Some Caves In Thailand III

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Since 2005, when the second part of this series was published, the work by the SMCC in Thailand has continued. Although the surveys of caves found on the main expeditions to Phetchabun and Nan have been published in the expedition reports, numerous other caves have been explored and surveyed.
 
A total of 20 new cave surveys, from seven provinces, are included along with location details and a description. 
 

Chiang Mai

 

Tham Chang-Pha Hok

Muang Na, Pha Daeng National Park, Chiang Dao
47Q 490776 2183626        Altitude 790 m
Length: 148 m  Vertical range: 13 m
Other names: Tham Naresuan; Tham Jhang-Pha Hok; Tham Chiang Pha Hok
 
The cave is in the grounds of a forest temple on the northern edge of Pha Daeng National Park, about 1 km from the Myanmar border. A track signposted "Muang Na Caves" leads northwards from near the bridge just east of Muang Na town. After about 1km, while still amongst buildings, take a concrete road on the right which ends at a crematorium.  Continue on the dirt track through the fields (concrete and paving on the steep sections) to a forest temple. Do not attempt the track when it is wet!
Tham Chang-Pha Hok is at the back of the temple with a wooden gate and is signed.
This is a large, well-decorated cave which said to have been the last place King Naresuan stayed on Siamese soil in 1605AD before meeting his death at Muang Hang, 30km to the north. The main chamber has been developed as a Buddhist shrine. At the back of this chamber a short climb up over a rockfall leads to a completely dark inner chamber with some formations, including some active flowstone.
The cave was explored and surveyed by Philippe Jarlan's team in July 2008. Martin Ellis and Terry Bolger surveyed the cave again on 18 September 2009.
Ellis (2005); Jarlan et al. (2010); National Park Office (2006); Sidisunthorn et al. (2006)
 

Lampang

Tham Pha Ngam / Tham Nam

Ban Mae Phrik, Mae Chon National Park, Wang Nuea
Tham Pha Ngam 47Q 560098 2112598 Altitude 468 m
Tham Nam 47Q 560024 2112642 Altitude 448 m
Length: 1,367 m Vertical range: 41 m
 
From Wang Nuea take the H1035 south for 3.5 km to Ban Huai Khoi.  Tham Phra Ngam is inconspicuously signed in Thai.  The side road leads to Ban Mae Phrik with occasional signs to Tham Phra Ngam.  From Ban Mae Phrik head westwards and continue where the sealed road becomes a dirt track and reach Wat Tham Phra Ngam.  The cave is not in the grounds of the wat! Turn left at the gate to the wat, back onto a dirt track and follow this up the valley to the national park ranger station. Head straight on (Tham Phra Ngam is signed 800 m away) and drive along the grass covered track to a parking area with a partically built building.  Tham Phra Ngam is just up the hill from the car park.
 
A 400 m long easy walking passage ends at a squeeze over a mud fill with a strong draught coming out. The mud fill was later dug out at the end of the fossil passage to give access to another 100 m of passage that ended at a 3 m high draughting boulder choke that was felt to be close to the surface.
Half way between the entrance and the crawl there is a small network of passages leading to a descending, vadose passage that descends three awkward climbs to end at a 4 m pitch into a lower seasonal streamway.
 
The lower streamway has been explored upstream for 150 m to a traverse over a shallow pool, but the passage could be seen to continue and was draughting. Downstream the passage ended at a seasonal sandy sump that was dug through from the resurgence (Tham Nam) to link the two caves.
 
