Amazing trek and caves in Northern Thailand, near to Mae Hong Son loop

Do you think caves are boring? Well, I admit I used to do so. But I changed my mind after spending a couple days here. If you’re riding the Mae Hong Soon loop or just planning a visit in Pai, you should consider spending a couple of days in Soppong (aka Pang Mapha district), Thailand’s caves capital.

Versione in italiano

Tham lotAnd of course staying with a real institution here, Cave lodge, run since 1986 by an Australian unofficial expert of the area. John is proposing a number of day tours which range from trekking, caving, to hilltribes visits, kayaking; all lead by local guides. The cute lodge is located just 10 minutes walk from the biggest cave in the region, Tham lot, which has very high ceiling and in which you will enjoy – in the darkness – a short ride on a boat. You must go with a guide, but they are cheap, particularly if you are in a group of three (I spent 5€ including entrance fee). Coming at sunset is the best since you will find an impressive natural phenomenon: thousands of birds flying and singing around the cave entrance.

Cave LodgeBut the tasty part was left for the next day. John’s requirement for tour n.1 (the 3 caves) “need to be fit” is quite an understatement. It was a bit of challenge indeed. But all worth it. The all day took about 7 hours with about 1 for rests. I joined a group of four other European fellows, so we spent 600 baht each (15€). We trekked in the hills, with great views, lots of ups and downs, passing through small rice and corn cultivation, spotting papaya trees. Though it was perfect weather, the trek was a bit muddy in places and this caused some difficulties where steep (yes I caressed the ground with my bum at times).
Trekking near SoppongThe three caves where all different. The fossil cave was going steep down and had plenty of stalagmites and stalactites, and you can get close to them as you would never be allowed in Western countries caves. Waterfall cave was amazing. And we then realised what the “be fit” was meant for… no fat people can possibly get in there! We passed through narrow tunnels, mostly laying down, often into water. It looked as a US marines training at times! Hard work, but great fun. The waterfall was basically a stream running underground which in the wet season fills the tunnels with water (I was there in mid November, dry season). Last cave is named Christmas cave. No Christmas tree looking stalagmites, sorry, it was just discovered around Xmas day. But some bats hanging down as Christmas tree balls where available lol. Finally we walked back to the lodge and enjoyed well deserved shower and rest in the evening. Overall a great day of fun an adventure. Try it and you’re change opinion on caves.

Did you visit these or other caves? Any question or suggestion?
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Mae Hong Son loop
John’s pictures of Thailands caves

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