Wat Khao Tham — Mountain Cave Monastery — is located in the forested hills above Baan Tai, on Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand. It is a small monastery following the Thai Forest Tradition.
It has a lovely traditional temple with a large reclining Buddha image, and a viewpoint with a small temple containing a "Buddha footprint" and paintings of the life of the Buddha. On the way, beautiful walks through the trees with scattered chedis, small images and stone carvings throughout. The viewpoint overlooks the forest, Thongsala, and the Gulf of Thailand, with the islands of Samui and Angthong Marine Park.
You are welcome to come and meditate here.
Phra Chaiwat is the abbot of the Khao Tham monastery.
He sometimes gives dhamma teachings during the monthly retreat at the adjacent Khao Tham Insight Meditation Center
Wat Khao Tham is in the forested hills above Baan Tai town, on Koh Pha Ngan (Pha Ngan Island), north of Koh Samui (Samui Island), in the Gulf of Thailand.
Wat Khao Tham, and the Baan Tai area
Click map image ↑ for larger image
Click link → for Khao Tham/Baan Tai interactive map at OpenStreetMap.
When you come, please park in the lower parking lot, before you enter the grounds.
If you come by taxi, the driver will usually know to park there.
Grab a stick there also to discourage any unpredictable dogs (good practice anywhere in Asia when on foot!).
Then walk up to the main meeting hall and open area, and you will see two roads branching off. The road straight ahead goes up to the monastery grounds and the viewpoint, and the road to the right goes up to the meditation hall and temple, all through beautiful forest of Khao Tham.
You are welcome to walk along the main road through the monastery (to the viewpoint). Please do not go off to the sides or bother the small houses (kutis) — monks are living there!
If you would like to talk with the abbot, Phra Chaiwat, keep an eye out for someone on the property, and ask them.
There may be a meditation retreat going on (on the side with the meditation hall and temple). If so, there will be a sign crossing the road that way. It is ok to go up, but please be extra quiet.
Wat Khao Tham is a traditional, consecrated, Thai temple and monastery, not a tourist attraction. The abbot kindly allows the public to visit.
If you are not native to Thailand or other Buddhist countries, you may not know about the appropriate ways to dress and behave. It is all about respect:
inviting all to come and see ...
svakkhato bhagavata dhammo
sanditthiko akaliko ehipassiko
opanayiko paccattam veditabbo vinnuhiti
The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One
To be seen here and now, timeless, inviting all to come and see,
leading inwards, to be seen by the observant for themselves . . .