Tiger Cave Temple, Krabi – Wat Tham Suea
It's very popular hiking to the top of the Tiger Cave Temple. Therefore, start either early morning with a pleasant temp before the buses arrive or in the late afternoon when it starts to cool down, and the stairs are in the shade. The entrance to the stairway is always open, and there isn't any fee requested. Sunrise and sunset are marvelous, but you need a flashlight for the way up or down.
The summit from the distance
You get the best shot with the Buddha Statues on the top with sunlight in the morning. The downside the sun is heating up the stairs which makes it even harder to climb 1.237 steps up and down. After rainfall, the stairs are a bit slippery.
The Tiger Cave Temple is part of many day trips combined with the Emerald Pools. When the buses arrive, it gets crowded and can spoil this awesome experience. Therefore, rent a scooter or take a tuk-tuk to get there independent either early morning or late afternoon. It's also the best time to handle the heat.
The view from the summit
Weather, Seasons, and Crowds
- Dry Season from December to April
It's always pretty hot day temps are above 30°C throughout the year but drier the reason that the humidity is more bearable. Showers occur mostly in the afternoon or night. Between January and March, you get frequently a clear blue sky. However, it's the peak season, very busy, and hotel prices are the highest.
- Rainy Season from May to November
Wet season with higher humidity. The temps are still around 30°C but muggy. Most precipitation occurs in September. During the rainy season, everything can happen: Typical are days with 1-2 brief showers. You might even get two weeks of perfect dry weather or sometimes almost a week of straight rain. If you don't like crowds at all and can deal with unpredictable weather and rain, this is your season. Preferably not September, which is the wettest month. In the rainy season, no tourist crowds spoil the experience. It’s also the green season when rich fauna comes to life.
This sacred Buddhist Temple is located northeast of Krabi and Aonang. It is less than 10 km from Krabi town and 20 km from Aonang. To get there from Aonang took us 40 minutes by scooter. The Tiger Cave Temple is famous for the tiger paw prints inside the cave and the strenuous ascent to the 278 meters high summit. First, we went inside the cave temple where the monks appreciate a donation. We received a little wristband which should bring luck.
Afterward, we climbed the steep stairway with 1.237 steps plus a few more to the summit. Some steps are quite high more than 30 cm which makes the climb even more strenuous. A tall golden Buddha Statue, several shrines and a Footprint of Buddha can be found on the top. The Buddha Footprint is the reason that the temple was built. The view to Krabi and to limestone cliffs which are covered with rainforest is magnificent. Anyhow, if you like hiking the view from Hang Nak was the best one on our trip.
Do respect the sacred place, wear appropriate clothes; shorts knee length and cover your shoulders otherwise you have to rent a sarong. Luckily, we had a small towel with us. You can’t avoid sweating while climbing up with the high humidity even in the dry season. If you are in good shape it may take half an hour to the top otherwise rather 45 minutes. Bring at least a bottle of water. On the top is a tap to refill the bottle.
You may spot monkeys at the first part of the stairway and the temple grounds. They are used to humans and their food. The monkeys are annoying and shouldn't be encouraged better ignore them. Sometimes they bite tourists, and the monkeys may have rabies!
Tip: Walk along the Wonderland Trail which takes around 30 minutes. The trail leads through the jungle, to caves, Buddha statues, the monks live here, and you see very old trees. The walk starts at the end of the temple area.
Where to Stay in Krabi or Aonang
There is a huge variety of accommodations around Krabi and Aonang. It was our first time in Thailand, and we were glad that we'd chosen the Aonang Fiore Resort for five nights. It was the best stay of our whole trip through Thailand. They always had a smile and assisted us where ever needed. They organized the scooter rental, a sunset cruise on their own vessel. The food was outstanding the reason that we ate in the resort restaurant each evening. When we arrived early morning, they already checked us in. We rested for a couple of hours; had an excellent lunch and started to explore the area.
One of the many excellent views on our cruise at the Andaman Sea in the evening close to Railay Beach.