Muang On – hillside cave network with stalactites & stalagmites, plus small shrines & Buddha statues

What is Muang On in Chiang Mai

In the area of the Muang On temple there is a huge cave, more precisely, it is a network of caves at different depths, which are connected by passages.

The cave consists of several spacious spaces on two levels, connected by a staircase. There are small shrines and Buddha statues located there.

There is also a magnificent 360° viewpoint located above the cave. The way up is along the stairs and is quite simple.

And another viewpoint is located at the very beginning of the path, next to the parking. It is lower, but the view from it is still beautiful. Thanks to the lower height, more details can be seen.

And finally, this place is actually free to visit. Considering all this, and also the fact that large caves equipped for tourists to visit are rare in Thailand, I definitely recommend visiting Muang On.

This place is also called on maps:

  • Tham Muang On
  • Tum On Cave
  • Muang On Cave
  • Wat Tham Muang On

Name in Thai:

  • ถ้ำเมืองออน

How to get to Muang On Cave

Muang On is located in the Thai province of Chiang Mai, at a distance of about 30 km from the city of Chiang Mai.

You need to get to the place marked on the map as “Mae On Cave Parking”.

The parking lot is not very large, but there are parking spaces for both cars and motorcycles. In my opinion, despite the fact that this place is very interesting, it is not very crowded. Apparently, few people know about it.

Motorcycle parking costs 10 baht.

There are also toilets there, their cost is also 10 baht.

To visit the cave and the second viewpoint, you need to climb these stairs.

At the entrance you need to make a donation – 20 baht per person.

At the end of the stairs, you will see a fork. Turn right to go to the caves.

What's interesting about Muang On Caves

At the entrance to the caves you can rent lanterns (20 baht). Inside the cave there is lighting and everything is clearly visible. Flashlights are needed for another reason – so that you can illuminate and see the cave arch and dark corners. That is, you can do without a flashlight. If you consider yourself the smartest and think that “I’ll turn on the flashlight on my phone,” then I’ll share my experience: the flashlight on my phone (I have the maximum brightness set) is not able to illuminate the arch and corners. The flashlight on the phone does not add anything to the already existing lighting in the cave. As for the rented flashlight (we took one), yes, it does allow you to see the darkest corners a little better.

A rather steep staircase leads into the cave.

Photos and videos of Muang On cave

Already on the first level you can observe stalactites and stalagmites. These are stone “icicles” that grow up and down. The reason for their formation is water seeping dropwise, rich in calcium. The water evaporates, but the calcium remains – this is how “icicles” appear. Those that grow from top to bottom (stalactites) are formed due to the seepage and evaporation of water on the ceiling.

Those that grow from the bottom up (stalagmites) are also formed due to the seepage of water from the ceiling, but the water manages to drip down and evaporates there. Therefore, by the way, sometimes stalactites and stalagmites grow towards each other – some droplets evaporate before they fall down, and some manage to fall.

By the way, such caves themselves are formed due to the fact that water washes away calcium minerals, which, although poorly, are still slightly soluble in water. In addition, calcium minerals are softer. Rocks that are more resistant to water erosion remain.

A short video from the Muang On Cave:

In the video you can see me looking into the lower tier of the caves.

Another steep staircase leads to the lower level of the caves. Below, the caves are more extensive and interesting.

To estimate the size of the statue, look at the previous photo (only part of the statue is visible there) and compare it with the size of the people.

And this is what the staircase we went down looks like – not the whole staircase, its top and bottom were not included in the frame.

In general, the landscape seems to be alien.

Below, in addition to the Buddha statue, there are several buildings of a religious nature.

Some stones are signed, for example “Dinosaur”.

And here it says “Millennium Wood” – possibly petrified tree.

The more you look at the vaults of the caves, the more you think – will some stone fall on my head?

Note that there is a non-obvious turn that leads to another large cave – don't miss it.

Overall, Muang On Cave is definitely a recommended place to visit if you are in Chiang Mai. I know of only two caves like this in all of Thailand. The second is located near Hua Hin and at the time of the visit there was no electric lighting.

Very close to this place is San Kamphaeng Hot Springs – the most spectacular and possibly the best hot springs in Thailand. You can visit both of these places on one trip.

Before you leave Muang On Cave, note that there are two great viewpoints here. They are discussed in the next post.

See continuation: Muang On Viewpoints

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