ถ้ำนแม่ละนา

Tham Mae Lana - Mae Lana Cave - Mae La Na Cave


Useful Information

Location: Mae Lana village, Pang Mapha.
73 km from Mae Hong Son on Highway No. 1095, turn left on Highway No. 1226 for 6 km.
(19.574644, 98.215883)
Open: NOV to APR daily 8-18.
[2021]
Fee:  
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Permian limestone
Light: bring full caving gear if possible
Dimension: L=12,720 m.
Guided tours: local guides
Photography: allowed
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Tham Mae Lana, Pang Mapha, Mae Hong Son 58150, Tel: +66-5361-9208, Tel: +66-5361-2982. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

1986 cave discovered by an Australian team.

Description

ถ้ำนแม่ละนา (Tham Mae Lana, Mae La Na Cave) is the underground course of the Mae Lana river, close to the village Mae Lana. It is visited by following the cave river through the cave, which is a rather strenuous tour with a lot of easy climbing and swimming. This tour requires surefootedness and physical fitness. It is guided by locals, the guides are quite important, as the cave is rather difficult for a tourist cave. The cave river rises during the rainy season from May until October, and numerous passages are flooded. At this time cave tours are not possible. The cave river contains numerous cave fish, including the "waterfall climbing cave fish".

The loosing stream was known by the locals, but the cave was first explored by an Australian caving team in 1986. They discovered a 12 km long through cave which was the longest cave of Thailand at that time. Today there are longer caves, but it is still the longest through cave of Thailand [2021]. The main river passage has a length of 7.2 km, there are two substantial tributaries, joining the main river about 2 km and 3 km from the entrance. The first half of this passage is very spacious, up to 40 m high, and with many rapids. After 3.8 km the river passage forms a 100 m long syphon or sump, which is bypassed through higher level passages, 10 m above the main stream. Now the character of the river passage changes to narrow canyons with many rapids.

The Mae Lana stream sinks 500 m south of Mae Lana village and reemerges in an enclosed depression 2 km to the south, as the crow flies. This part of the cave system is not accessible. The river crosses the depression, a doline or probably a polje, and after flowing 300 m on the surface it enters Tham Mae Lana.

The cave is quite famous for its speleothems, mostly in the fossil parts of the cave. There are stalagmites and pillars which are 20 m high, and a massive amount of cave pearls. One chamber contains several thousand cave pearls. Other exceptional speleothems are calcite spar crystals, anthodoites, pendulites, mud stalagmites, birdbath conulites and cave shields.

The town Mae Lana is surrounded by tower karst with numerous caves. Other caves, which are visited on cave trekking tours are the ถ้ำปะการัง (T̄ĥả pakārạng, Coral Cave), a fossil cave with many speleothems, and the Coffin Cave which contains numerous wooden coffins.