Tham Pla (Cave Fish) Forest Park is around 17 kilometres from Mae Hong Son on the road to Pai.
It's a very pleasant little spot with a river in a cave feeding a number of creeks that run through the attractive gardened grounds. The main attraction is the fish cave, packed with phluang fish. These fish are similar to carp and have to be some of the best fed ones in Thailand. You can buy small bags of food for them, a popular activity for those on location making merit.
The park is easy to spot from the main road, and if you are travelling under your own steam it is a pleasant way to break the trip to Pai. The car park has some rather good restaurants knocking up barbecues and sticky rice and there’s a fine coffee shop too. Free camping is available.
The cave is actually part of the huge Tham Pla Namtok Pha Sua National Park stretching between the Burmese border and the Pai river. The less than impressive Pa Sua waterfall can be seen beside the road to Ban Rak Thai and it seems a shame that this magnificent stretch of wilderness is trivialised by a bunch of overfed carp and a poor excuse for a waterfall.
By Mark Ord.