Guide to the Tham Phraya Nakhon trail
The trail starts at Wat Ban Poo and heads South, climbing over a rocky headland. Go up the rough steps to a viewpoint at the top which looks out over the bay and islands. See the beacons which lead the fishing boats through the shallow water to the river entrance and also look out for Bryde whales which are often seen in this part of the gulf.
From the viewpoint the path leads mostly downhill crossing over a big rockfall which happened about 3 years ago. As far as we know there are no tourists under the massive boulders which fell onto the path one stormy night.
When you get down to the Phraya Nakhon beach, follow the sandy path through the coconut trees keeping an eye out for water monitor lizards and Dusky Langur leaf eating monkeys often seen here. Dusky Langur adults are black or dark grey with cute "spectacles" of white fur making them look as if they are wearing glasses. The babies, though are bright orange all over when first born. Apart from humans, their predators include the white bellied sea eagles you may see cruising overhead
When you reach the National park restaurant and bungalows, turn right and follow the path towards the mountain. The steep climb up to the cave starts at the sign. Be careful in the wet as the polished limestone can be slippery. There is a resting platform and viewpoint about two thirds of the way up.
Finally the path levels out and then starts the descent into the cave. There is some information about the history and Royal associations of this cave at the entrance for more information go to the HISTORY link below.
A steep path with handrails zig zags down to the outer cavern with its "death bridge" spanning the open roof 50m above the cave floor. This is the remains of the original ceiling, left behind when the roof fell, letting light in and a small forest to grow up on the cave floor. The sandy floor leads to a boulder choked passage where a wooden causeway crosses into the main cavern and you get your first sight of the famous pavilion looking like a toy on its mound of golden sand under the magnificent vault of the main cavern. This too has a huge hole in the roof through which the sun floods down on the the trees and ferns growing on the cave floor. If you are lucky and the timing is right in the late morning, the shafts of sunlight will be focused on the pavilion, lighting it up against the dark background of the cave walls and the leaves of the trees behind. If it has recently rained there will be drips and trickles of water falling from the ends of stalactites far above.