Hiking in the Cinque Terre

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Beach, Monkeys, Cave

After leaving Monkey Island, our boat made its way to Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.  Took about twenty minutes, and the scenery along the way was just beautiful.  We had to stop and buy tickets at the national park office, then our captain took us on to Laem Sala Beach.  A student volunteer guide met us, and led us on the 430 meter (yards) hike up to the Phraya Nakhon Cave. The trail was steep, and although we had shade from trees, it was still very hot.  My shirt was so drenched by the time we finished, you could wring out a half cup of sweat!  On the plus side, this was the start of my significant weight loss - four pounds (2 kilos) in a month.  The walking, the sweating, my meals.  All of that. Well, that's another story.  Anyway, we hiked up to the cave.  For those who know the Appalachian Mountains in Asheville, NC, the degree of difficulty was almost like the hike up Mount Pisgah, from the parking lot to the top. Quite a challenge, yet not in distance, but steepness.  Our goal was to get to the cave between 10-11 AM, when the light coming through the opening, down onto the "throne," is the best. And we did it!

I couldn't pick my favorite image of me with the sign!  What's interesting, though, is that we took these images after our hike.  And it's a double-sided sign.  Behind me is the beach, and I am looking in the direction of the trail that takes you up the mountain, to the cave.  My videos above will give you a better perspective.  Both of them show you the mountain we hike.  As our boat approaches the island, there's the white sandy beach and coconut palms.  The mountain is just behind.

We were told if we were lucky we would see some Dusky Leaf Monkeys.  Sure enough, just as we started our hike, our guide pointed up into the trees.  This was the most thrilling part of the whole hike to me.  I also got them on video!  Be sure to check it out.

See the dark figures?  Maybe you can enlarge and see more details.  Dusky Leaf Monkeys.

one cave opening, with a "sky bridge"

the front of the "throne"

a second cave opening, above the small temple

This is the backside of the "throne" yet the first vantage point you have when entering this cave section.

The history the "throne" or Royal Pavilion is very interesting.  You can read about it here.

life-like replicas of monks who used to stay in the cave

This monk is the one whose headstone and photo are on the wall.  His ashes are kept here.

Kade being a respectful and dutiful Thai

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