Erawan Cave

Finding the Erawan Cave is not difficult. Coming from Udon Thani the cave is clearly signposted. You just drive up the Nongbua Lamphu 4-lane highway 210 in the direction of Loei. After about 50 km turn right, and after a few minutes you'll reach the parking lot in front of the stairs to the cave.

The cave itself is located about halfway up one of the limestone hills, which extend from the otherwise flat landscape seemingly out of nowhere into the sky. To climb to the cave, you should be equipped with reasonably healthy knees and a stout pair of shoes. 640 steps lead to the cave entrance, there's no way around this climb you want to visit the cave. But the steep and strenuous climb is well worth the effort! The cave is huge and can be walked for its entire length.

The cave was named after a mythical three-headed elephant - it's statue welcomes visitors at the foot of the stairs leading to the top.

Erawan Cave - am Fuß der Treppe  Erawab Cave - kurz vor dem Aufstieg

Past the three-headed giant, you can see now that a lot of sweat will be spilled on the way to the cave.

Erawan Cave - es geht bergauf

There are plenty of resting places on the switchbacks in the spiral staircase - small shelters with benches allowing good vantage points for the visitor to enjoy the views.

Erawan Cave - auf halber Höhe

Erawan Cave - Ausblick

At some point you think you're on target, but there's still a decent climb to go.

Erawan Cave - kurz vor dem Ziel

Erawan Cave - Buddha begrüßt an der Höhle

Upon arriving at the cave entrance, it's not immediately apparent as to the extent of the cave.

Erawan Cave - Einblick in die Höhle

Once you have climbed the first few meters down into the cave you might think that's it, but the end of the road far from being reached.

Erawan Cave - es geht tief hinein

Further into the cave there's a staircase that leads down into a huge hall. The colourful lighting illuminates stalagmites, and you can imagine how much time must have passed since the first stone sculptures began to grow from the ground.

Erawan Cave - am Eingang zum großen Saal

Erawan Cave - riesige Stalagmiten

A look back shows how small you are yourself, and how big the cavity.

Erawan Cave - man fühlt sich klein

Crossing the huge hall, one should pay attention to the ground, otherwise you may miss some of the small crevices where fascinating sculptures are growning.

Erawan Cave - in den Nischen stecken die Details

Erawan Cave - wie alt mögen diese Skulpturen sein

Deeper and deeper into the cave and you start to wonder whether at the end perhaps if there could be an alternative way down. A total of 840 steps and you have finally reached the bottom of the cave.

Erawan Cave - weitere Stufen führen durch die Höhle

Further on, a partly stooping walk past lots of small heaps of stones that were piled up by visitors from the stones of the cave entrance to serve as symbols of good luck, you finally reach the steep stairs. The light far above suggests that there must be another cave access.

Erawan Cave - die letzte Treppe

Anyone not strong enough to tackle these steep steps might now consider going back, but if you carry on you will be inspired by the fantastic views.

Erawan Cave - Ausblick am Ende der Höhle

Erawan Cave - auf einer kleinen Plattform

Once you have taken in the views, you will feel now, at the beginning of the return trip, the first aching in the thighs. 200 steps back through the cave, some uphill, some downhill, then 640 more steps downhill!

Erawan Cave - der Anfang vom Rückweg

But despite all the effort and the onset of fatigue, there is much to discover on the way back - like this little plant that seems to grow out of the rocky cave wall.

Erawan Cave - kleine Entdeckungen

The path that had led the way into the cave leads downhill, then again uphill!

Erawan Cave - auf halber Strecke zurück

Soaked with sweat, the entrance to the cave is eventually reached.

Erawan Cave - Licht in Sicht

Given your exhaustion and gallons of spilled sweat and burning in your legs, you can now be inspired by the smile of the Buddha.

Erawan Cave - das Lächeln Buddhas

No fatigue can disguise the wonder of seeing the flat bottom hills and mountains of this area that help to give it a special character.

Erawan Cave - Ausblick auf dem Rückweg

After gaining ground level at last, the aching fibers in the calves and thighs can have a well-deserved rest.

Erawan Cave - die letzten Stufen

Despite the hardships and climbing, or maybe a little because of it, a visit to the Erawan cave was a highlight - absolutely recommended for visitors to the area!

posted on: 10.07.2012 - last update on: 23.03.2017

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