There are many legendary beliefs in the footprints of the revered Buddha found in caves throughout Thailand but what about fossilized paw prints of ancient tigers? These are old but not necessarily prehistoric tigers or they just as well might be because they are fairly large in size and found only in one place in Thailand. A visit to the Wat Tham Sua in the province of Krabi in southern Thailand will be the place where you actually get to see this. The word “Wat” in Thai means temple and this place is known as the Tiger Temple Cave of Krabi. There are also many other tiger temples around Thailand and not to be confused with each other.
This particular temple of Wat Tham Sua in Krabi, can be included in a temple tour in Krabi package as there are also several interesting temples to visit as Krabi is in Thailand which is rich in temples and places of worship! In reality, Wat Tham Sua in Krabi is one of the most beautiful temples in the south of Thailand with a most breathtaking view on the top of a very steep hill and a maze of caves at the bottom and a jungle valley for the surrounding areas. There is also a killer of 1237 steps to climb for you to reach the top! Sounds like a very daunting task having to climb those steps but it is not a matter of racing for the top rather take your time to walk and stop along the climb up and admire the view. It is reputed that it takes a little more than an hour to climb the steps up to the top with stops along the way and half that time to come back down!
The Wat Tham Sua is a must see site when you visit Krabi and you can either go there on your own or you can also arrange for a private tour of the Wat Tham Sua from your travel agent such as thaitourismguide.com where you can also get a guide to accompany you and explain all the little intricacies of the temple. You do not need to rush and can take your time with those many steps which will leave you totally weak kneed if you are not in a very fit condition but well worth the effort for the climb when you see the view from the top. There are also plenty of beautiful Buddha statues and icons at the top which off course you can only see if you take the stairs, sorry no elevators or escalators here, it is all leg power!
Wat Tham Sua is located approximately three kilometers from the town of Krabi which can be reached by private tour transfers to Wat Tham Sua or you could also hire a taxi to take you there. If you want to see fossilized tiger paw prints, they are embedded in stone within the maze of caves on your way in and take the 1237 stairs up to see the Buddha footprint encased in stone at the very top of the temple!. Outside is surrounded by trees which are several hundred years old as well as valleys, mountains and caves. The whole scene reminds you of a movie scene from a Lara Croft adventure or one of those Indiana Jones movies about lost temples.
The monks who live and worship in this temple use the maze of caves as their meditation routes, living quarters and meditation chambers. The monks here practice insight meditation which is a focus on overcoming the human frailties and to reach a state of enlightenment of spiritual focus. One of the ways to make them focus on this is a collection of weird and bizarre images of dissected human organs and cadavers to depict the short terms of a human life and body. Do make it a point to visit this beautiful temple while you are visiting Krabi and make that extra effort to climb those stairs because the reward of a fantastic view is well worth the effort and do bring plenty of water with you for the climb and remember to go to the toilet before you start climbing those stairs!