The fish cave
Published/Last edited or updated: 14th January, 2018
Tham Pla (Fish Cave) is around 17 kilometres out of Mae Hong Son on the Soppong and Pai road and is the most famous feature of the vast Tham Pla, Namtok Pha Sua National Park which covers much of this mountainous north-western corner of the province.
If you’re coming from Soppong them you’ve probably had your fill of caves for a while and there are a million and one spots in Thailand where you can fling stale bread at podgy fish, so for us the best part would be a stroll through the attractive gardens. That’s if you elect to buy a ticket since, as it is a national park, you’ll have to pay 100 baht for the privilege.
If you’d prefer not to pay up, there is a string of excellent car-park cafes where identikit eateries knock up barbeques, sticky rice and papaya salad with a choice of sizzling chicken, fish (not cave ones) or pork on offer. Pick your own from the grill for what for us is the tastiest lunch to be found between Soppong and Mae Hong Son. There’s also fine coffee to be had and though the cafe is actually beyond the ticket booth within the park itself ticket sellers happily waved us through when we explained we’d seen the fish several times before and were just after one of their reinvigorating brews.
There is more to all this than a few fish—the cave is actually part of the huge Tham Pla, Namtok Pha Sua National Park stretching between the Burmese border and the Pai River. It seems a shame that this magnificent stretch of wilderness is trivialised by a bunch of overfed carp and frappuccinos although we guess it does generate park income. If you do go the coffee shop, stop by the small visitors’ centre ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 400 words.)
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.
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