The upper cave was explored and surveyed o 15n December 2009 by a team of SMCC and San Diego Grotto members (Martin Ellis, Dane Joseph and Jackie Jaskowiak. On two return visits in March 2010 Martin Ellis and Phil Collett explored and surveyed the vadose linking passage and lower streamway and on the second trip the upper cave was extended and Tham Nam resurgence connected to the stream passage. This is the longest surveyed cave in Lampang province.
National Park Office (2006)
 

Tham Luk Kae

Ban Mae Phrik, Mae Chon National Park, Wang Nuea
47Q 560962 2112989 Altitude 492 m
Length: 306 m Vertical range: 5 m
 
From Wang Nuea take the H1035 road south for 3.5 km to Ban Huai Khoi where Tham Phra Ngam is inconspicuously signed in Thai to the west. The side road leads to Ban Mae Phrik with occasional signs to Tham Phra Ngam. From Ban Mae Phrik head westwards and continue where the sealed road becomes a dirt track and reach Wat Tham Phra Ngam. Turn left at the gate to the wat, back onto a dirt track and follow this up the valley to the national park ranger station. A couple of hundred metres before the wooden bridge into the ranger station Tham Luk Kae is signposted as being 100 m to the north of the track.
 
The cave consists of a single sub-horizontal fossil passage.  The floor is mainly dry and dusty mud and in some sections the cave has been filled with massive flowstone which reduces the passage to a stooping height. It ends at a mud choke.
 
Tham Luk Kae was explored and surveyed by Martin Ellis, Dane Joseph and Jackie Jaskowiak on 15 December 2009.
 

Loei

Tham Maholan

Wat Phu Tham Maholan, Nong Hin
47Q 806849 1894284 Altitude 375 m
Length: 364 m Vertical range: 7 m
Other names: Tham Nam Maholan
 
The wat is signed to the east off the H201 highway at the south side of the town of Nong Hin. Drive through the archway and follow the concrete road to the gate to the monastery.  To open the gate dial the phone number painted on them  - 08 3328 0115 - and they will open automatically.  Follow the track along to some buildings and then the path which continues straight on for another 50 m to the few steps up to the entrance.
 
Tham Maholan is probably being a fossil outflow cave.  The entrance is 3 to 4 m wide and 6 m high opening into a chamber with a cement platform surmounted by a Buddha flanked with nagas.  Beyond this entrance chamber a 2 m diameter passage leads to a large, 10 m wide by 6 m high, flat-floored chamber which has numerous phreatic pockets in the roof and walls.  At the end of this large passage is a reclining Buddha.  Beyond the reclining Buddha are smaller decorated passages with many active gours and pools. The cave ends at a mud choked squeeze below a stalactite boss. This has a slight draught and is a possible dig site. The cliff to the southwest has prehistoric red paintings.
 
Tham Maholan was surveyed on 16 April 2011 by Martin Ellis and Phil Collett.
Charoenwong (1989); Fontaine et al. (2005); Fontaine et al. (2005); Perez-Huerta et al. (2007); Robinson & Smith (1997); Ueno et al. (1995)
 

Tham Pha Lom

Phu Pha Lom Forest Park, Ban Phia, Muang Loei
47Q 804952 1943702 Altitude 463 m
Length: 325 m Vertical range: 18 m
Other names: Tham Lom
 
From Loei town take the H2138 eastwards towards Na Duang. Turn north onto the H2249 as far as Ban Phia.  In the village take the turning to the east next to the wat and follow the road for about 3 km.  A turning north leads to the karst hills and ends at the park headquarters. From the Phu Pha Lom Forest Park headquarters a good concrete path leads up to a col and then down into the large collapsed doline behind. After 500 m you reach a sala and the path to the smaller footpath to the cave goes off to the left. This ascends the side of the doline, passing a 2 m long relict cave, with the aid of some wooden ladders to reach the cave.
 
This is a large fossil cave with passages about 5 m wide and 8 m high. It consists of a series of oxbows close to the cliff face and there are four entrances. At the southern end of the cave there was a non-draughting crawl that wasn't explored. Opposite the northern entrance a very large cave entrance could be seen high in the cliff opposite, about 300 m away and obviously the continuation of the same cave.
 
The cave was surveyed by Phil Collett and Martin Ellis on 22 March 2008.
 

