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Tham Luang Pha Wiang

This is a large cave in Northern Thailand but relatively unknown. It’s not on the usual tourist trails but is easy enough to find with Google Maps. It’s only about 1-1/2 hours south of Chiang Mai.

Just past the Buddha image on the left, there is a path to walk up to the cave entrance. Or, you can follow the dirt road up and to the left if you want to drive.

Cave Entrance

Although the entrance appears a little cluttered, the interior is quite large and contains some nice formations.

Inside the Cave

Early on, there is a skylight where the ceiling has collapsed.

Further in, it gets quite dark. Although there is lighting inside, it’s not very good. I highly recommend bringing your own light source, not only for your walking safety but to get a better look at the many formations.

Further into the cave the lighting was turned off. My companion didn’t want to go any further but I wanted to see a little more. Rounding a corner and advancing a little further, I could hear water running. I couldn’t see the source so didn’t know if it was a waterfall or underground stream.

Wanting to get a better look, I went back out to the entrance and retrieved my caving helmet and headlamp, plus an extra flashlight from my vehicle. I headed back to see what it was I heard but this time something unexpected happened.

When going under a low ceiling, I noticed something in the air that I hadn’t seen before. At first I thought it was dust and backed off, not wanting to breath it in. Upon closer examination, I saw that it was actually a heavy mist, most likely caused by the source of the flowing water sounds I heard before.

Although I’m sure it was harmless, at this point I had an uneasy feeling and decided to turn around and go back. I later heard that the reason the lights were off in the back of the cave is because they had a series of landslides and cave-ins, so they wanted to deter tourists from going back any further. I made the right decision, but I’ll always wonder about what exactly was back there.

Tham Luang Pha Wiang is definitely worth visiting. Just be sure to take your own extra lighting and don’t go beyond the lit areas.

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