Phu Ma Dang Cave is one of the most fascinating caves in Kanchanaburi Province. It is known only by the locals and doesn’t feature on any of the tourist itineraries. The cave sits near the top of Na Kon Mountain on the main Kanchanaburi – Sai Yok highway and can be reached by a very steep climb through bamboo forest.
The arduous climb might just be the reason that the cave remains virtually unknown to the outside world. As for me, labouring up a steep mountainside for half an hour in 40-degree heat and 80% humidity is part of the adventure, that makes the entire experience all the more worthwhile.
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Stalactites and chiselled floor
The coolness of the cave is a welcome relief from the moist heat outside. There is pretty much just one chamber in the cave, but it is quite vast and thankfully it hasn’t suffered much damage from local souvenir hunters.
The floor, the walls and the ceiling of the cave are covered with surrealistic calcium formations; some resembling snow and corals others – broken glass and ice sculptures. The variety of shapes and colours is spectacular. The most unusual is the floor. In many places, it is composed of small irregular triangles that defy the concept of there being no straight lines in nature.
That floor is one of the strangest things I have ever seen. The triangles appear like precisely cut tiles in some rustic design bathroom. But it appears that they have been created by dripping water like everything else in the cave.
The view from the entrance of the cave stretches across the Kanchanaburi countryside: fields fringed by the rolling hills of forested mountains.
Visiting Phu Ma Dang Cave
The cave is virtually unknown outside of the few surrounding villages, so you will have to visit it independently. It is located along the Sangchuto Road that runs from Kanchanaburi to Sai Yok. From Kanchanaburi head to Chia Tai Farm. About 34km out of town you will see rows of greenhouses on your right – this is Chia Tai.
Another 2km down the road, you will come to a Caltex petrol station on your left. This is a good place to ask the local shop attendants to point out the Nakon Mountain.
Once you get to the mountain look up to find the cave near the top (refer to the top image in this post).
Make sure to take plenty of water with you. The climb is hard work and the heat will be your worst enemy. And of course, bring a torch – the cave is pitch black.