As a somewhat inexperienced traveler, I’ve often romanticized places in my head which has led to unrealistically high expectations that inevitably has led to a bit of disappointment. I visit exotic places and find myself underwhelmed. It’s an issue I’m working on and I’ve mostly overcome. It’s come with experience especially when it comes to 3rd world countries.Photographs online tend to be misleading. You never can quite tell just how big a place is or what the rest of the surroundings look like. A great photo can make an average place look mysterious and extraordinary. When coming across images of Phraya Nakhon Cave in Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park online I was awestruck by its beauty. I first saw it on one of those buzz feed posts about “Most amazing places to visit before your die” or something along those lines. When I visited the park a couple of weekends ago I was thrilled to see that the Phraya Nakhon Cave really is as wonderful in person as it looks in the photos. As long as you get there before the late afternoon, you will witness the ethereal beam of light pouring in through the opening in the cave ceiling. The groundwater from above trickles down in streams of droplets that twinkle in the sun beam. So lovely! Coupled with the lush tropical surroundings, the place really is a 10 out of 10 as far as beautiful places go 🙂
If you’re planning a trip to Thailand I highly recommend you pay a visit to the park while in central Thailand. The park is only about 45 min by car from Hua Hin.
Getting there: From Hua Hin you can catch the orange bus that drives up and down the main strip. It runs every day between Hua Hin and Pranburi. I’ve seen it as early as 7:30 am and as late as 4 pm or so. It only costs 20 baht per person! Otherwise find your way to the town of Pranburi. (The train stops there too). From Pranburi, find “the intersection” and flag down a songthaew to take you to Bang Pu. Bang Pu is the name of the small town within the park. It’s also where you find the first trail-head to hike to Leam Sala beach followed by another trail to get to Phraya Nakhon Cave. The songthaew for one person might be about 400 baht…sharing a songthaew is advised if you’re on a budget.
Notes to travelers: Leam Sala beach looks beautiful from above but please note that what you see is not a soft white sand beach but rather an entire beach of crushed white shells. It kept getting in my sandals and really hurt! Also, there are a couple of good restaurants in Bang Pu. There is also one restaurant on Laem Sala beach but it might be a little pricey. If you’re not big on hiking you can skip the first stretch from Bang Pu to Laem Sala beach by taking a boat from Bang Pu.