Thailand | How to Climb the Epic Tiger Cave Temple from Ao Nang

Staying in Ao Nang on the Andaman coast of mainland Thailand was handy for a couple of reasons. First, the numerous boat trips around the islands and the ease of reaching Railay Beach. But it was also the mountains of Krabi that drew us to the area - specifically Wat Tham Sua, or the Tiger Cave Temple as its better known.

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golden buddha at tiger cave temple

Situated at the top of a mountain, the 1237 step climb is tough but worth it for the epic views! I'm going to tell you how to climb the tiger cave temple from Ao Nang. 

ao nang view
honeymoon room bluesotel ao nang krabi
bluesotel ao nang krabi

Where to Stay

Ao Nang is a beach resort town in the Krabi province. If you're looking for a peaceful, local experience you won't find it here. This is tourist central. We stayed at the BlueSotel* which was beautiful, with a large restaurant and comfortable rooms. The pool had a swim up cocktail bar which we made full use of, as well as our private balcony. Some rooms even have direct pool access! 

divers inn ao nang krabi
Pad Thai at Divers Inn Ao Nang Krabi

Where to Eat

The whole street from the beach to our hotel was packed with shops, restaurants and bars. We ate at a small place called The Diver's Inn steak house which also did gorgeously presented Thai dishes. I'd recommend nearby Thailandia too for great food and live music.

tiger cave temple ao nang
1237 steps to temple krabi

How to Get There

You can book a tour to visit the Tiger Cave Temple, but it's really not necessary and you'd be better to have the freedom of making your own way there. Hire a scooter or flag down a taxi/songthaew (an open back truck that operates as a bus) instead. On the morning we wanted to visit, there didn't seem to be any taxis going about so we walked in the general direction (only for like 5 mins) before finally deciding to try a tuktuk.

We negotiated a price of 1000THB (roughly £23) and jumped on. This was one of those tuktuks that's more like a scooter with a basket attached to the side. You can imagine this young Thai guy putting his foot down and not getting very far with me and Gordon on board!

tiger cave temple steps krabi


For a minute we thought we were being kidnapped when our tuktuk driver turned down a random side street in the middle of nowhere and headed in the total opposite direction to the mountains. Turns out he was taking us to his house to pick up his car instead! Cue awkward greetings with Granny hanging the washing and his little brother playing outside as we piled into his souped up little Toyota!

Thai people in general are super friendly and helpful in our experience - this guy walked us right to the steps then waited at the mountain for 2 hours to take us back to Ao Nang (via his house again to collect the tuktuk)! - but do trust your instincts if something really doesn't feel right.

tiger cave temple krabi

Dress Appropriately

This is a temple after all, be respectful! Make sure your knees and shoulders are covered. I wore a tshirt and shorts and wrapped a scarf around my waist when in the temple itself. The guards seemed happy with this!

monkeys at tiger cave temple krabi
tiger cave temple steps krabi

Watch out for monkeys!

Monkeys roam freely at the base of the mountain and the first few flights of steps. Do not feed them and do not get too close. They might look cute but these little monkeys will literally steal the clothes off your back! I saw one running around with somebody's sunglasses and it's not unusual to see them snatch food/phones/anything out of tourist's hands. They seem to like shiny things too - they kept going for my water bottle which was luckily attached to my bag!

monkeys at tiger cave temple

1237 Steps

I'm not going to lie, the climb is hard work! You're hiking up 1237 steep as hell steps in 20-30 degree celsius. Bring plenty water, wear light, loose clothing and sensible footwear - and be prepared to sweat! Don't forget to remove your shoes before entering the temple at the top.

tiger cave temple krabi
tiger cave temple thailand
tiger cave temple krabi

Temple in the Sky

You will feel like giving up but keep going - I promise you it's worth it! Not only will you see the mountains and valley for miles below you, you get to explore the beautiful temple in the sky with it's gigantic ornate golden Buddha and you'll even see Buddha's footprint!

giant buddha tiger cave temple
tiger cave temple mountain view
tiger cave temple krabi

The Tiger Cave

When you make your way back down the steps, don't forget to visit the actual cave where the tiger is said to have roamed. This is how the temple got it's  name - that and the tiger paw prints in the cave! Here you'll also get the chance to witness monks meditating!

You won't see any actual tigers at this temple and I strongly urge you to avoid anywhere that does exploit animals in Thailand!

tiger cave temple krabi

And there you have it - my top tips on how to climb the epic Tiger Cave Temple from Ao Nang!


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