Phraya Nakhon Cave

Hidden deep inside in a cave near the seaside resort of Hua Hin in rural southern Thailand, there is an amazing sight. The magnificent gold and green Kukha Karuhas pavilion, the smallest temple in Thailand, is a religious landmark found in the Phraya Nakhon Cave, one of Thailand’s most beautiful and most photographed caves. A popular tourist attraction, the giant limestone cave has trees reaching for its rooftop openings. However, its remote location makes it challenging to get to and limits the number of visitors who are able to catch a glimpse of this stunning sight.

Consisting of two chambers, each with a rooftop opening that allows the sun to shine through, the cave’s atmosphere is tranquil and serene. The in-flowing sunlight contrasts with the cave’s darkness to create a mystical sensation. A forest growing within the cave makes it a bright and colourful natural attraction.

Phraya Nakhon Cave.jpg

Getting to the Phraya Nakhon Cave

The Phraya Nakhon Cave is located in the depths of the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park in Thailand’s Prachuap Khiri Khan province. To get there, prepare yourself for a long, hot trek. You will begin by taking a 45-minute drive from Hua Hin to the small village of Bang Pu located by the beach. Along the way, you will be treated to magnificent views of beaches, mountains, and forests.

From there, you travel either by boat around the cape to the Laem Sala Beach or hike for 30 minutes across the hill. The boat ride costs 150 to 200 baht per person round trip and can be combined with a visit to Monkey Island, while the hike consists of tracks and stairs with viewing platforms along the way. At the beaches of Bang Pu village and Laem Sala, you will find restaurants and small shops to visit.

From the beach, you still have a challenging 430-meter hike of uneven and steep steps through the forest to contend with. The climb is steep enough to require the use of hand-rope and takes roughly 30 minutes. There are rest stops where you can catch views of the beach, sea, and small islands nearby. Be sure to take your time, wear solid shoes, drink enough water, and wear insect repellent. As you approach the top of the hill, the path gets easier as it starts descending into first cave.

Phraya Nakhon Cave

When you finally arrive, you will find a large rustic restaurant, be assigned a guide, and pay a National Park fee of 200 baht. There is no admission fee for the cave. An information board with a map will show you the layout of chambers and attractions. In the first chamber, there is a dry waterfall and stalactites and stalagmites formed hundreds of years ago. Holes in the ceiling caused by earthquakes long ago let in rays of light.

A short wooden path called crocodile back path, because it looks like the back of a crocodile, leads from the first to the second cave. King Chulalonkorn the Great (Rama V), who fell in love with the area’s beauty, built the second chamber in 1890. Its centrepiece, the Kuha Kharuhas (Kharuehat) royal pavilion, is illuminated by the sunlight falling from a circular hole in the saddled ceiling. Sparkling finials surround a statue of Phraya Nakhon, and bushes and trees grow inside. The temple stands on a hill surrounded by trees and vegetation.

King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) visited the cave in 1925, and King Mongkut stayed in Khao Sam Roi Yot to see the total solar eclipse with European guests in 1968. Both of these kings inscribed their names on the cave’s walls. The recent king of Thailand, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), also visited the cave but did not write his name on the wall.

Behind the hill with the pavilion is a rock that looks like a crocodile. Phaya Nakhon Cave Royal Pavilion is the symbol of Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Langurs, a type of monkey that inhabits forests, can be seen playing and jumping around the cave, but inside the cave, serenity and tranquillity pervade.

The best time to visit the caves is in the early morning when sunlight enters and illuminates the hilltop altar draped with a pink cloth over it. After you have finished your climb and cave visit, a stop by the restaurant for some refreshments is a great way to end your adventure.

Tips and Practical Information

If you would like to stay in the area, you can rent family bungalows on Laem Sala Beach or camp in tents, or a boutique resort in Hua Hin. Visiting during the week is a great way to avoid the crowds and to have a more tranquil experience, as the weekends and holidays can be quite busy. If you are short on time or energy, catch a ride to the cave in a minivan. Finally, hiring a guide who knows the area will help you make the most of your visit.

Two hundred years ago, a Thai man named Chao Praya Nakhon Sri Thammarat sought cover from the rain and discovered a cave. Named after this man, the Praya Nakhon cave is home to Thailand’s smallest temple. The Praya Nakhon Cave and its royal pavilion are magical and magnificent landmarks. Although the climb to them is steep and difficult, seeing them is well worth the effort.


Other Blogs


T: +66 2-514-8124

E: [email protected]

Aleenta Hua Hin Resort & Spa

183 Moo 4, Pak Nam Pran,
Pranburi, Hua Hin,
77220 Thailand

T: +66 32-618-333

Inquiries & Feedback



Spent an incredible week at this magnificent resort earlier this month. What an amazing place to get away from it all. The villas are incredibly designed with comfort & spaciousness being the top priority. The hospitality by the entire team from the Resort Manager Matthias & Executive Chef Valero right on down to every staff member exceeded my expectations in every way. Thanks for taking such great care of us. I will definitely be back.
- by Paul C on 6/28/16. Stay date: Jun 2016 -
This was my first trip to Thailand and I was worried in case I had missed the boat on the Thailand of old. I should not have worried. This small, intimate and friendly five star resort is the most perfect position on a spectacular stretch of beach at Pak Nampran Bay. The emphasis on sustainability and doing things in a green and eco fashion makes you feel like you are also doing your bit. As a passionate foodie, I loved the fact that the menu is created from produce organically grown at the eco farm a few kilometres away. The menu tells you how far each dish has travelled to reach your table. One of my favorite moments was waking up to watch the sunrise from the comfort of my huge squishy bed, which overlooked the beach. Each afternoon, someone delivers a beautiful tray of fresh canapes to your room. You can even choose what time you would like to enjoy happy hour! It's rare to find a high end hotel with such a down to earth, friendly vibe and most importantly of all, a very clear and passionate social conscience. Please keep on doing what you are doing, please don't change. I'll be back and thank you for an unforgettable stay.
- by Rebecca Thomas on 8/11/16. Stay date: Aug 2016 -
My husband and I spent part of our honeymoon on your premises from December 5 to December 12, 2016. Our stay at Aleenta was absolutely fantastic and felt way too short! We enjoyed your kind hospitality, the extraordinary food, the facilities, the massages and the view we had from our room to the fullest. My husband and I are experienced travellers but we have hardly come across such friendliness, kindness and willingness as from you to make our holidays so special and unique. We will surely come back and already miss you a lot. Thank you so very much again!
- by Alexandra & Nils Michael on 1/9/17. Stay date: December 2016 -
An amazing experience! We were a large group for a wedding and it was such a nice experience. I actually ended up sleeping on hammock. The food was really good, and all the service was amazing.
- by Chelsea P. -