The Bat Cave, Cha-Am

Cha-Am, Tha-Yang, Kaeng Krachan, and Petchaburi. Discussion on areas north of Hua Hin.
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Big Boy
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The Bat Cave, Cha-Am

Post by Big Boy » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:16 am

I saw something really amazing yesterday. A good friend had given me GPS co-ordinates of the Bat Cave at Cha-Am, and my son and I decided to go to take a look.

The bats don’t become active until sunset, so I collected my son from work, and we put ourselves in the capable hands of my SatNav for the 27 mile journey.

I’ve mentioned before that when I set my SatNav running at home, it only recognises my road as unpaved. Having been taken off road as a result many times in the past, I drove about a mile before switching the SatNav on. It would still only plot a route using unpaved roads. Well, there was only about 2 miles of unpaved roads, which were driveable by even the smallest of cars – no problem for my truck.

Before planning our trip, we did a bit of online research, which mentioned a 30 minute steep climb when we got there. The photos we saw showed a jungle environment, so we also checked the weather – we did not want to go climbing in a slippery environment, so rain was a definite no. We were also aware that the return trek down would be after dark, so quite treacherous, with maybe a few snakes thrown in for good measure.
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The photos we saw showed a jungle environment
Our research was all in vain. The closer we got on our drive to the cave, the darker it was becoming – the heavens were about to open (re-assuring that Thai weather forecasting was no better than the UK).

We got to the point indicated by my friend’s co-ordinates, and received the usual message, “You have reached your destination.” So there we are, we are stopped on a narrow road in the pouring rain. We could see the cave to our right, but there was a river/canal running alongside the road to our right. My friend had talked about crossing a narrow bridge, but all of the bridges I’d seem were weak looking wooden affairs – certainly I wouldn’t have fancied driving across them in my truck.
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there was a river/canal running alongside the road to our right.
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We had seen a few houses about, and I suggested to my son that he go and ask; but although his Thai is very good, he didn’t know how to say, “Bat Cave.” He phoned his mother, she didn’t know. His mother phoned my friend’s wife, she didn’t know. He then phoned his girlfriend who did know.

Meanwhile, I had been viewing various websites on my phone, and there was a photo of a building that we both recognised as somewhere we had previously driven past. Still unsure, we drove to where we’d seen the building (about 400 yards from, “You have reached your destination”), and there was a substantial narrow bridge.
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a building that we both recognised as somewhere we had previously driven past - a substantial narrow bridge
In our research, we had read about the 30 minute climb to a viewing platform (we were thinking Hin Lek Fire style viewing platform). We stopped besides a building that was for sale, and my son (with his new language skills) went to speak to a Thai guy living there. The guy was very accommodating, and explained the viewing platform was on top of his house (a flat roof, with a lot of chairs). It was just a small staircase, so I don’t know where the ‘30 minute steep climb’ came from. When on top, the view was as per photos we had seen.

This amazing spectacle could be just as easily viewed from ground level (no need to climb stairs) by disabled people.
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just as easily viewed from ground level (no need to climb stairs) by disabled people
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just as easily viewed from ground level (no need to climb stairs) by disabled people
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just as easily viewed from ground level (no need to climb stairs) by disabled people
We went to the viewing area, wiped the water away, and sat to await the sunset under umbrellas. The grounds were quite nice, with a lake and a couple of Germans fishing just beyond. The rain gradually eased, and conditions became more bearable. We were joined by a Russian couple. We all sat there staring at the cave, waiting for something to happen.
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The grounds were quite nice, with a lake
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The grounds were quite nice, with a lake
Suddenly, the rock face around the cave entrance started to turn a reddish colour. A quick look behind us confirmed that the sun was setting.
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Suddenly, the rock face around the cave entrance started to turn a reddish colour.
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Suddenly, the rock face around the cave entrance started to turn a reddish colour.
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A quick look behind us confirmed that the sun was setting.
A couple of minutes later it started. Like steam coming from a boiling kettle, the bats started coming out of the cave. We’d read that there would be 5 million bats. I didn’t bother counting them, but I don’t doubt the numbers at all. The bats just kept coming out of the cave until it was too dark to see the spectacle any longer.
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Like steam coming from a boiling kettle, the bats started coming out of the cave.
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Like steam coming from a boiling kettle, the bats started coming out of the cave.
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Like steam coming from a boiling kettle, the bats started coming out of the cave.
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Like steam coming from a boiling kettle, the bats started coming out of the cave.
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Like steam coming from a boiling kettle, the bats started coming out of the cave.
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Like steam coming from a boiling kettle, the bats started coming out of the cave.
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Like steam coming from a boiling kettle, the bats started coming out of the cave.
They were forming fantastic patterns in the sky, which in places was putting on its own colourful light show.
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They were forming fantastic patterns in the sky, which in places was putting on its own colourful light show.
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They were forming fantastic patterns in the sky, which in places was putting on its own colourful light show.
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They were forming fantastic patterns in the sky, which in places was putting on its own colourful light show.
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They were forming fantastic patterns in the sky, which in places was putting on its own colourful light show.
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Our friend said that there be another cave behind the hill, because many bats fly from there. However, I have excellent distance vision, and looking very carefully, I could see the bats flying in front of the hill, appearing into ‘normal’ vision to the right of the hill, giving the illusion that they were flying from behind.

