I love being in the middle of nature! That's why in all the countries I lived in or visit, I always find a way to escape into the woods. However, I confess that if in the middle of this "escape" there is a cave, I usually skip this part. What is the fun of visiting a dark, cold place full of bats?
However, it's a good thing that my curiosity is greater than my prejudice. Because in this world I have seen incredible caves! One of the most amazing, no doubt, was the Tham Lod, located in the most hippie village of Thailand, in Pai.
Tham Lod or Lod Cave
Tham Lod is one of Pai's best-known tourist attractions. Practically all of the closed tour packages that are sold in the city have the cave in the itinerary. Fame, of course, is not without reason. The place is really amazing!
To get to the cave there are several options. You can go by motorbike to the place, you can hire a private driver or a small tour. All the options are very affordable. As I was with two friends, we chose to hire a private driver spending about $600 bahts/each to have a car at our disposal all day long! A real luxury for almost nothing!
Upon arrival at Tham Lod, you will need to pay a $150 bahts entry fee, which includes a guide and a ride on a bamboo boat inside the cave. You can also buy food for the fish that live in the lagoon that crosses the cave if you want to feed them. But I warn you, they are very fat and do not seem to be very hungry.
Right after buying your ticket, one of the guides will approach you holding an old gas flashlight. You'll follow them to the cave entrance, which is huge!
Exotic and giant stalactites and stalagmites
Tham Lod is 1666 meters high and in total there are three integrated caves. The first cave also called the "column cave" is marked by giant stalactites and stalagmites. Yes, some are like a building! In this part of the cave is a strange formation that looks like a white waterfall carved in stone. Very nice!
The second part is the so-called "doll's cave", in it several stalactites and stalagmites form animals and even popcorn. According to the guide, they are very rare formations and have never been seen outside Thailand. I thought it was really amazing!
The last cave, also called "Coffin's Cave" is only accessible through a river that passes in the middle of the cave. To get there, you will climb on a traditional bamboo boat that takes you from one place to another. This tour is better than any Disney toy! I swear to you!
At the end, a small Thai sailor, with his gas-powered flashlight from the last century, is driving the boat. Underneath, a small lake, where fat catfish live and lots of them are fed by tourists. It's a lot of fun. If you have a flashlight, pointing to the ceiling, you will see an absurd colony of bats. The ceiling of the cave is so lined with animals that you hardly see the rock formations.
Coming to the coffin cave, more surprises... This cave has that name, precisely because inside it were found several coffins over 1000 years old. The guide couldn't explain to us who they were from and why they were placed there. But the fact is that they stay there decorating the landscape and they don't look much like the coffins of today.
Bats over the sun
I'm not a bit of a bat lover, and, yes, they're all over Tham Lod. There are so many bats, if you want, you can wait until the sun goes down to see their flock from the cave. They say it's a spectacle, how many bats come out of the cave. But I'd rather enjoy other Father attractions.
There's a specific tour to see the bat flock if you want to.... Only by visiting the cave, you can be happy!
I visited caves in Brazil, in Eastern Europe, but nothing compares to Tham Lod. It was undoubtedly one of the most incredible caves I have ever been and much more fun than any Disney attraction.
Even if you don't like caves, I highly recommend you visit this one if you have the opportunity!
When to go?
In the months of July to October, due to the rainy season, the cave is usually closed.
Where to stay?
Misty View Guesthouse: a little far from the center, but very comfortable and simple. Good cost-benefit.
Puri Pai Villa: sophisticated, chic, and super comfortable. Good option if you want something more special
Pairaside Guesthouse: Breakfast included, mountain climate, super cozy
Where to eat?
Two Sister Restaurant: simple and tasty Thai food. Affordable and luxury free
Pai Night Market: pleases any kind of stomach. Simply delight yourself with street food
Na's Kitchen: fabulous! Amazing and delicious Thai food