings which allow sun rays to enter inside, illuminating the cave and giving it an appealing appearance. Both of these chambers are connected by the Bridge of Hell.
The first chamber features an information board with a map that displays the design of the chambers and the decorations in them.
The second section is the ornate Kuha Karuhas pavilion built for King Chulalongkorn the Great in the late 1800s.
It’s a fantastic place — but you need to be brave and have a good pair of hiking shoes to get there!
Inside the Phraya Nakhon
The first thing you will see after entering the cave’s first chamber is a dry waterfall. It is pretty impressive with stalactites, stalagmites, and a natural stone bridge.
Bathed in surreal sunlight, to the left of the first chamber is the second chamber. This is where the actual attraction lies — the Kuha Karuhas Pavilion (the Tiny Temple), shining golden and green like a mirage rising out of the cave’s depths.
The second chamber features King Rama V and King Rama VII’s signatures on the wall. Unlike other typical caves, Phraya Nakhon is perfectly lit because of the sunlight cascading onto the pavilion through the sinkhole.
You can have the best views of the pavilion early in the morning when sun rays enter the cave through the open ceiling.
Also, the unusual combination of the cave’s natural humidity and sunlight that streams inside it has coaxed plant life out of the stone — you can see small trees grow in spots all around this cave. The growing greenery within the cave makes it a colorful and bright natural attraction for visitors, no matter their taste.
See Related: Visiting Fingal’s Cave (Cave of Melody) in Scotland
The Long Trail to Phraya Nakhon
The trail to Phraya Nakhon takes you through the remarkable terrain of Khao Sam Roi Yot, the first coastal national park of Thailand. The journey begins in the town of Bang Pu, close to one of the area’s two gentle beaches. In Bang Pu, you’ll get two choices to reach the destination.
Either do a 30-minute climb to the second beach at Laem Sala Beach or rent a boat to make your way to the beach by the water. I personally recommend you take the boat as it is more adventurous and offers a thrilling experience.
Once you reach Laem Sala Beach, you will have to climb a quarter-mile over a rocky, slippery path to the cave. Since there are no railings, you need to be careful while walking.
Take your time while passing through the deep forest and enjoy rare birds & the sound of cicadas. In a while, the trail will get you inside the magical cave. For side trip, you can take a City Highlights Temple and Market Walking Tour or explore Damnoen Saduak Market.
How to Get to Phraya Nakhon
Most visitors to Phraya Nakhon prefer taking a 45 or 50-minute drive to Bang Pu village from the seaside resort of Hua Hin. You can easily find a driver to take you there.
Once you reach the Bang Po Beach, you will find restaurants, toilets, and shops to stock up on soft drinks or water for the trip.
Next, you will have to pay a national park entrance fee. It’s around 200 Baht for foreigners and 40 Baht for Thai citizens. From Bang Pu village, you can either take a 30-minute hike across the hill or travel by boat to Laem Sala Beach.
This longtail boat trip usually costs 150 Baht per person round trip. But, the charges might vary based on the season and the number of people on the boat.
Moreover, you will have to pay a similar fee even if you make the trip to Laem Sala Beach on foot just to access the trail. However, there are no charges to enter the Phraya Nakhon cave.
From Laem Sala Beach, you will have to take a 430-meter strenuous hike to and from the cave. The track is uneven and includes steep steps, requiring a hand rope. You will find multiple rests stops throughout the climb, enabling tourists to enjoy eye-catching views of the sea, beach, and nearby islands.
What to Pack on a Phraya Nakhon Trip
You need to pack several things to plan a fruitful trip to this gorgeous cave. Though the list can be as extensive as you want, remember to wear solid shoes and bring enough water.
Also, don’t forget to apply or bring insect repellent to make your hiking bearable in this rather bug-infested environment.
Once you hit the top of the hill, the track becomes more accessible as it starts descending into the cave’s first chamber.
Plan a Trip to Phraya Nakhon Cave
All the efforts you make to reach Phraya Nakhon will be richly rewarded – trust me. It’s a beautiful, mysterious vision set in a gorgeous landscape. A serene holy pavilion, hidden away in the most ureal setting.
Those looking to make the most out of their visit to Phraya Nakhon Cave should make a plan on weekdays. Visiting the cave on weekdays can be an excellent idea to avoid crowds and have a pleasant experience.
Additionally, you can make your reservation in advance to visit Phraya Nakhon Cave to avoid any last-minute hassle.
See Related: Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand
Places to Stay Near Phraya Nakhon
There are several accommodation options near this magical place. You can book any as per your convenience. Some of the closest hotels and resorts are as follows:
- La Isla Pranburi Beach Resort – 1.3 miles from the cave
- Hansar Pranburi Resort – 2.0 miles from the cave
- Blue Beach Resort – 3.1 miles from the cave
- Long Beach Inn – 3.6 miles from the cave
- Dolphin Bay Resort – 3.7 miles from the cave
- The Beach Village – 3.9 miles from the cave
- Varinah Resort – 4.9 miles from the cave
If you want to stay in the area, consider camping in tents.
Overall, a trip to this first cave in the Sam Roi Yot district is genuinely worth your time.
How to get from Bangkok to Phraya Nakhon Cave?
Tourists can get to this exquisite cave from Bangkok by car, taxi, bus, or train.
How old is Phraya Nakhon?
As per the available data, the cave is around 200 years old.
Who discovered the Phraya Nakhon Cave?
A Thai man, Chao Praya Nakhon Sri Thammarat, discovered this cave. Therefore, the cave is named after him.