Another popular stop is the serpentine cavern el evated on a hill high above
Laem Sala Beach. The cave is defined by two large sinkholes whose roofs have
collapsed to allow sunlight and rain to reach the floor of the caverns. Tham
Praya Nakhon is named after a former ruler who found refuge in the labyrinth
some 200 years ago after violent storms forced his ship in from the churning
waters. The cave achieved greater fame on 20 June 1890 after a royal pavilion was constructed inside the chambers to honor the visit of King Rama V. Praya
Nakhon was also visited in June 1926 by King Rama VII, who left his signature on
the north wall to complement the older signature of King Rama V. The present
king of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, has twice visited the cave to contin ue
the royal tradition.
Praya Nakhon Cave can be reached from Laern Sala Beach via a steep rock trail
that winds some 430 meters and rises almost 130 meters before it reaches the
magnificently sited cavern. Visitors should wear decent shoes and be prepared
for some rather treacherous climbs.