Wat Tham Suea
วัดถ้ำเสือ วัดถ้ำเสือ Muang Chum, Tha Muang District, Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Most visitors to Kanchanaburi come for the world-famous bridge over the river Kwai, but there is much more to this sleepy and delightful town than that alone. Wat Tham Suea, or the “tiger cave temple” is one of the most famous temples in Kanchanaburi, and undoubtedly worth a few hours of any visitor’s time. Please do not confuse this with Kanchanaburi’s “tiger temple” which has been accused of drugging tigers for the sake of tourist photo opportunities, rest assured this is not the same place.
What to See and Expect
This temple plays host to an enormous golden Buddha, visible for miles around, known as “Chin Prathaporn”, which was built in 1973. It is an amazing 18 metres high and 10 metres wide, with many local Thai residents coming up daily to make merit with the Buddha. There is a 157 step climb to the temple, or a cheap tram ride, giving amazing views and photo opportunities galore. Unfortunately, the caves are now closed to the public, but don’t let that put you off, this is still an attraction that you won’t forget in a hurry.
The temple complex is called the tiger cave temple because in the past, the cave was supposedly home to a family of tigers, who have now gone and have been replaced with a Thai-style tiger shrine.
How to Get There
The temple itself is approximately 16km from the town centre, and can be reached by motorcycle, taxi or minibus, if you’re not sure then ask at your hotel or a local travel agent who will be able to arrange transport for you at a low price. You may be offered package tours to the temple, but check the price first or you may end up paying a lot more than other people at the temple.
Opening Times and Admission Fees
The temple is open from 7:30am until 4:30pm on Monday to Friday, and 7am until 5:30pm on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free, although you may be asked for a small donation for the monks, which is discretionary, but 40 Baht ($1.3) would be very much appreciated. The tram service costs 10 Baht ($0.32). As this is an active place of worship, respectful clothing should be worn, which means no tank tops, and covered shoulders and knees for women, but clothes are available for a small fee of 20 Baht ($0.65) if you are dressed too skimpily.
One of the most stunning temples I have seen in Thailand. Best to go in the morning and then go to the giant raintree about 15 minutes away for a cheap lunch, then wat Tham Mangkornthong on your way back into town, a very nice little itinerary. Make sure you’ve charged your camera batteries, loads of great photo opportunities!