Perched 300 meters above the Andaman Sea, the Tiger Cave Temple Thailand (Wat Tham Sua) glows gold among the green hills. This Buddist Temple is named after the Tiger paw prints found in the cave and is best known for the 1,260 steps you must climb to see the temple. This sacred place is a must-do on your list of things to do in Krabi.
We visited the temple at sunset in early 2020 and were treated to gorgeous views, and a peaceful appreciation of this amazing place. See below for 5 things to know before you visit the Tiger Cave Temple Thailand.
You Can Do it on Your Own (or not)
If you have a car or motorbike, it is easy to visit the Tiger Cave Temple on your own. It is about a 20-minute easy drive from Ao Nang and Krabi. Once you reach the parking lot, you will see several buildings, and you can enter through the entrance area (there is no fee but they accept donations). The temple is usually open from 8-5 each day (although you may be able to come down from the temple after 5).
If you don’t have a car or motorbike, you can take the Songthaew (local transit bus) for between 50-150 baht each way. This will drop you off outside the Tiger Cave Temple Lot and you can walk right in.
Your last option is to book a tour. Many tours that include a visit to the Tiger Cave Temple also visit several other sites such as the Emerald Pool. You can find a few tour options here that include visiting Wat Tham Sua.
The Temple is a Sacred Site
The Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi was built relatively recently in 1975. The story goes, the temple was built for a large tiger that sought shade in the cave and was discovered by a monk. Around the area, you can find tiger and Buddha statues. Make sure to check out the cave at the base and not just the open-air temple at the top.
Since it is a sacred site, you should also dress appropriately, including covering your shoulders and knees. You may also see monks practicing as you explore.
Not only is the Temple Amazing but the Views are Stunning
The temple itself is beautiful in the open air on top of a mountain, but the views are truly stunning. One direction looks out across the town of Krabi to the Sea, while the other direction looks out over the jagged stone stacks as far as your eye can see.
Don’t forget to pause on your way up to take in the views and give yourself plenty of time at the top to enjoy. We also visited at sunset and highly recommend coming early in the day or late at night – the light was perfect and it was just a bit cooler. Even at the end of the day, the hike up the stairs was hot.
You Have to Climb 1,260 Stairs
There are a lot of stairs to get to the top on the Krabi Tiger Cave Temple. As long as you are in decent condition, and plan to take a few breaks along the way, it’s really not too bad. We climbed up with out 8 year old and 11 year old twins and no one had any problems (short of a bit of complaining).
Definitely bring a full water bottle and avoid climbing the steps in the middle of the day – sunset and sunrise are the best options. There is also no real shade on the climb up so a hat and sunscreen is a good idea as well.
You will Likely See Monkeys
The lower part of the stairs is a monkey hang out. We saw at least 40 monkeys simply lounging on the stairs. You will need to carefully pick your way through these monkeys who will try to steal your things if given the opportunity.
Keep a tight grip on any bags, cameras and water bottles. We carried a backpack and kept everything in the bag except my camera which I held onto for dear life.
There have also been stories of people getting bit by the monkeys, so don’t underestimate these rascals.
As we walked by the monkeys, they grabbed at our clothes and gear.
Click on the image below to see a short video of our visit to the Tiger Cave Temple Thailand.
Common Questions about the Tiger Cave Temple Thailand
How do I get to the Tiger Cave Temple in Thailand?
The Tiger Cave Temple, located in Krabi, Thailand, can be reached by taking a taxi or hiring a local tuk-tuk from the city center. It is approximately a 15-minute drive from Krabi Town.
Is there an entrance fee to visit the Tiger Cave Temple?
No, there is no entrance fee to visit the Tiger Cave Temple. However, donations are welcome and appreciated to support the maintenance and upkeep of the temple grounds.
Can I visit the Tiger Cave Temple even if I’m not physically fit or unable to climb the stairs?
Absolutely! The Tiger Cave Temple offers more than just the challenging climb to the summit. There are other areas to explore, such as the temple’s main hall, meditation caves, and picturesque surroundings. That said, the best part of the temple is at the top of the stairs and the only way to get there is to climb the steps.
Summary of the Tiger Cave Temple Thailand
We really enjoyed visiting this temple. When we first came to Krabi this was on our list of things to do in Krabi, but not at the very top. I’m so glad we made time to visit the temple as it was a very different experience than the other activities we did in the area. We really enjoyed the 2 hours we spent climbing and taking in the sights at the top.
Looking for more on visiting Thailand? Combine this activity with a visit to the Emerald Pool, or check out: