Chao Ram Cave (Phra Ram Cave)

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Chao Ram Cave (Tham Chao Ram) in Sukhothai Thailand

Chao Ram Cave, the treasure of the Bat’s dung!

Chao Ram Cave or Phra Ram Cave or better known among the local is Tham Chao Ram is one of the top significant sightseeing in Ban Dan Lan Hoi district in Sukhothai. The place has its long history dates back to the Sukhothai era where the location to discover the remarkable Buddha images and the inscribe.

Background of Chao Ram Cave

Chao Ram Cave located within Si Satchanalai Historical Park in the area of Wang Ta-khian Forest Wildlife Sanctuary, Mae Mok – Mae Lamphan National Park in Wang Nam Khao sub-district of where the place is 30 km away approximately from the town of Ban Dan Lan Hoi to the north.

The story of Chao Ram Cave, recorded initially in the inscribe of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great and later the local residents named the place distorted from the original as “Tham Chao Ram” (Chao Ram Cave). According to the evidence and the telling presumed that Chao Ram Cave might be connected to the King Ramkhamhaeng the Great in 2 cases by following;

Firstly, the place used to be the area for relaxation of King Ramkhamhaeng since the site has the remarkable, beautiful natural circumstance.

Secondly, it was the asylum from any harm and enemy because in the center of the cave is the spacious and airy ground with a hole on the ceiling to let the sunlight comes through, plus a large amount of capacity. Moreover, there’s the inscription in Sukhothai language located inside the tunnel, as well.

Folk Legends of Chao Ram Cave

The villagers believe that while taking the tour inside Chao Ram Cave, any of impolite words or profanation are unappropriated behavior and would cause any unexpected incidence. For example, the bat’s excrement within the cave is costly led to the greedy in human and peril as the negative consequence for many greedy people even to the death.

According to the villagers’ telling, there’s the explorer to survey inside the Chao Ram Cave and found that the appearance of the cave is blended of both wide and narrow space and very long. It said that the end of the hole lies through Lampang province noticed from the bat’s excrement was on fire at the entrance; however, there’s smoke released at the end of the cave where the place is the connection to the region mentioned previously. Moreover, there’s an enormous pool inside the cave, as well as the numbers of the ancient Buddha images were found over there, too.

Typography of Chao Ram Cave

Chao Ram Cave is the treasure of the Bat’s dung

The characteristic around the location of Chao Ram Cave is limestone mountain with approximately 400 meters high above the sea level. The flatlands scattered within the valley with the tropical rain forest and mixed forest that are the source of many waterways, such as Huay Krai, Huay Sadao, and Huay Mae Thun Noi. Those of streams are filled with the water all year round resulted in the area over there is plentiful with diverse species of the wildlife, for example, barking deer, mountain goat, bear, and various kind of bird. And notably, Chao Ram Cave I the habitat of the millions of bats. Presently, there’s the country road crosses parallel to the borderline of the Tham Chao Ram Wildlife Sanctuary along the way from the north to the south from Thung Saliam district to Si Samrong district. There are important communities including Ban Nam Dib village, Ban Sok Peui village, and Ban Paed Lang village. Most of the residents live life by doing crop farming, while some are the woodcutter and hunter-gatherer. Also, the area in the south adjacent to Ban Dan Lan Hoi district.

Wood Resource:

1. mixed forest

2. dry evergreen forest

3. deciduous dipterocarp forest

4.  grassland

Wildlife Resource:

1. 6 species of the mammal including Bat, Rat, Wild boar, Monkey, Langur, and Squirrel.

2. Various species of the bird including Streak-eared Bulbul, Stripe-throated Bulbul, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Black drongo, Greater Racket-tailed drongo, Blue jay, White-throated Kingfisher, Oriental magpie robin, White-rumped Shama, White-vented Myna, Crested Treeswift, Coppersmith Barbet, Lineated Barbet, Hainan Blue Flycatcher, Spotted Dove, Common goldenback, House Swift, Greater Coucal, and Black-winged Kite.

Also, the kinds of reptile which are Monitor lizard, Boa, Python, Cobra, King cobra, Banded krait, and Oriental whip snake.

The outstanding characteristic of the place

Natural Highlight

Chao Ram Cave or Tham Phra Ram is the habitat of various species of the bat prey on the insect, especially Tadarida plicata which is up to 800,000 – a million in total. The bats fly from the cave for prey in the evening in progression form creating the beautiful scene of nature towards the eyes of the beholder, indeed.