Tham Pha Pu

Wat Tham Pha Pu, Ban Nam Pu, Muang Loei
47Q 788043 1945329 Altitude 294 m
Length: 240 m Vertical range: 5 m
Other names: Tham Piang Din
 
From Loei take the H201 north for about 7 km and then turn west onto the H2115 towards Tha Li.  Opposite the school in Ban Nam Phu there is a turning to the north.  The road goes through an arch into the wat grounds. After 2 km the main wat buildings are reached and the built up cave entrance is at the base of the cliff.
 
At the foot of the cliff nearest the car park the tiled steps lead down into the heavily developed cave.  Straight ahead is the main shrine and on the right is the stalagmite with the holy water dripping into a hollow on the top of it.  To the left of the entrance are some low passages with a couple more shrines.
 
The cave is famous as the wat was established by the well known meditation monk Phra Ajaan Khamdee Pabhaso (1902-1984). Ajaan Khamdee was a pupil of Ajaan Singh Khantiyagamo, a senior disciple of Ajaan Mun. After several years of wandering in various parts of northeastern Thailand he came to Tham Pha Pu in 1955. Finding it an ideal place to practice, he stayed there for most of the remainder of his life, moving down to the foot of the hill below the cave when he became too old to negotiate the climb.
 
The cave was surveyed by Mike Clayton, Phil Collett, Emma Porter and Martin Ellis on 11 February 2011.
Charoenwong (1989); Fontaine et al. (2005b); Robinson & Smith (1997)
 

Tham Pha Pong

Wat Tham Pha Pong, Pha Phung, Wang Saphung
47Q 784046 1917318 Altitude 413 m
Length: 237 m Vertical range: 27 m
Other names: Tham Pha Phung
 
On the road from Phu Ruea to Wang Saphung the wat is signed in Thai to the south of the road. The dirt track leads to a small forest wat. From the wat 550 steps lead up the side of the hill. At the top of the steps there is a rough path with a couple of scrambles leading to another 100 steps to the entrance.
 
The 15 m wide by 5 m high entrance has a very strong draught blowing out of it. Just inside the entrance there is a fence with an unlocked gate. The passage opens up into a chamber 50 m across and 40 m high. The way on is to the left where some rough steps lead up past a water tank to the top of a small rise.The passage then drops gently to a second entrance chamber, going through another fence and unlocked gate. This second chamber has some very large formations and a large Buddha. There is a skylight entrance at the back of this chamber. It may be possible to climb the huge formation to reach a continuation of the chamber/passage.
 
Tham Pha Pong was surveyed by Phil Collett and Martin Ellis on 23 February 2009.
 

Tham Pha Ya

Wat Tham Pha Ya, Phu Pha Ya, Na Duang
47Q 807454 1945387 Altitude 497 m
Length: 270 m+ Vertical range: 32 m
 
Tham Pha Ya is signed to east of the H201 highway in Loei town. From Loei town take the H2138 eastwards towards Na Duang.  Turn north onto the H2249 as far as Ban Phia.  In the village take the turning to the east next to the wat and follow the road past the turning to the Phu Pha Lom Forest Park. Wat Tham Pha Ya, a large tmple complex, is north of the road a kilometre before you reach Ban Huai Tat.
 
From the wat 500 steps lead up to the big entrance. At the entrance there is a large shrine.  Behind the shrine, in the large passage, ascending the slope of dry guano to reach a first chamber with a colony of 'squealer' bats.  Beyond this is a second chamber which is about 10°C warmer, the air is rank with ammonia , the floor is crawling with bugs and there is a wall of white noise from the huge main bat colony. Every evening these bats leave the cave at 17:00 in a large exit flight which lasts around an hour. The passage was seen to continue, but was not explored.  Back near the entrance there are some side passages and entrances and a few metres around the cliff there is another short section of passage.
 
The accessible parts of the cave were surveyed by Phil Collett and Martin Ellis on 25 February 2009.
 

