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MANATHAI Khao Lak
MANATHAI Khao Lak
MANATHAI Khao Lak

A Tour of Khao Lak’s Nearby Temples: Caves, Pagodas and Monkeys

A Tour of Khao Lak’s Nearby Temples: Caves, Pagodas and Monkeys!

MANATHAI Khao Lak is situated in a glorious part of Phang Nga Province’s western coastline. A series of breath taking white sandy beaches hug this coastline, with the Andaman Sea on one side and an imposing mountain range on the other. As such, Khao Lak offers up a great blend of water-based adventures including scuba diving and snorkelling and land-based sports like trekking and mountain biking. Perhaps one of the lesser known activities on Khao Lak is exploring its temples, pagodas and caves. Below we have listed our 3 favourite temples in the Phang Nga Province to prove that it’s not all just a glorious haven of beaches and turquoise waters (as if that wasn’t enough!).

An important thing to remember when visiting temples in Thailand and in South-East Asia in general is to dress modestly. The basic rule for both men and women is to cover shoulders and knees and ideally ankles too. A pashmina or scarf can be worn around shoulders/knees to cover them sufficiently and some of the more tourist-friendly temples will have these ready to hand out. Always remember to be respectful of the temple and those worshipping, these are deeply religious sites with thousands of years of history and significance to Buddhists.

Dragon Cave Temple

Now don’t let the name fool you, we can’t promise a cave jam-packed full of dragons. We probably wouldn’t recommend going there if it was! In fact, the Dragon Cave Temple is an impressive limestone cave in Phang Nga Province that is said to have special healing powers. Inside, monks prepare herbal teas for medicinal purposes in this beautiful natural wonder which can allegedly lower the blood cholesterol of those who drink it. The temple is set amongst a dramatic limestone cave which features both stalactites (icicle-shaped formations that hang from the ceiling of a cave) and stalagmites (formations that grow upwards from the cave floor). The magical atmosphere inside the temple is something that everyone who visits Khao Lak should witness- we highly recommend it here!

Bang Riang Pagoda Temple (Wat Bang Riang)

Wat Bang Riang is Phang Nga’s largest temple pagoda, situated on top of the Khao Lan Mountain in Thap Put. The hilltop location gives stunning views of the surrounding mountains and villages that make Phang Nga such a beautiful part of Thailand. The large temple grounds feature a giant, golden seated Buddha image protected by the five headed snake Naga, an imposing statue of Kwan Yin (the Chinese Goddess of Mercy) and of course the Pagoda itself.

The Pagoda (named Chedi Phutthathambanlue) stands at an impressive 109 metres tall. It is said to contain relics of the Buddha and has monks living inside the temple, creating an amazingly spiritual place. The temple grounds are large and spread out with steps separating the iconic structures so you will easily lose yourself amongst the surroundings and glorious views for a couple of hours! The remote location of the temple amongst the countryside means that it is not very popular with tourists so you will often get to experience the true wonder and tranquility of Wat Bang Riang in peace.

Suwan Khuha Temple (Wat Suwan Khuha)

Known locally as Wat Tam or Cave Temple, Wat Suwan Khuha is located inside a limestone mountain called Suwan Kuha which houses a large complex of caves including Tam Yai, Tam Jaeng, Tam Meud and Tam Kaew. Tam Yai is the largest of the caves (some 20 metres by 40 metres) and acts as the site entrance. There is an entrance fee of Baht 20 for the temple. The area in front of the cave is the feeding ground of a large number of macaque monkeys, who are very happy to welcome visitors to the temple with open arms particularly if you have bought some bananas from one of the vendors to feed them!

The lower level of the temple is decorated with intricate ceramic tiles and several Buddha images, the most memorable of which is an impressive 15 metre long reclining Buddha statue. On the upper levels there are two particularly impressive caves- the Light Cave and the Dark Cave- which lead directly out into the forest. From here you will get a panoramic view of the surrounding forest, which is especially beautiful early in the morning when light pours in through the canopy of trees. The best thing about this temple is whichever way you are facing, towards to majestic cave temple or the magnificent forest, the result is guaranteed to be breathtaking.

You can visit these temples either by taxi or on an organised tour. Speak to one of our staff members at reception for more information and advice, we would be very happy to help.