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Tham Lod Cave Walking Tour Review – Is It Worth Doing?

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Tham Lod Cave Walking Tour Review

 

Tham Lod Cave is an attraction in the far north of Thailand that can be visited from the city of Pai with relative ease.

For this Tham Lod Cave walking tour review, I will be showing you what you can expect if you take a walking tour of Tham Lod Cave after getting there of your own accord.

This post won’t be detailing the tours of Tham Lod Cave that are done from Pai, or overnight visits from Chiang Mai, these tours involve picking up in cars, dropping off, and sometimes overnight accommodation.

The Tham Lod Cave walking tour information provided here is strictly for the tours that are purchased at the gate after making your own way there.

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(Shot on the Sony a7R III using the Sony 16-35mm f/4).

Tham Lod Cave Walking Tour – Common Questions

 

Here are some of the most sought after answers about Tham Lod Cave walking tours.

What is Tham Lod Cave?

 

Tham Lod Cave is a large cave system made up of 3 different caverns;

  1. Big column cave.
  2. Doll cave.
  3. Coffin cave.

The entire system is a mile in length, with a the Nam Lang river running through a large portion of it. 

Each of the 3 caves offer something different to explore, but the main hihglights are the beautifully large stalactite and stalagmite formations, as well as a bamboo raft ride through the cave.

Is it Hard to do the Tham Lod Cave Walking Tour?

 

The Tham Lod Cave walking tour is physically easy, it will be done within an hour and a half.

There are stairs throughout, rickety old wooden stairs, so if you are not comfortable on stairs or have dodgy knees then maybe avoid it.

The ground is flat, with the paths that you walk being well lit and well tread.

The hardest part is getting there.

Where is Tham Lod Cave?

 

Tham Lod Cave is located 28.5km north west of Pai, as Santa flies.

When driving though you’re looking at a distnace of 50km thanks to the mountainous region and all of the windy roads you need to take to get there.

The Tham Lod Cave walking tour is booked just outside the entrance at the little booth.

How Do I Get to Tham Lod Cave?

 

Scooter.

Otherwise you can book tours that will drive you out there, but I don’t know much about them.

By scooter it took me an hour from my accommodation (Juno Hostel), and it was a hell of a lot of fun along the way. You will be treated to some icnredible winding roads, with some awesome views as well.

Just be careful, and be prepared for it to take longer than an hour for you if you’re not going fast or don’t like overtaking cars. The roads are very good quality though.

Use Google Maps on your phone to guide you when you get lost, but just know that after 45-50 minutes (or 41km on your odomoter) along highway 1095 you will come to a small town.

This town is where you turn off for the caves, it is all clearly sign posted and you won’t miss it.

How Long Does it Take to do a Tham Lod Cave Walking Tour?

 

This depends on how much of the cave you want to explore.

The cave tours come in 3 different packages which I will show you here.

As you can see the tours range from a half hour to the full hour and a half.

The tour guides will try and rush you through a bit quicker but just go at your own pace and stop as much as you want. I personally chose the full package and it took 1 hour and 15 minutes.

This included me trying to video stuff as I went. You can do it quicker than this if you’re in a hurry.

(Shot on the Sony a7R III using the Sony 16-35mm f/4).

When Should I do a Tham Lod Cave Walking Tour?

 

For me, I wanted to get there early and get it out of the way while it was relatively cool.

The opening hours for the Tham Lod Cave are 08:00 – 17:30.

The alternative option to this is doing the later tours when you will get to see the mass bat exodus, with the bats leaving the cave in the evening time to go hunt for food.

How to do a Tham Lod Cave Walking Tour?

 

Just go up to the booth and pay the money for a guide. You can’t go exploring by yourelf through the caves, you need to hire a local guide who will walk around with a lantern and point out features of the cave.

 

Tham Lod Cave Walking Tour Video

Watch this to get a better understanding of what the cave system looks like.

What Do I Need To Do A Tham Lod Cave Walking Tour?

 

You don’t need anything really except shoes.

Feel free to take a headlamp which will allow you to look in areas longer if the guide walks off with their gas lamp, which they sometimes do to try hurry you along.

Water is also worth carrying, the tour is not physically hard but it’s still the jungle which can be humid.

How Much Does it Cost to do a Tham Lod Cave Walking Tour?

 

There are 3 options available, but let’s be honest, you will be doing the full tour of all 3 caves if you’ve managed to ride all the way out here, otherwise it’s a waste.

The tour of all 3 caves includes a bamboo raft trip through the cave on the river system, which is arguably the highlight of the whole thing.

It costs ฿450 for a tour, with a maximum of 3 people per tour.

If you go with 2 other friends it will only be ฿150 per person, which is ridiculously good value for what you get.

(Shot on the Sony a7R III using the Sony 16-35mm f/4).

Tham Lod Cave Walking Tour – Other Things To Know

 

Some other issues you might want to know about, so you don’t leave disappointed.

Are the Tham Lod Cave Walking Tours Informative?

No.

The tour guide that I had (and I have heard it is the same for most people) was basically there to usher me through the cave within the hour and a half time limit.

I had my own headlamp which slowed her down, because she couldn’t wander off with her light and force me to follow here. She seemed annoyed that she had to stop and wait for me to take photos.

The extent of the information provided to me over the course of the Tham Lod Cave walking tour was simply her pointing at stalactites/stalagmites and saying “crocodile”, or “elephant” to let me know what each formation best represented.

There was no meaningful information at all and it was kind of embarrassing.

I’m all for helping the locals out, but this was taking the piss a bit.

Are the Tham Lod Cave Walking Tours Worth the Money?

 

Despite what I wrote above about the poor quality of tour guides, it’s easily worth the money.

Even without a group and paying the full ฿450 fee.

The beauty of the caves is the main attraction here, so exploring it all and enjoying the bamboo rafting ride on the river is still worth making the journey out here.

Is There Anything To Be Aware of?

 

I am sure it won’t happen to you, but through the small roads nearer to the cave entrance there can be the odd interaction with snakes.

I had a snake lunge out at me as I rode past on my scooter (only seeing it at the last second and lifting my legs up). So keep an eye out as you ride around and as you walk towards the cave entrance.

(Shot on the Sony a7R III using the Sony 16-35mm f/4).

Closing Thoughts

 

Definitely worth doing despite some uninspired tour guides.

I imagine that if you book a tour through a more reputable company that goes through the effort of transporting you there that you’d get a better guide. But I can’t confirm that.

Maybe I was unlucky.

The caves are fantastic, it would be very interesting to go back and see the exodus of the bats at the end of the day.

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