Wat Tham Khuha Wari

Ban Sam Nok Chip, Wang Saphung
 
Wat Tham Khuha Khiri is signed to the east of the H201, south of Wang Saphung, at 47Q 802230 1899950. At a crossroads in Ban Lat go straight across.  At the next village, Ban Sam Nok Chip, go straight on at a sharp right hand bend, then left and soon right.  The concrete road goes across the fields to the wat.
 
Two caves, Tham Khuha Wari and Tham Nam/Tham Dam are in the temple grounds on the western side of the hill. Another cave, Tham Jaeng, can be accessed from Wat Tham Khao Sao Hin on the eastern side of the hill.

Tham Khuha Wari

47Q 815440 1900623 Altitude 418 m
Length: 625 m Vertical range: 13 m
Other names: Tham Khuha Varee
 
Inside the wat boundary wall turn left (straight on leads to farm buildings).  The dirt track ends at the bottom of the steps up to the cave.
The 8 m wide entrance is at the downstream end of a large, dry fossil passage.  This passage is 100 m long and up to 10 m wide by 15 m high.  After 100 m the passage trends to the right and reaches some dry gours.  A wooden ladder aids the ascent of the gours and the electric lighting cables continue through the crawl at the top. The crawl is about 10 m long and opens up again into a 5 m wide by 2 to 3 m high passage. This has a dark, guano floor (with some signs of mining) and occasional columns. After about 100 m there is another stal blockage, but again the electric cables disappear into a hole and a short ladder aids the 1 m climb onto a ledge which leads to a crawl.  After the short crawl the cave soon ends at the second entrance on the other side of the hill.
 
Between the two crawls there is an inlet with many dry gours. This walking passage leads to a T junction. Left is choked after 20 m. Right leads to a chamber with false floors. Following the draught takes you through a small crawl into a fault controlled chamber. The draught appears to come up a 6 m pitch at the back of the chamber. At the southern end of the chamber a rift gives access to a 1 m drop down into a decorated passage. To the right the passage closes down after about 20 m. To the right the passage continues for 20 m before becoming choked with stal.  At the end a rift was seen to ascend for about 10 m.
 
Tham Khuha Wari was surveyed by Martin Ellis and Ivan Hollis on 31 December 2008.
Ellis (2009); Fontaine et al. (2005b)

Tham Dam/Tham Nam

Tham Dam 47Q 815445 1900463 Altitude 376 m
Tham Nam 47Q 815427 1900501 Altitude 369 m
Length: 406 m Vertical range: 10 m
Inside the wat boundary wall continue straight on to the buildings (turning left leads to Tham Khuha Wari). Take the path to the right, around a pond, to a sign pointing up the hil to Tham Dam. The wide entrance is 50 m along the path. Continuing along the path to the other side of the pond leads to the resurgence cave - Tham Nam.
 
The Tham Nam entrance has a deep pool and so it is not the prefered way to get into the cave. Dry access is possible via the Tham Dam entrance. Tham Dam is a wide overhang with a couple of huts built by monks. At the back of the overhang is a chamber with some gour pools. To the right (south) there is a narrow rift that heads southwards, but has not been pushed to a conclusion. From the southern end of the entrance chamber it is possible to climb up into a low bedding plane seasonal stream passage. This is a crawl over cobbles for about 100 m to where it opens up into a chamber. A second chamber has a high level draughting inlet passage that has not been pushed to a conclusion. The main stream passage degenerates into a small, wet and muddy tube before reaching an upstream sump. This sump must be quite close to the stream sink.
 
Back in the entrance chamber by heading left (north) a climb down gives access to a seasonal stream passage that soon leads to the Tham Nam entrance.
 
