One of Thailand’s most beautiful and certainly the most photographed one is the Phraya Nakhon cave in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, about a 45 minutes drive South of Hua Hin. This impressive cave is located inside Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park and getting to the cave you will have some magnificent views of beaches, mountains and forests.
The Phraya Nakhon cave consists of two chambers. The ceiling of both chambers are open allowing the rays of the sun to come inside, illuminating the caves giving it a mystical appearance. The atmosphere inside the cave is tranquil and serene, especially when there are not many people around.
On entering the cave the first chamber contains an information board with a map that shows the layout of the chambers and the attractions contained in them.
The first thing you will see when entering the cave is a dry waterfall in the first chamber. This chamber also contains stalagmites and stalactites, as does the other chamber. The main chamber to the left of the entrance chamber contains the famous Kuha Karuhas pavilion.
As the roof of the two chambers are open, rain and sun light come into the cave allowing bushes and trees to grow there. Late afternoon, it gets dark quickly inside the cave and you should make it back in time across the hill to catch the boat back.
Kuha Karuhas pavilion
The Phraya Nakhon cave is best known for the Kuha Karuhas pavilion in the main chamber. The pavilion was built at the end of the 19th century for the visit of King Chulalongkorn the Great (Rama V). Later, King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) and the present King of Thailand, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) also visited the cave.
The main chamber contains the signatures of both King Rama V and King Rama VII on the wall. The best views of the pavilion can be had early morning, when most sun light enters the cave through the open ceiling. The provincial seal of Prachuap Khiri Khan contains an image of the Kuha Karuhas pavilion.
The climb to the cave
Reaching the cave requires quite a bit of effort. The trip involves two legs.
The first one starts at the car park of Bang Pu village where you can either climb across the hill (around 30 minutes) or take a short longtail boat trip to Laem Sala beach. The boat round trip will cost around 150 Baht per person, but usually only runs when there are enough people to fill up the boat.
The second leg of the trip starts at Laem Sala beach. A few hundred meters walk will take you to the start of a rather steep and rocky path to the cave. About half way up the hill is a view point where you can taka a break and enjoy great views of the beach, the sea and a number of small nearby islands.
The climb up the hill goes through some beautiful forest, where cicada insects live producing remarkably loud noise. It takes about 30 minutes to reach to cave, and as it can get very hot and humid, bring enough drinking water and wear insect repellent. The track up the hill is very rocky, be sure to wear solid shoes. At the beaches of Bang Pu village and Laem Sala you will find a number of restaurants and small shops selling drinks and souvenirs.
How to get to Phraya Nakhon cave
The cave is located inside Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. It takes about 45 minutes to Bang Pu village by car from Hua Hin.
Admission & opening hours
Entrance fee to Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park is 200 Thai Baht per person. There is no admission fee for the cave. The longtail boat trip from Bang Pu village to Laem Sala beach will cost around 150 Baht per person round trip, but might vary per season and the number of people taking the trip.