TIGER CAVE TEMPLE KRABI (WAT THAM SUEA) – All you need to know!
Visiting the Tiger cave temple is one of the things you must do in Krabi! The Tiger cave temple, also known as Wat Tham Suea in Thai, is one of the most sacred Buddhist temples in Thailand. The Tiger cave temple is known for the tiger paw prints in the cave, the tall Buddha statues and of course the exhausting hike up the Tiger cave temple mountain with incredible views. But it’s absolutely worth climbing the 1260 steps until you reach the summit on top of the 309 meter high cliff. The view over Krabi is amazing with all the limestone cliffs and beautiful lush rain forest. Read in this blog post everything you need to know about the Tiger cave temple in Krabi. What to prepare, what to expect, other things to do at the Tiger cave temple and much more!
About the Tiger cave temple Krabi
The history of the Tiger cave temple Krabi dates back to 1975 when a monk was meditating in the cave. During his meditation, he witnessed tigers roaming around the cave which led to the discovery of the temple Wat Tham Sua. The name of the temple also comes from the discovery of tiger paw prints on the walls of the cave.
The Tiger cave temple is one of the most interesting temple complexes in southern Thailand. It is a Thai-Buddhist meditation centre which holds significant archaeological and historical importance as many historical remnants were discovered here.
The surrounding area of the Tiger temple cave is stunning with mostly tropical rainforest. The huge limestone cliffs and many old trees are part of the Kiriwong Valley which you will look out on from the summit of the Tiger Cave temple. And the best part is, there is no entrance fee for the Tiger Cave Temple Krabi!
Tiger cave temple tours
Visiting the Tiger Cave temple is some of the must things to do in Krabi. But you can easily combine a day of exploring the highlights in Krabi with one of these tours. Below some of the best tours I recommend including a visit to the Tiger Cave temple. All of these tours include air conditioned transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes also lunch and the entrance fees. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.
- Private Tiger Cave Temple & Emerald Pool trip. Visit the 3 main attractions in Krabi during this private day trip. In a private air-conditioned car you will be driven to the Tiger Cave Temple, Emerald Pool and the natural hot springs.
- Tiger Cave Temple Hot Springs and Crystal Pool Tour. Explore the Krabi jungle and its highlights. Dip into the crystal clear waters of Krabi’s Emerald Pool, hike the Buddhist Tiger Cave Temple for stunning views and explore a hot stream waterfall.
- Krabi city tour with Tiger Cave Temple. During this 4 hour tour you will start with a visit to the Tiger Cave Temple. Then you will visit the famous Krabi landmark Khao Khanap Nam before exploring Krabi town.
- Tiger Cave Temple and Elephant Care House tour. Get up close with the elephants at the ethical Elephant Care House near Phanom Bencha Mountain while feeding them. After that you will have lunch and then head to Tiger Cave Temple to climb the stairs.
- Tiger cave temple sunset tour. You will be picked up and dropped off at your hotel by your guide. Climb up the 1237 steps to the top of the Tiger Cave Temple to watch sunset.
How to get to Tiger cave temple Krabi
The best way to get from Krabi town to Tiger cave temple is with a rental motorbike if you’re comfortable enough driving one yourself. For around 200 Baht per day you can rent a motorbike in Krabi. Otherwise you can take the Songthaew to the entrance of the Tiger Cave Temple which gives you a fun experience of the local public transport. But the Songthaew doesn’t go through the gate of the Tiger Cave complex, so you’ll need to walk a short distance to reach the ticket booth and stairs. The prices for a Songthaew can vary, but it should be about 150 baht from Ao Nang Beach or 50 baht from Krabi town one way.
Tiger cave temple opening hours
The Tiger cave temple Krabi is officially open from 8AM until 5 PM. But we didn’t left until 6 PM because we were still enjoying everything that this place has to offer. So I think that after 5 PM they don’t let people climb to the top anymore, but you’re still able to look around on the ground floor of the Tiger Cave temple complex.
Have you already secured your accommodation in Krabi?
Tiger cave temple dress code
The Tiger Cave is located at the bottom of the complex and as with most temples in Asia, you need to cover up your shoulders and knees to go inside. But the temple itself at the top of the mountain is an open air area with no dress code. So when you climb up the mountain, you don’t need to bring specific clothes. Just make sure to wear something comfortable for the hike.
Best time to visit Tiger Cave temple Krabi
The best time to visit, and especially to hike to the summit of the Tiger Cave Temple, is early morning and late afternoon. During this time of the day the sun is not too hot, and when you go before sunset, you can watch the sky above Krabi turning into yellow, orange and pink. Avoid this climb during midday, it will be too hot and the climb is already so exhausting.
What to expect during the Tiger cave temple hike
So after all this general information it’s time for the climb up the Tiger Cave temple mountain! The height of the Tiger Cave Temple mountain is 309 meters with 1260 steps to conquer until you reach the summit. (There used to be 1237 steps, but some stairs have been renovated and renewed, making it 1260 steps nowadays). Depending on your fitness level, you can reach the top in 20 – 30 minutes. The record time to reach the top is 10 minutes, so if you feel challenged, good luck!! It’s an incredible work out for your legs, you will feel the burn days after!