The cave was surveyed by Mike Clayton, Phil Collett, Emma Porter and Martin Ellis on 9 February 2010.
Robinson & Smith (1997)

Tham Jaeng

Wat Tham San Hin, Ban Sam Bun, Erawan
47Q 815592 1900577 Altitude 432 m
Length: 75 m
Other names: Tham Yai Pai San
 
Wat Tham San Hin is at 47Q 815886 1901423 on the other side of the hill from Wat Tham Khuha Wari (Loei). From Ban Pha Sana take the road/track south to the east of Phu Pha Sana. Drive through the wat and follow it southwards at the base of the hill to where it ends. The cave is signed up the steps, which run out before reaching the cave.
 
Tham Jaeng is a large fossil passage, about 40 m wide and 30 m high. After 75 m a large boulder choke is reached and it is also possible to climb up to a skylight entrance. An internet reference implies that it is possible to drop down a hole amongst the boulders to a crawl which leads to a narrower decorated passage, but this wasn't found on a brief visit in February 2010.
 

Khon Kaen

Tham Pha Ya Nakharat

Phu Sam Yot, Phu Pha Man National Park, Chum Phae
Lower entrance 47Q 815497 1861020  Altitude 521 m
Upper entrance 47Q 815442 1861341 Altitude 557 m
Length: 667 m Vertical range: 82 m
Other names: Tham Geep Khao; Tham Kled Kaew; Tham Ket Khao
 
From the H201 highway, just past Phu Nok and before the bridge over the river, three caves are signposted in Thai to the south-west of the road.  The dirt road eventually leads to a barrier and the entrance to a village. In the village guides (and lights) can be hired who will lead you for a couple of kilometres over the fields to the cave.  Alternatively if approaching from the south the cave is signposted from Ban Cham Phak Nam, within the Phu Pha Man National Park. In 2009 the Park had recently graded the track to the parking area which is passable, with care, in a 2WD pickup.
 
The small lower entrance, Tham Pha Ya Nakharat, opens into a large, well decorated chamber.  Monks have painted various images on a large column at the top of the chamber.  By descending the chamber a boulder choke is reached.  From here it is possible to climb up through the boulders, assisted by a couple of ladders, to reach a large passage.  This large passage ascends to the upper entrance, Tham Ket Khao.
 
Martin Ellis and Ivan Hollis explored the cave in April 2004. It was later surveyed by Dave Owen, Ivan Hollis and Lee Hollis on 8 January 2006. It is the longest known cave in Khon Kaen province.
National Park Office (2006)
 

Phetchabun

Tham Pha Thong

Wat Tham Pha Thong, Ban Pha Thong, Chon Daen
47Q 695069 1796717 Altitude 166 m
Length: 663 m Vertical range: 40 m
 
Driving east along the H113 in Chon Daen towards Phetchabun town a blue sign is seen pointing to the north to Tham Pha Thong (there isn't a sign when driving into the town from the Phetchabun town direction). Unfortunately there are no more blue signs. At the first village you reach, after driving over a couple of low limestone hills, take the turning on the left at the Y junction instead of following the main road. Take this side road for about 1 km to just outside the village.  You now need to find a dirt track across the rice paddies where there is a painted wooden sign to the village of Ban Pha Thong, in Thai, and the junction is on a right hand bend. Driving for about 3 km across the fields brings you to the village and the limestone cliffs with the cave can be seen on the left. In the village take the concrete road on the left to the wat. This is signposted (in Thai), but isn't obvious when travelling in the direction described. The wat is about 1 km from the village at the foot of the cliff. The cave is a show cave of sorts and guides may be available at the wat.
 
