Wat Suwan Kuha
The Suwan Kuha Temple is part of a complex of caves inside a limestone mountain around 10km from Phang Nga (near Phuket). The lower level includes brightly painted ceramic tiles and many golden Buddhas, including a 15m reclining Buddha. A flight of steps takes you to an upper cavern with strangely coloured rock formations and a large statue on a high throne.
|The Upper Cavern|
The temple is well known for the troupe of monkeys that live in the rocks and trees around the cave and who are always on the lookout for food from tourists. There are stalls in the outer courtyard where visitors can buy food for the monkeys and for themselves.
|The outer courtyard is home to a troupe of monkeys|
Suwan Kuha can be reached by bus, taxi or as part of an organised tour.
Wat Tham Suea (Tiger Cave Temple)
The Tiger Cave Temple is situated in an area of forests and mountains around 3 km from Krabi. The cave is a place of archaeological interest as stone tools and fragments of pottery have been found here.
|Thousands of Buddha statues are on display|
The temple itself was built in 1975 and is home to a community of monks and nuns. The story goes that a monk stopped to meditate here and saw tigers roaming around the cave. Alternative explanations for the name are that ancient tiger footprints were found in the stone floor of one of the caves, or that a nearby rock appears to resemble a tiger’s paw. Whatever the truth, tigers are no longer found here. However inside the temple you can climb a short flight of stairs to see a large ceramic tiger. You can also see thousands of Buddha statues on display.
|A ceramic tiger guards the temple|
Outside in the courtyard a vast new temple is being built, surrounded by tigers and dragons. There is also a staircase of 1,237 steps that you can climb to see a giant Buddha and a spectacular view across the surrounding countryside. (Be aware that the stairs are strenuous and that it may take up to 45 minutes to reach the top.)
Dragon Cave Temple
Also in Phang Nga province is the Dragon Cave Temple with its dramatic stalagmites and stalactites. The Dragon Cave is reputed to have healing powers and you can see monks preparing herbal teas for medicinal purposes. It can be visited as part of a tour from Khao Lak.