Of all the caves in Phetchaburi province, Khao Luang is the most important and best visited, because of the large number of Buddha images found inside the cave, including a meters high Buddha image cast by order of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V).
The impressive caves are set in Khao Luang hill which is almost 100 meters high, just North of Petchaburi town. They consist of a number of caverns filled with beautifully illuminated golden Buddha images, several chedis and a great number of stalactites hanging from the ceiling.
King Mongkut (Rama IV) who reigned the Kingdom from 1851 until 1868 used the cave to study Buddhism and to meditate. He had a large number of Buddha images placed in the Khao Luang cave.
The Buddha images in Khao Luang cave
His successor to the throne, King Chulalongkorn ordered a large 4 meter high Buddha image be made and placed in the cave dedicated to Kings Rama III and Rama IV. He also had a number of older Buddha images restored.
The atmosphere inside the cave is serene and quiet, Buddhist people will pay respect to the Buddha images burning candles and incense sticks. There are about 170 Buddha images in Khao Luang cave. One of the most beautiful is a huge reclining Buddha image, symbolizing the passing of the Buddha into final Nirvana.
The rays of the sun shining through holes of the ceiling of the caves illuminates the cave chambers, giving the gold colored Buddha images a mystical appearance. Apart from the Buddha images and chedis, you will find stalactites hanging from the caves ceiling, formed over the centuries by dripping water.
An old local legend tells that the caves were once inhabited by young women only.
Monkeys on Khao Luang hill
The caves are accessed through a paved stairs close to the parking lot. Up the road to the cave and in front of the cave itself are groups of monkeys waiting for visitors to give them food. If you like to feed them, you can buy food at one of the stalls in front of the cave. Take care of your belongings though, the monkeys are very cheeky and might go after your bag if they think there is food in it.
Nearby temple and Royal Palace
At the foot of the hill is a large temple complex called Wat Bunthawi, also called Wat Tham Klaep. Here you will find a very large sala that is used for various purposes and an ubosot.
Nearby the Khao Luang caves King Mongkut had a Palace build on top of a hill that is open to visitors, the Phra Nakhon Khiri Palace.
How to get to the Khao Luang cave
Khao Luang cave is located just North of Petchaburi town, and a few kilometers away from Phra Nakhon Khiri historical park.
The best way to get there is by private taxi. Driving time from Bangkok is around two hours, less than one hour from Hua Hin.
Admission & opening hours
The caves are open daily from 9 am until 4 pm. Admission is free.