I walked to the edge of the viewing platform, and there were dozens of the beasts feeding off the bugs flying over the small lake. I then realised there were different breeds. Most were of a small variety, a couple were medium sized and there were two huge bats, which were amazing. Unfortunately, my photographic skills were not good enough to catch them.
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Unfortunately, my photographic skills were not good enough to catch them.
When it was all over (or at least it was too dark to see any more), we went back down the stairs, and the friendly Thai guy was asking for a 20 Baht tip for offering his facilities. I gladly gave him 100 Baht, thinking it was worth more – might be better if he sold cold drinks as well. We returned to the car and set the SatNav for home again. It took us the same route back to the highway (dirt tracks through the fields). Many bugs were attracted by my headlights, and we had the most fantastic aerobatic display by bats chasing these bugs.

This is another must do – I just wonder why it’s been so long before I did it. This will be a definite ‘on offer’ trip for any visitors we get in the future. Definitely not a sight you see every day.
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Re: The Bat Cave

Post by hhfarang » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:28 am

Many bugs were attracted by my headlights, and we had the most fantastic aerobatic display by bats chasing these bugs.
Nice pics and description BB. When we built the big two storey house we used to live in up in the hills above Takiab, we had two access openings in the rear of the house into the 1 meter crawl space where electric and water piping was exposed for service. It took me a couple of years to get wooden doors made to order to fit the two openings. In that time a reasonably large bat colony took up residence under our house. We had lights on the outside of the 4 big posts that held the roof over a large 2nd storey balcony that ran the length of the house. I used to sit up there at night with only those post lights on and watch the bats doing the same aerobatic display as they ate the bugs attracted to the light fixtures. It was fun to watch.
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Re: The Bat Cave, Cha-Am

Post by Terry » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:09 pm

Interesting stuff BB - nice report

We get a 'clan' of bats that visit us at the Lodge during sunset - normally around 10 mins before and after.

Nothing like the numbers that you saw though - we see probably only about 20-30 or so max

Having said that, their amazing acrobatics in catching the bugs in flight are something to behold.

However - I would like to know where they roost - we certainly don't have any nearby caves, so they either travel some distance or maybe spend the daylight hours in the trees to the rear of our property.

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Re: The Bat Cave, Cha-Am

Post by Bamboo Grove » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:41 pm

Terry, they might be from this particular cave as it wouldn't take them long to fly to your place. I remember listening to the explanations at the bat cave in Ratchaburi that the bats fly and spread over quite a large area, which is natural as you can't have millions of bats eating in a very small area. From Ratchaburi they went to the nearby provinces of Nakhon Pathom, Samut Songkhram, Petchaburi and Kanjanaburi.
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Re: The Bat Cave, Cha-Am

Post by bsdk1960 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:51 pm

sounds great BB,but what is the coordinate if I may ask.
We have a few in smorn prohng and it is fun to look.

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Re: The Bat Cave, Cha-Am

Post by Big Boy » Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:08 pm

This is what my friend sent to me - the viewing platform was actually about 400 yards past that point. Don't forget to give the nice Thai gentleman living there a tip.

It is not signposted at all. Just make a note of the blue roofed building in the photo, and enjoy - we did :D .
Khao Nang Bat Cave Cha Am
Appx 44,5 km from the main traffic lights in Hua Hin

N 12⁰ 52’22.5
E 099⁰56’22,4

The co-ordinates will bring you right in front of a house with at viewer-platform from where you can observe the multi millions of bats flying out for their nightly hunt.

Normally you should be there around 6 pm. They usually fly out between 6 and 6:30.

Beware of the bridge you have to cross with the car to get to the house. (It's a narrow one).
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Re: The Bat Cave, Cha-Am

Post by bsdk1960 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:11 pm

Thanks BB will check it out one day for sure.

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Re: The Bat Cave, Cha-Am

Post by joelle » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:13 am

here is a link to illustrate with a video clip what BB saw, it was just fascinating


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Re: The Bat Cave, Cha-Am

Post by Big Boy » Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:04 pm

Thanks joelle, if you take what you saw there, and probably multiply by 5 or 10, then you can imagine the Ratchaburi bat experience. Both places are fantastic. Did you travel back across the field? Probably the best bit for me, with the bats chasing the bugs attracted by my headlights.
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Re: The Bat Cave, Cha-Am

Post by joelle » Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:13 pm

no as I stayed right to the end they were all gone, but I just love it
had them once flying in front of the headlights where I live and it just happened that our grandson was with us he was soooo amazed
you mentioned ratchaburi where abouts exactly ?

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Re: The Bat Cave, Cha-Am

Post by Big Boy » Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:19 pm

I talked about them in part 6 of my Kanchanaburi report. If you need more, let me know, and I'll try to get GPS co-ordinates off my SatNav.

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