Phung Chang Cave - Elephant Cave is something that there is not a lot written about.
At the front of the cave there is a long road leading to a temple - lovely surroundings.
At the side is a long wooden terrace - not really something to photograph or write home about!
At this point you are kitted out with with a head light and a torch...
Walking down some steps you come across a number of smaller Wats in front of a big cave entrance.... The stalagmites and stalactites give the most amazing sites as you enter (carefully) in.
It was at this point that I was told that we were not allowed to take a photograph! Why?
"Tham Phung Chang is a cavern on Khao Chang or Chang Hill (Elephant Hill) within Phangnga Municipility. The Cave has two entrances, one on the West and one on the Eat of the hill, inside Wat Tham Pung Chang. The cave houses beautiful stalagmites and stalactites of various shapes, as well as contains sparkling calcite crystals on some parts of it's wall. A stream flows through the cave all year round with deep water in some parts. The distance from one entrance to the other is approximately 1,200 metres.
According to legend, Yomdung, a wanderer, sought refuge at Chongdong's house. The couple moved out of the house to establish their own family, earning living by farming. Towards the end of the harvest season, a herd of wild elephants trampled their crops. Disappointed and infuriated, Yomdung got a spear and pursued the herd. He encountered an elephant that belonged to a man called 'Ngum', mistook it for for the one in the wild herd, speared the animal to death through it's belly, gutted it an cooked the guts for food and lso cut the tusks - unaware of the animal's innocence.
The dead elephant became Chang Hill and the speared belly became 'Tham Phung Chang', the elephant belly's cave.
This was written on a board.
The cave length is about 1,200 metres and you first enter on foot and are swiftly put onto the canoes. Carefully canoeing along you look everywhere and as you are told by your guides the shapes are actually the shapes of animals - I am very lucky having a Thai wife as she was able to translate everything for me!
This made me thing of the oddness - what would the caves look like on film? Despite this we were taken in by the atmosphere and I did not mind in the slightest... Then there was a raft - now this was a little scary to say the least and I was glad that I was not trying to take photographs....
Returning was easier. Leaving the canoes was a relief...
We then left a different way on foot walking past a Buddha footprint where we left some money - we don't see many of these.