Tham Phra Wang Daeng

Phra Wang Daeng Cave

Useful Information

Location: Thung Salaeng National Park, Noen Maprang district, Phitsanoluk
Open: All year daily [2007]
Fee: fee for guides [2007]
Classification: ExplainKarst cave
Light: bring torches, lanterns provided by the guides
Dimension: L=13,634m (D.Smart 2000).
Guided tours:  
Address: Tham Phra Wang Daeng, Tel: +66-, Fax: +66-,
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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Tham Phra Wang Daen (the Cave of the Monk) was named after a monk, who entered it to find its end. According to legend this took him three days. But as such lengends in general exaggerate, it is not a very good source for determining the legth of the cave. Nevertheless this cave is very big and after surveying the cave the cavers learned that this legend might be 100% true. At the moment more than 13km of cave passages are surveyed which makes it one of the longest caves in the country, and also a long cave of the Far East.

The entrance of Tham Phra Wang Daeng starts with a huge chamber close to the surface, the ceiling collapsed two times which created two entrances facing each other. The entrance chamber contains a golden Buddha, a flat, painted rock which symbolises a turtle, and two monk platforms right in the middle of the huge chamber. From here various passages start. But while the entrance section is almost level and easy to visit, the passages require a guide and light.

Beneath various huge passages, a wealth of speleothems and several bat colonies, the cave also has a cave river. Three new species of fishes were discovered in the cave river, which seem to be endemic to thiy cave and neighbouring Tham Phra Sai Ngam.

In MAY-2007 two 17 years old novice monks were lost in the cave for almost a week. They went in with a tour group visiting Matcha Cave, a section of the Phra Wang Daeng Cave. They were walking ahead of the tour group, but missed a turn off and went into the wrong passage. When they were found, after an 44 hour long rescue attempt, the were 4km away from the place they got lost. They heard the calls of earlier searches by the locals, but were not heard themself, and while trying to reach the rescuers, they got deeper and deeper into the cave. When they were found they were weak and dehydrated, but not injured. They drank water from the cave river, but had no food with them. The father of one lost boy was advised by the villagers to make an offering to the Buddha Shinnarat statue at Phra Thammat Cave. He offered, that he would ordain as a monk for nine days in exchange for the safe return of his son, and 30 minutes later he heard the good news.