A huge cave
Lod Cave, or Tham Lod, is a huge cave system that, once a place of residence for prehistoric man, discovered ancient clay pottery and several carved wooden coffins inside the rooms of the cave.
Here, nature has created an exotic subterranean wonderland of darkness and mystery. The cave is full of stalactites and stalagmites.
A brook runs from the cave mouth to the other side of the mountain. Visitors can explore the 1-kilometer-long route by foot or raft.
There are services provided by villagers to guide visitors in their exploration for 600 THB* per 3 people in a group. (*update, June 25, 2023)
Accommodation, as well as a camping site, is available near the Tham Lot Nature Study Centre in front of the cave mouth.
How to get there
They have no public transport to Lod Cave directly. But you can take a minivan by Prem Pracha from Pai for about 1 hour and from Mae Hong Son for about 2 hours. Get off at Pang Mapha District (Soppong). And then take a local taxi service i.e. motorcycle or tuk-tuk. Small roads lead to the cave after a 9-kilometer drive.
You can buy a group tour with an agency along Walking Street both half-day and full-day. It’s a very convenient and good rate.
From Mae Hong Son
There are no public tours available in Mae Hong Son; only private groups are permitted. Therefore, you will have to arrange private transport on your own. Anyway, see good options car service by Chan Chai or Mr. Nong.
In both directions, no matter which way you arrange private transport. Lod is between Pai and Mae Hong Son on Route 1095, and you can plan a trip to another destination. Just stopping by here for 2 hours will be good.
What are the highlights?
The largest limestone cave in the north of Thailand is about 2 meters in width, 50 meters in height, and some 200 meters in length. Spend about 1:30 hours exploring the three main, spacious chambers of the Lod cave.
Inside can be found a stream running through with its interiors decked with beautiful stalagmites and stalactites which are as huge as a hall.
- Explore Column Cave.
- The first chamber contains a lot of stalagmite and stalactite, and also the highest limestone pillar up to 21 meters in height.
- Discover the prehistoric paintings and the Doll Cave.
- The second chamber contains a very old wall painting, about 1500–2000 years old. Unfortunately, the painting has been erased by many human hands. So it is now hardly visible in the full color painting.
- Experience bamboo rafting in the cave.
- The only way to reach the final chamber, also known as the “coffin cave,” is by taking the bamboo raft from the second chamber to the “coffin cave,” where you can look inside an old wooden coffin that has been left behind.
The cost of the ticket and the bamboo raft
A guide with lanterns is available here and costs 600 THB* per group of 1-3 people. (*update 25 June 2023)
NOTE: If you are solo traveling. You can ask to share with others as a group of 3 people. It’s good that they will get to visit the full path of each other.
Best time to visit Lod Cave
Regarding visiting Lod Cave with a full itinerary.
There appears to be something similar to our blog on “The Best time to visit Mae Hong Son“, but in my experience, the best time is during the early rainy season, late May to July, and November to mid-February. However, sometimes it can be crowded with tourists.
You can travel at other times. However, not every cave can be visited; for example, in September, there may be a lot of rain, or in March and April, the water level is too low for rafting.
A sample itinerary
Drive along the beautiful mountain road to a Black Lahu village. On the way take a break at the Pang Mapha viewpoint. See the beautiful scenery of the mountain range.
Then visit a Back Lahu village “Baan Jabo” Visit and see the local lifestyle of the Lahu tribe, and cultivation area, and a chance to see local Lahu dance.
Afterward, exploring Mae Lana village, begin to visit a Shan temple and cultures, the traditional sesame oil making station, and the rice paddy field.
Visit one of the biggest Cave in the North of Thailand “Lod Cave’. Lod Cave contains three main chambers, the first is “a giant pillar cave” with is a height of 21 meters.
The second is a “doll cave” which contains a different kind of stone formation and also looks like a doll. The doll cave also contains a very old wall painting aging around 2,000 years.
The third is s “coffin cave”. Take a bamboo raft from a doll cave then climb up to see the remained wood coffin aging around 2,000 years old then return to the entrance.
Late afternoon, return to the hotel.
What else is near Lod Cave?
If you have a lot of time and are interested in camping here, it’s available, but the rooms inside the premises are not always available for tourists. You have to learn how to pre-book them directly online. For me, I don’t wish to do that.
Local food and beverage outlets are available in the parking lot. The shop will close around 5 p.m. if there are no more tourists.
Each day just before sunrise and just after sunset, you can see the spectacle of birds and bats exiting and entering the cave.
Car with driver
Visitors, please protect the cave by
- Keeping to the footpaths the guide directs you to.
- Do not touch any cave formation.
- No writing on the cave walls.
- Plants and animals must not be disturbed or harmed.
- No smoking, making loud noises, leaving litter, or lighting fires.