Any tourist to Thailand will never be short of temples to visit, but Wat Tham Pha Plong really is one not to be missed. Located in the beautiful mountain ranges by Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary, the temple is a magical retreat into nature and a truly spiritual place.
The small cave temple is perched impressively on a hillside and can be reached by an ascent of 510 steps. Though this may sound daunting, it is a mix of climbs and descents, with plenty of places to stop off for a rest and watch the resident monks pass by. Free drinking water and umbrellas are also provided.
Along the way are signposts with Buddhist wisdom from the Dharma, which can be contemplated as you make your way up.
The temple itself is dedicated to the revered meditation master Luang Poo Sim, who once practiced here and whose image adorns many of the walls. Above the cave is a beautiful, golden stupa and the whole complex offers views across the local hills, with plenty of places for a peaceful sit down.
Entrance to the temple is free but visitors are asked to dress modestly when entering the temple grounds, ensuring to cover the shoulders and knees. Visitors are also asked to keep the peace by minimizing noise, and by conducting themselves quietly and respectfully.