Kanchanaburi Cave Diving
We were recently luckily invited on a TCDA – Thailand Cave Diving Association Kanchanaburi Cave Diving liveaboard trip on the Vajiralongkorn Dam, Khao Laem National Park, Thong Pha Phum, Kanchanaburi.
Situated 340km from Bangkok it was a 6hr drive late night drive to stay overnight in the accomodation on the dam owned by PEA then an early start as we loaded kit on to our raft house via long tail boat.
The dam was Thailand’s first hydroelectric power station which opened in 1984 flooding the valley of 3,720 square kilometers to hold 8,860 million cubic meters of water, so it was a 4 hour tow north to some caves we had never had chance to dive previously. This gave us chance to set up our kit, pump some tanks and blend some Nitrox on the way.
First stop was Buddha Cave, a deeper cave which is rumoured by the locals to have contained a Buddha Statue on a wooden table. The mission was to find it and run a line to it for future dives, a new line was put in place and the search began. Drop through a hydrogen sulphide cloud the viz was very bad but cleared in the darkness below, the wooden table was located but no statue, the line was left in to aid future searches.
Second stop and overnight stay was in front of Phung Hnapha (Bee Cliff) which as it sounds is a limestone cliff with resident Bees. Here there are a number of caves and caverns which we set out to explore and run / replace permanent lines. After a lot of diving and an overnight stay we finally got towed back to Thong Pha Phum where half the team returned to Bangkok.
The last day we took a long tail boat up further north to another series of three caves, which it was thought were connected but previous attempts to find the connection had not been sucessful. After some extensive exploration we found the connection and fixed a permanent line in position. Then headed back towards the pier as there were a number of Asian Giant Hornets Nests which the boat driver advised was getting dangerous.
The final dive was to two caves that had had been closed for over 5 years due to a partial collapse during an earth quake. Sadly the first one apprears to have fallen in and is no longer passable, the second however was a great dive with a large cavern zone leading into zig zagging dolomite passage ways.
Although seasonal, kanchanaburi cave diving is a lot of fun with relatively shallow and longer scenic caves it is easily accessable and a true alternative to the presently closed khao sok national park.