Muang On Cave - Sign

Muang On Cave - Sign

Muang On Cave - Naga Stairway

Muang On Cave - Naga Stairway

Muang On Cave - Viewing Spot

Muang On Cave - Viewing Spot

Muang On Cave - Stairwell

Muang On Cave - Stairwell

Muang On Cave - Staircase

Muang On Cave - Staircase

Muang On Cave - Buddah Statue

Muang On Cave - Buddah Statue

Muang On Cave - Descent

Muang On Cave - Descent

Muang On Cave - Grotto

Muang On Cave - Grotto

Muang On Cave - Shrine

Muang On Cave - Shrine

For something totally different to see and do, try to fit in your trip a visit to Muang On Cave system in the Chiang Mai area. This cave system is a fascinating place to visit.

Local stories say that in centuries past when the area around Muang On was being invaded, by Burmese and other invading armies, the local villagers would gather their belongings and ample supplies of food and hide out in the Muang-On Cave systems till things settled down.

Muang On Cave is situated in the San Kamphaeng District, about 30km East of Chiang Mai near the Hot Springs. The road leading to Muang-On Cave winds it's way up the side of a hill to a small car park. There are several vendors selling food and souvenirs here and there is plenty of shaded seating available. If you do not have a water bottle, it is a good idea to grab a cold drink here as it can be a hot climb.

From the car park you have to climb up a steep Naga Serpent stairway, about 180 steps, before reaching the entrance to the cave. The entrance fee is 30THB and it goes towards the upkeep of the cave system. Check that the lights have been switched on before descending into some big caverns.

Once inside you have several steep staircases going down along with several flat walkways in between. All the way down you will pass by grottos dotted with shrines most of which are lit with fluorescent lights. When you reach the main cavern floor you will see a huge 30 foot long reclining Buddha. Look above the statue and see if you can see what some say is a fossilised dinosaur skeleton.

The Muang-On Caves are filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. There is a winding concrete pathway along the cavern floor allowing you to wander along till you finally reach the end of the caverns. All the way along the path you will see dozens more of the little shrines that have been erected over the decades.No need to duck your head moving around in this cave system as it if full of towering caverns and fluorescent lights artfully placed around to enhance the look and feel of natural rock formations.

Look for the  large seated Buddha statue sitting up on a ledge amidst stalactites. There is also a huge stalagmite some 30 feet high that has been turned into a shrine and creates an impressive effect when decorated in yellow and orange silk wraps.

Take your time and wander all over the caverns as there are some fascinating sights along with lots of nooks and crannies to be found. Once you have finished exploring the caverns be prepared for the long climb back up the staircases to the cave entrance.

A visit to Muang On Cave is a great day trip especially if combined with a visit to the Hot Springs, and visits to the many handicraft centres and factories dotted all along San Kamphaeng Road.

A bigger and more famous cave system near Chiang Mai is the Chiang Do Caves system. It is roughly 70 Klm north of Chiang Mai. However, the Muang On Cave system is just as fascinating and is not as full of tourists.

Muang On Cave - Chiang Mai

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