A flight of steps from the wat leads to a rift entrance. Just inside the entrance a passage on the right leads down to a series of small passages. Back in the entrance chamber there is a large Buddha, some other statues and a brick built water reservoir. A high second entrance enters above the Buddha. Crossing this entrance chamber there is a large passage coming in from the left that can be reached by climbing down on the right and doubling back on yourself.  This passage is phreatic and ascends as a series of phreatic loops. After a few metres a couple of  metal ladders, 18 m and 7 m long, help the ascent and are soon followed by a surprisingly tricky climb for a ‘show cave’. The cave then levels off and the 5 m wide by 10 m passage leads past an oxbow on the left to a small, but high, chamber with a few squeaky bats. There is also a very small skylight in this chamber. The cave becomes smaller as you reach the second entrance and is a phreatic maze with a couple of routes through to the entrance. Just before you reach this section there is a passage on the right which leads to the top of a narrow 3 m deep rift. The strong draught blowing down this rift indicates that there might be a third entrance and voices from another group could also be heard from this rift. However, it is unlikely that the tour party descended the rift as it didn’t look like it took a lot of traffic.
 
The cave was surveyed by Ivan Hollis and Martin Ellis on 16 January 2006.

Tham Phra

Wat Khao Tham Phra, Ban Um Phae, Muang Phetchabun
47Q 726604 1830864 Altitude 189 m
Length: 94 m Vertical range: 11 m
Other names: Tham Phat
 
From the H21 north of Phetchabun take the H2258 towards Khao Kho. Just before the road starts to climb up the hill there is a turning on the right (north) and after about a hundred metres there is the turning into the wat which is signed in Thai as Wat Khao Tham Phra and it is possible to park at the bottom of the small hill.
 
Sixty steps lead up to the shrine and from the main shrine a passage descends to the left into a small chamber.  One small passage leads back under the entrance, another ascends a slope to a blocked entrance (under the steps up to the large white Buddha), while a third passage descends to a mud floor small chamber. At the far end of this chamber a small restriction opens into a passage that leads up to two small entrances.
 
Tham Phra was surveyed by Ivan Hollis and Martin Ellis on 26 December 2009

Tham Suksan Dai Din

Khao Tham Phra, Ban Huai Lon, Lom Sak
47Q 728235 1846297 Altitude 247 m
Length: 74 m Vertical range: 15 m
 
From the H21 about 15 km south of Lom Sak take the signed turning to the west onto the H2001.  At the crossroads (with a temple on the left) go straight across, up the hill and over the col to another wat. From the end of the road, at the base of the steps up to Tham Sombat, a path heads east for the few metres to the cave entrance.
 
A short climb leads to slope down into a chamber. There are various routes off the chamber, but they all close down quickly. The floor of the chamber has guano and this has been mined in the past.
 
The cave was surveyed by Phil Collett and Martin Ellis on 15 April 2011.
 
 

Phitsanulok

Tham Dak Ga Deen Yak

Rai Kanchana, Thung Salaeng Luang National Park, Noen Maprang
47Q 677313 1839121 Altitude 82 m
Length: 210 m Vertical range: 7 m
Other names: Hornet Cave
 
Finding this cave will probably require the use of a GPS as describing the route is not easy. Take the dirt back road from Noen Maprang to Ban Chomphu. Tham Dak Ga Deen Yak is approximately halfway between the two villages. When the GPS indicates that the cave is nearby take a farm track towards the cliffs. The track heads east to a 90° bend south at an orchard, about 100 m from the cliff where the upper entrance to Tham Khang Khao can be seen. Drive south through the orchards for 200 m before going on foot towards the cliffs. The entrance is at the foot of the cliff.
 
The main resurgence entrance is 2 m high and 5 m wide, but soon chokes with sand. Towards the north a rift passage leads for 100 m towards Tham Khang Khao, but the lower rift ends in a boulder choke. A few metres back a rift to the north-east can be ascended to a higher level. There is an upper entrance and to the left an ascending passage leads to a small chamber where a couple of short pitches may bypass the boulder choke.  These haven't been descended.
 
