Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi, Thailand

Krabi is not the cultural or spiritual capital of Thailand like Bangkok or Chiang Mai. One can visit the province and not even notice a temple, the beach is a blissful distraction. If you can tear yourself away from island hopping for a day, a trip to Tiger Cave Temple is a unique experience, and free! From Krabitown it’s a quick visit, Ao Nang a bit longer – but worth it. You could rent a scooter, hop in a cab, or head to the bus stop.

The bus is the cheapest method for sure, but it takes quite a while waiting to fill up and making local stops along the way. Be sure to have enough time! The buildings by the entrance way are colorful and extravagant.

I will admit I was frightened of all the dogs running around and barking initially, but soon realized they weren’t interested in me. Entering the actual temple, also known as Wat Tham Suea, remember to dress appropriately and take off your shoes. The fact that it is located inside a cave is pretty cool.

It adds an interesting element to photos. However, I found it a lot kitschier than other temples.

There are two sets of stairs you can tackle here. One leads up to the iconic temple, the other leads to a jungle like area. The latter is almost 200 stairs and less visited. We acquired a trail dog, checked out the caves and tall trees.

I would recommend taking on the main event first and saving this for second to make sure you have enough energy. Climbing the 1,237 stairs is the reason most people make their way out to the temple.

It’s a strenuous route, sometimes stairs are over a foot tall, to get to the summit of the 900’ mountain. Stairs are sporadically marked with how far you have come.

In the heat of the day this climb can be difficult, but if you take your time and bring water it’s manageable. There is even a bathroom along the way and clean water at the top to refill your bottle! Our climb up was not very exciting, we did spot one monkey that quickly ran off. When we got to the top the views were outstanding and so worth the effort. Gaze out into the mountains.

Over the town below.

The gilded stupa.

All of the shrines

and statues.

Best of all the big Buddha.

We took in the views and were just about to head down when I heard someone say to their friend there was a monkey. I scurried camera in my hand for a photo shoot.

Did it know how perfect its pose was?

Was it sitting perfectly still on purpose showing off those impeccable fangs in a lazy yawn for all to snap.

I was so thankful to have this experience, my first real monkey sighting. Midday there are less monkeys around, in the morning and evenings apparently they are up here in large numbers. Heading back down would be a whole other world, we would encounter TONS of monkeys!

Mothers coddling their babies.

That was probably my favorite sight.

The babies look so innocent and adorable.

Though these monkeys are anything but.

These thieves will steal anything they can get their hands on – so be cautious. Your water.

Your 7-up.

Your blue slurpy.

Even your sunglasses.

Keep anything you don’t want stolen zipped up in a bag! We even caught them monkeying around.

Anything goes! By the time we made it down to the base there was so much monkey action going on.

I heard that people get bit and monkeys can be aggressive, but everything looked fine to me!

There was even a stand selling food for the monkeys, peanuts and bananas.

So we decided to partake and bought some feed. Jeff went first and one hopped right on his shoulder.

I was nervous, but wanted the experience. I sat and quickly a monkey came right on my lap. Paused for a picture, but notice the bowl beside me.

It’s empty. I lingered too long and the monkey next to me got angry. He didn’t want me hanging around if I didn’t have anything to offer him. Remember those fangs? I was lucky. He did nip me to let me know I wasn’t welcome anymore, but there was no blood drawn.

My face caught on camera right as it was happening Cautiously I walked away even though I wanted to run. All I was left with was a bit of bruising, but there are horror stories of people getting bit so bad they had to go to the hospital. It’s your choice whether you want to feed to monkeys, just know the risks that go along with it. Feeling very fortunate, I went and got a thai iced tea from the concession stand and decided to take an air conditioned taxi back to town, instead of the open air local bus. The Tiger Cave Temple was wild and amazing, something I will not forget.

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