The Tiger cave temple steps are differing in heights with uneven and steep stairs in some places. So watch your step all the time! Despite the challenging hike, we saw both young kids and elderly conquer the Tiger cave temple stairs successfully.
After 999 stairs, Atiba is still feeling good haha!
Also keep an eye out for the cheeky monkeys. They like stuff that’s easy to grab. So watch your sunglasses, phone and other valuable goods. Just put all your loose belongings in your bag to be sure you won’t loose anything. These monkeys are very used to people so they won’t harm you. But the best advice when you pass monkeys is to NOT search for eye contact and just ignore them, especially when they want to intimidate you. Haha, those funny little monsters.
Even if you are in good shape, this hike will challenge you. The heat, humidity and uneven stairs make it difficult. But once you make it to the top, you are rewarded with a stunning 360 degree view of most of the province of Krabi and the Andaman Sea.
Awesome tours to do in Krabi
With plenty of things to do in Krabi you can either explore some of the spots on the mainland by yourself if you have own transport. But the most easy and carefree way of exploring Krabi is by booking tours. In this way your transport, program, a guide and sometimes lunch is taking care off so you can just enjoy without having to do the effort and research. Here some of the best tours in Krabi which I recommend:
- Krabi city tour including climbing the Tiger Cave temple
- Emerald pool, Blue Lagoon and ATV tour full day tour
- Private sunset boat trip to Khao Khanap Nam Cave & Night Market Tour
- Krabi islands exclusive sunset Catamaran sightseeing tour
- Private Four islands boat tour
- Dragon Crest hike, ATV and kayak tour
- Elephant Care House visit and Tiger Cave temple tour
- Thai cooking class
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What to expect at the summit of the Tiger cave temple
Arrived at the summit of the Tiger Cave temple mountain, you will see the amazing view of Krabi, the Andaman Sea and the islands. The direct surrounding area is covered in lush jungle with large trees which are hundreds of years old, particularly in the Khiriwong Valley.
On top of the summit sits a beautiful Golden buddha statue which is very impressive to see. The silence on top of the mountain in combination with the incredible view brings you back to an almost meditative state after the hard effort. There are also several other statues, another small temple and beautiful details of the statues to admire.
If you’ve decided to make your way up to the summit in the afternoon, you should definitely stay to watch an incredible Tiger cave temple sunset. We’ve been waiting until the sun was set before we made our way down and it was a wonderful experience!
Don’t forget to explore Tiger cave wonderland
The hike isn’t the only thing you can do here. Because before or after the hike you have to visit the actual Tiger Cave Temple itself! The cave is located in so called “Wonderland” which is an easy flat trail of about 20 minutes leading you though the jungle, along impressive big sacred trees, a sanctuary with Buddha statues and the homes of Monks who live here, until you reach the actual Tiger Cave. The beautiful stalactites and many other details here are absolutely worth a visit. Maybe you even encounter a friendly Monk who want to show you ‘his’ meditation cave.
The Budhha sanctuary you will see when exploring Tiger Cave Temple Wonderland
The impressive stalactites in Tiger Cave Temple Wonderland
Tips for the Tiger cave temple hike
- Take enough water with you! The 1260 steps are exhausting. You will sweat a lot, so make sure to bring enough water to stay hydrated!
- Take breaks often to enjoy the view. You’re not in a competition to be the first one on the summit, right?
- Don’t feed and watch out for the monkeys! They are savage little monsters haha! No but seriously, put every loose item in your bag or the monkeys will steal your belongings! So no sunglasses on your head or whatsoever!
- Bring a dry t-shirt so you can change it. Or you must like to wear a shirt drenched in sweat for the way down.
- Put on your sport shoes or decent sneakers. It gives you way more support than hiking on flip flops.
- If you’re planning to do the hike to watch the sunset from the summit, like we did, bring a headlamp or torch! It gets dark quickly and with the uneven stairs it’s important to watch your step!
More Thailand travel guides
We hope you enjoyed this blog post so you’re well prepared for the Tiger cave temple hike! If you have any questions, let us know.
For more inspiration about Thailand, read these guides:
Things to do in Ao Nang, Krabi
15 best things to do in Phuket
Krabi Night Food Market – The Complete Guide
Dragon Crest Hike Krabi – The Complete Hiking Guide
Emerald Pool and Krabi Hotsprings – The Complete Guide
8 best Krabi beaches – The Ultimate Guide
Phra Nang beach and cave Krabi – The Complete Guide
Tubkaek beach & Klong Muang – The Complete Guide
Thank you so much for this helpful guide! We really want to visit the temple at sunset. Do you know if there are taxi’s or songthaews going back to Ao Nang at night?
Hi Kimberley, thanks for your comment, glad to hear it was helpful! When we were at the Tiger Cave temple there were Songthaews waiting for people to bring them back, but I’m not sure how it is as this moment. Maybe you can ask a driver upfront (for example the one that brings you) if he can pick you up around (time you expect to be back at the parking). Have fun and safe travels!
Hello ILse, what a beautiful pictures of the Tiger cave temple in Krabi. Especially the impressive stalactites in the Buddhist temple are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.