The cave was found by Dean Smart and Terry Bolger in 2002, but they soon abandoned the exploration after being stung by hornets. Phil Collett and Martin Ellis visited the cave on 22 and 26 February 2009 when, despite some ominous buzzing near the entrance, they managed to complete a survey.
Smart (2002)
 

Krabi

Tham Phet

Khao Tham Phet, Than Bok Khorani National Park, Ao Luek
47P 475527 0927431 Altitude 40 m
Length: 552 m Vertical range: 16 m
Other names: Tham Nam Put
 
This cave is a fairly well known tourist site and thus it is signed to the east of the H4 at Ao Luek. Follow the side road for 4.5 km then turn left onto a gravel road for a couple of kilometres to the cave which is in a wat at the foot of the hill on the left. The turning onto the gravel road is marked with a police box. A guide and lights are sometimes available at the cave entrance.
 
There is a large shrine cave at the foot of the cliff, but the entrance to the main cave is up to the right. This drops down into a horizontal passage with some formations near the entrance. The walking passage ends after about 250 m at a sump pool, This has reportedly been dived to a depth of 40 m, but in 2008 Fletcher dived it to a silt constriction at 7 m depth. The level of the water in the sump can vary by up to 1.5 m. There are two side passages to the east of the main passage. The first is a high right oxbow back to the main passage. The second passage, about 50 m before the sump, has about 100m of passages that eventually all choke.
 
Reports in the tourist literature suggest that the cave is 7 km long and that the water resurges at Than Bok Khorani which is 6 km. These claims are very unlikely to be true, but visit at the end of the dry season may allow further progress to be made.
 
Tham Phet was surveyed by Simon Brooks, Shary Ghazy and Martin Ellis on 17 November 2009.
Brooks (2010); Chaimongkhon (1990); Fletcher (2008a), (2008b); National Park Office (2006)

Tham Sra Yuon Thong

Ban Nai Yuan Khaek, Than Bok Khorani National Park, Ao Luek
47P 472366 0924046 Altitude: 40 m
Length: 721 m Vertical range: 65 m
Other names: Tham Sra Nai Yuan Khaek
 
This cave is reached by a 2 km concrete road to the west of the H4 just north of the road to Tham Khlang. The turning is signposted. The road ends at the resurgence pool.
 
Across the pond from the car park is a large resurgence entrance. Above the resurgence is a dry entrance into a 10 m wide by 2 m high passage where many columns have been draped with cloth. This dry cave links with the stream cave. The 20 m wide stream passage is lit by daylight from the 10 m wide entrance. The murky entrance pool has been dived to a depth of 11 m and only old fishing nets were found.
 
At the back of this stream passage it is possible to reach the main chamber via four routes. The easiest is to climb up the slope to the left. There is also a low level route on the left, a draughting crawl with a bat chamber and a high level rift route. The main chamber is up to 50 m across and about 70 m long. It is daylit from a third entrance and at the bottom of the chamber there are a couple of large pools. In December 2007 and January 2008 the second, smaller, pool was dived. The pool drops 10 m into what looks like upstream and downstream continuations and a line, marked 'CDAT', was already tied off 1 m below the surface. One way was followed on a bearing of 165° in a large passage and crystal-clear visibility for approximately 40 m to end at a wall at a depth of 17 m. Another route has been dived to an end where the way on became like a Swiss cheese. There was flow at this point.
 
The passage at the top of the main chamber soon closes down. To the west of the entrance, below the boulders, there is a passage that links around to the third entrance. This third entrance is huge, about 90 m wide and 40 m wide. It is a seasonal stream sink which soon sumps. From here there is the high level rift route back to the stream passage.
 
The cave was surveyed by Simon Brooks, Shary Ghazy and Martin Ellis on 18 November 2009.
Brooks (2010); Fletcher (2008b); Henley (2003); National Park Office (2006)

Tham Khlang

Khao Tham Khlang, Ban Khlong Ti Ma, Ao Luek
47P 472314 0921350 Altitude: 20 m
Length: 964 m Vertical range: 23 m+
Other names: Tham Klang 1
 
The turning to this cave is marked with blue tourist information signs on the H4. Turn off the main road and follow the H4024 towards Ban Ao Luek Noi. After about 3 km there is a pyramid-shaped hill, surrounded by plantations, to the south of the road and a large sign indicates the turning. The dirt track leads directly to the entrance. The cave is run as a show cave and a guide and lights are available from the house beside the main entrance. A tour costs 100 baht and takes about 30 minutes.
 