The Giant Teak Tree, an enormous teak tree has stood and still alive with approximately 25 meters in its height and 630 cm of the circumference. The tree is about 3 km from Chao Ram Cave to the north. 

Dong Chan Pha which is the habitat of the limestone mountain plants. The location is highlighted with the large bunch of Chan Pha plant of Dracaena loureirin at the rear of ranger office at the foot of the Cheng Pha Waterfall. The fall sourced from the fountain that bobbed up from the ground and allocated into 3 levels with the highest tier is 20 meters high in the estimate.

Nong Kho Reservoir, a small reservoir situated in front of Wang Ta-khian Forest Preservation Unit. The place serves as the recreation spot for fishing activity.

The treasure of the Bat’s excrement in Chao Ram Cave

Nowadays, there are 6 species of the bat reside in Chao Ram Cave which is about 2 million in total. Previously, the bat’s droppings were transferred from here by the ruffian network until the first concession to collect the bat’s excrement issued in 1991 and in 1995 as the second time. Nonetheless, the authorization was over in 2002 followed to the declaration to reserve the area as the wildlife sanctuary.

In the year 2009, there was the researcher got into the Chao Ran Cave for the inspection. From the survey found that there are up to 2 million bats reside within the cave and they excrete about 200 kg per day or 73 tons per year in total. Until now, it expects that there is cumulative excrement of the bat inside Chao Ram Cave 1,000 tons approximate with the value more than hundred million Baht!

The chief of the Wang Nam Khao District Administration Organization said that the office submitted the proposal to get the permission to take the excrement of the bat inside Chao Ram Cave for agriculture purpose in which of organic composting. This to promote the local farmers to produce the fertilizer locally resulting in decreasing in the cost of farming and alternate from chemical compost, too. More than that, bringing out all of the bat’s droppings will enhance the domestic tourism as the tourist can enter to tour inside the cave as ecotourism. The tourist will see and study the biosystem in the cave, too.

The chief also mentioned that “leaving the excrement of the bat like that apart from the waste of it, it leads to the numbers of inflammation, too. In the past, there were 40 times of the fire and caused some part of the bat to flee from the site while some were killed on the fire. Plus, the heat also resulted in the subside and collapse of the cave. No matter what will be the decision which is depending on the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, Chao Ram Cave is still the valuable natural resource that is worthwhile to reserve for the next generation and the nation, indeed.

Tourist Information

  • The trip to go to Chao Ram Cave, the tourist can go there by driving to the area in front of the cave. The distance from Ban Dan Lan Hoi to Chao Ram Cave is approximately 30 km which takes about 45 minutes drives in the estimate.
  • The tourist should bring along the necessity for the journey such as the cloth to change after the tour since there is plenty of bat’s excrement inside the hollow that can be diffused and stick over the body. Also, the torch is a must as it’s very dark in the cave. In case the tourist would like to watch the group of bats in the evening, preparation of dinner or something to eat is recommended, as well as the camping facility included tent and bedding if you plan to stay a night at the site.
  • Timing to visit Chao Ram Cave
At 2.00pm   Recommended time to arrive around the area in front of the cave.
At 2.00pm – 5.00pm Taking trip inside the cave and the environed panorama surrounding the cave
At 5.00pm Prepared to witness the crowd of bats fly out of the cave for preying in the nightfall.
At 5,.30pm  Watch the group of bats continually fly out of the cave while the tourist is having the meal and relax.
At 6.00am of the next morning, the tourist can witness the crowd of bats come back to the cave.

Travel to Chao Ram Cave

1. From the town of Sukhothai, drives along the road route Sukhothai – Thing Saliam with about 67 km. Later, continues your drive on the laterite path route Thung Saliam – Ban Dan Lan Hoi in about 19 km. And you will arrive at Tham Chao Ram Wildlife Sanctuary Office. The total distance is 86 km.

2. From the town of Sukhothai, travels on the road route Sukhothai – Tak until reaching Ban Dan Lan Hoi district which is 27 km of distance. Then, takes the right turn to enter the road Ban Dan Lan Hoi – Thung Saliam more 34 km until destine at Tham Chao Ram Wildlife Sanctuary Office. It is 61 km in the total of the distance. 

The tourist that would like to take the tour in Chao Ram Cave shall contact to ask for the permission from the wildlife sanctuary office before the making the trip. The office located in the area of Huay Nong Kho Reservoir or about 7 km from the cave

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