Temple of Doom…!!!
The Tiger Cave/Temple (Wat Tham Sua) is one of….if not the only, attraction well known in the town itself. It is an 8km road trip from the main town centre along 2 major roads then a couple of side roads. Kelly and I decided that in the 40 degree heat the only way to do it was to ride bikes…hearing about the 1237 steps wasn’t enough for us to realise it was a bad idea.
For those of you from Melbourne you may know of the 1000 steps in Dandenong dedicated to the Kokoda trail in Papua New Guinea, this unfortunately is baby play compared to the Tiger Temple. Seriously we went in thinking its not that much more than 1000 so we should be fine. How wrong we were 😥
We started the day early trying to miss the stupidly hot day time sun and rented bikes from the Pak-Up Hostel we were staying at. With the knowledge of the inquisitive monkeys we might face we set off with the bare essentials. With the breeze in our hair and the sun rising from the east we rode the flat roads all the way to 7-eleven where I had to ask for directions after leaving the map at home. The english barrier was too much for this lady to bare we once again set off and hoped things would go our way. The ride on the map I had previously looked at made it seem very short and quite straight forward, however the caption in the top did say not to scale. This to me meant “just a little bit out” to the Thai’s it means “its soooooo far away we had to lie about its location”.
The main road took us half way and I knew to take a right, this however lead us to the second of maybe 4 roads of which I thought was meant to be only 2. Asking a few locals were the ‘Wat’ was they knew what I meant. We rode the last kilometre off the beaten track and made our way to the sacred cave and temple.
We were there quite early and it wasn’t very busy, but I think people probably knew how stupid the walk was. We set foot and as if not looking up to the shrine in the sky didn’t make it seem hard enough, step one, which was probably 30cm tall, told me that this was a tough ask. We meandered the next 1236 steps as if we had been drugged, or beaten, like 12 rounds with Tyson and battled the heat, exhaustion and tired legs to find what has to be described as something photos can’t do justice to. The view of the surrounding region was stunning, the town to one side the mountains to another. Layers upon layers of natural wonders. It was heaven on earth….except we had to get down.
Jelly legs wobbled as stray puppy dogs followed (legit, seriously) we stumbled our way back down, with absolutely no fluid left in my body we made our way to the local watering hole, you guessed it, a 7eleven, right at the bottom of the temple. They really know how to keep traditions here! Worse was still to come, as the heat had began the bike ride home became less enjoyable than anticipated the pace slowed and we practically walked the bike across the finish line to our dorm, where the bikes that were hired for a full day stayed rested from 11:30am onwards.