This is an extensive cave on three levels and is well decorated. From the main tourist entrance a wooden boardwalk leads over the pools of water to a large circular chanmber with some fine formations. Although there are some side passages the main way is to the right along a profusely decorated passage for about 200 m to a junction. To the right is another junction after about 15 m. At this junction going right leads is a dead end while going straight ahead/up loops back round to the passage on the left is a passage with water that soon joins the main through route. Back at the first junction the through route to the left which comes to a crossroads.Left closes down, right is the passage with water mentioned above while straight on ascends a rubble slope to an inclined breakdown chamber. A high level series of several hundred metres can be reached by ascending to the top of the breakdown chamber. This high level series ascends through some large and well decorated passages to five entrances high in the cliffs on the east side of the mountain.
 
Back in the breakdown chamber by continuing across the slope and then down a loose climb leads into a chamber with a Buddha. A low passage leads to the lake entrance. This entrance is very wide and a couple of nuns are living on a shack built out over the entrance pool. Looking into the cave the wide passage to the left goes for about 40m, to the right is the Buddha chamber while straight on, through chest deep water, there is an extensive active system that leads back to an entrance near the main tourist entrance. This active system is sumped during the rainy season.
 
Alex Fletcher dived the large pool in the right hand entrance to the cave (the boat entrance). The only way on was to the left at the end of a curious cable and cycle wheel set up.  No previous line was in place. Fletcher laid line to a depth of 16 m to where the roof came to within 0.6 m of a clinging mud floor.
 
The through trip was surveyed by Ivan Hollis, Simon Brooks, Shary Ghazy and Martin Ellis on 22 November 2009. The high level series was visited by Ivan Hollis, Paul and Claire Dummer in March 2011.
Brooks (2010); Henley (2003)

 Tham Khao Phueng

Khao Phueng, Khao Phanom Bencha National Park, Muang Krabi
47P 489790 0910124 Altitude 128 m
Length: 549 m Vertical range: 15 m
 
From the H4 north of Krabi the Khao Phanom Bencha National Park is signed along a road a 1.3 km to the west of the turning to Wat Tham Seua. This road ends after about 20 km at the national park headquarters. Two kilometers before the park, Tham Khao Phueng is signed down a dirt track on the right (south). A few hundred metres along this track look for a sign and a rough track through the plantation to the right (east). This leads to the cave where there is a toilet block and picnic table. From the car park the main entrance is straight ahead. Going around the side of the hill, to the right, is a wooden boardwalk to the back entrance that has fallen into disrepair. To get to the main entrance there is a wooden ladder. 
 
This is a complicated cave with 5 entrances on 2 levels. The main entrance opens into a passage. To the right leads to an entrance about 15 m up a cliff. To the left leads past the climb down to the lower cave to a wooden boardwalk that goes over an area of static pools. This boardwalk has fallen into disrepair in several places. At the end of the 'Water Cave' there is a large decorated chamber.  The way on is a small passage on the right that descends to a wooden ladder into a large, dark guano chamber. This chamber has a 12 m high column and at one end a passage leads through, via a short crawl, to the back entrance. To the right a crawl leads to another entrance and larger passage. It is possible to traverse the hole in the floor to a short continuation of the passage which soon closes down. Back near the main entrance a climb down lands in a large passage with bats. To the left there is about 75 m of passage to where the cave ends, while to the right leads for about 25 m to another entrance 5 m up a cliff and above a resurgence.
 
Tham Khao Phueng was surveyed by Ivan Hollis, Simon Brooks, Shary Ghazy and Martin Ellis on 21 November 2009.
Brooks (2010); Henley (2003); National Park Office (2006)
 

References

 
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