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Tham Lod Cave
Explore Tham Lod Cave one of the most amazing cave in Thailand
Tham Lod Cave Or Tham Lod (Tham is mean cave) is situated in the the Pang Mapha district of Mae Hong Son province, to the north west of Thailand.
Tham Lod Cave is one of Thailand’s most impressive and easily accessible caves, partly for its size, partly for its attractive limestone stalactite formations and partly for an unusual coffin cave hidden within the main cave.
Tham Lod is a cave system with a length of 1.666 meters. Geologic formations sprouting from the floor and ceiling, and forming flowstone columns where stalactites and stalagmites grew together. Tham Lod Cave is a natural limestone cave system, its main feature is the freshwater stream which runs through the middle of the cave for about 200-300 meters. Inside it’s walls are covered with massive formations and columns over 20 meters high. The cave is also home to large numbers of bats and swifts.
The inner walls of the cave are covered with giant formations and columns (some more than 20 meters high) but there are many steps to climb up to get a really good view of the stalagmites & stalactites. When progressing further deeper into the cave, there is no light whatsoever, in order to explore the caverns, you must have a good guide with a decent burning torch which makes the exploration of the cave an even more mysterious atmosphere.
The entrance to Tham Lod cave is relatively easy to reach and the river then passes through 600metres of cave systems, housing 3 main caverns. We saw some birds, but the main exodus is from the far end of the cave, which is another 10 minutes walking and we did not tackle that as it was going dark and we were unsure of direction.
The most amazing thing about this experience is that you enter one side of the mountain cave by bamboo rafts and eventually you emerge out of the cave system on the other side of the mountain! along the way, you depart on the land to climb the steep amazing terraces to view incredible caverns of fantastic rock formations.
Tham Lod Cave have three different stops where we exited the rafts to climb up into the cave chambers via rickety wooden staircases and explore the wealth of stalactites and stalagmites inside. Also filling the caves were thousands of bats and swifts a type of small bird and teakwood coffins thought to have been carved by the Lawa tribespeople over 1,400 years ago.
Tham Lod Cave is an archaeological site of great antiquity, being occupied in the pre-historic era from 9000BC to 5500BC by the Hoabinhian hunting tribe. They were a Stone Age community of hunters and gatherers who used artefacts and tools of primitive workmanship such as short axes, hammerstones, tools made out of bones etc. the caves were first excavated in the 1960s by Chester Gorman, an American anthropologist and archaeologist, who detailed food items and implements used by the ancient Hoabinhians. According to Gorman, the Hoabinhians learnt the domestication of plants, as exemplified by the presence of leguminous plants at the site; a number of other fruits and vegetables, such as almonds, betel, pepper, bottle gourd etc were also used as food, condiments and stimulants, and for lighting purposes.
The highlight though was getting on small bamboo raft inside the Tham Lod cave and gliding slowly over the water through the cave with only the light from the lamp guiding the way, and with the sound of hundreds of bats above.Eventually you slowly emerge through a stunning cave opening out into the jungle.
Plan your visit around 5-6 pm. each evening, the cave mouth spews hundreds of swallows and bats, as the nocturnal critters welcome the night and the insect meals it brings. You can view their evening departure from outside the cave, or inhale their ripe odors as they flit around their cavern mansion during daytime.
This area has a huge variety of things to do; caving (alone or guided), kayaking, exploring the beautiful landscape with its valleys and limestone cliffs, visiting remote hill tribe villages, and watching the bird show in nearby Tham Lod cave.
To conclude, the Spirit Caves is a little adventure expedition out from Pai that you should make to to explore. All money paid here goes to the Shan villagers, who also construct and maintain the bamboo ladders and walkways in the caves.
Getting to Tham Lod Cave :
The Tham Lod Caves are situated about 8km north of the small town of Pang Mapha (Old name Sop Pong) which is about halfway between Muang Mae Hong Song and Pai. Coming from Pai, heading toward Mae Hong Son along Route 1095, just entering Pang Mapha turn right, signposted to Cave Lodge and Tham Lod. For more comfortable and information you can contact us to arrange the private tour package for your group.
Entracce Fee & opening hours :
Guides (with lanterns) for Tham Lod are only 150 Baht per group (1-3 people)
Bamboo rafts inside the cave, a return rafting trip through the length of the cave is 400 baht or raft one way and walk back is 300 baht
The opening times of Tham Lod cave are between 9:00 am. and 6:00 pm.
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