Photo: The only kind of tiger you’ll see here.

Wat Tham Seua (Tiger Cave Temple)

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Best known for tremendous views from a clifftop chedi reached by an exhausting stairway, Wat Tham Seua is a forest temple founded by famous Thai monk, Ajahn Jumnien. The “Tiger Cave Temple” stands as a major tourist attraction, meditation venue and monkey village.

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The name comes from a small cave where wild tigers once slept—they’ve long since vanished and now the cave houses a shrine with a statue of a tiger along with numerous Buddha images. Monks and nuns tie strings around wrists of visitors for good luck, while volunteers sell amulets and take donations to fund funerals for the poor, among other initiatives.

Brazen monkeys are everywhere. Photo taken in or around Wat Tham Seua (Tiger Cave Temple), Krabi, Thailand by David Luekens.

Brazen monkeys are everywhere. Photo: David Luekens

Signalling the area’s Chinese influence, a towering Chinese-style pagoda houses a giant statue of Kuan Yin, the Mahayana Buddhist “goddess” of compassion. Other features include an oddly placed whale skull, human skeletons used to aid in contemplating the impermanence of the body, and an enormous concrete chedi that has been under construction for years.

But the main attraction is a large seated Buddha image and gold-painted chedi set high atop a cliff and surrounded by a lookout platform. The views from here are breathtaking: the peak of Khao Phanom Bencha looms to the north as Ko Jum’s mountain and the steep karst cliffs that cut Railay off from the rest of the mainland rise to the west and the mouth the Krabi river empties into the sea to the south. On a clear day you can see all the way to Ko Phi Phi.

The views are particularly impressive. Photo taken in or around Wat Tham Seua (Tiger Cave Temple), Krabi, Thailand by David Luekens.

The views are particularly impressive. Photo: David Luekens

Our last visit to the top proved magical. Clouds hung here and there as we arrived. A fellow climber uttered, “this is amazing,” after reaching the summit. Suddenly rain began to fall, heavy for a pinch and then gone like a ghost. The sun reappeared as a breeze picked up, chiming the ... Travelfish members only (Around 500 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Wat Tham Seua is located seven km north of downtown Krabi and 20 km northeast of Ao Nang. If going on your own from Krabi town, head up Uttarakit Road and hang a right on Phetkasem Road (the main highway) and then turn left after a kilometre onto the access road, which is marked by a small sign. Alternately you can take a maroon songthaew for 40 baht (this will entail walking some distance to the temple), or book a minibus that includes pick up at your guesthouse for 100 baht one way or 150 baht round trip—these depart Krabi town every two hours from 09:00 to 17:00, with the last one returning from Wat Tham Seua at 19:00. If taking a private taxi, expect to pay 300 baht per way from Krabi town, or 500 baht per way from Ao Nang.

Wat Tham Seua (Tiger Cave Temple)
7 km north of downtown Krabi
Sun up to sun down

Location map for Wat Tham Seua (Tiger Cave Temple)

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