Every traveler needs a workout

I got back to the hostel and was ready to jump in the shower. But in hostel life, things change in no time. Two of my roommates said they were going to the tiger cave temple. Although the tigers have left, there is an incredible view from the top of the 1237 steps to the golden Buddha. It was something that was on my to do list. When one of the guys said it was perfect for sunset, I decided to come along.

Still light at the start of the climb

Still light at the start of the climb

Between the four of us that were going we got a good deal on a taxi. Unfortunately we were a little late, so we didn’t have time to explore the temple complex. We went straight for the steps. It turns out that 1237 steps is pretty high. Most of the steps were normal size, but some were more like double the height of a normal one. It was definitely a good workout for the legs. The depressing thing was that some of the steps were numbered. So at the point where you thought you were surely halfway, you could see you still had two thirds to go.

Pretty challenging, the steps and the monkeys

Pretty challenging, the steps and the monkeys

By the time I got to the top, sweat dripping out of every pore, the sun was already gone. Only just though. It was pretty cloudy and the sunlight had the most amazing red hue, shining through the clouds. Underneath it were the gorgeous karst mountains, typical for this region. We spent half an hour staring out into the distance, watching the colors change. It wasn’t even that busy up there. When it was pretty dark, we made our way down, shining at the steps in front of us with our phones. When we got lower we heard the monkeys moving around in the trees. I just hoped they wouldn’t come closer. On the way up they were sitting on the handrail, much too close for my comfort. I made it down safely though. Some of the temples and statues were lit up and it seemed like a service was starting.

Darkness on the top

Darkness on the top

We’d spent about 1 hour and 45 minutes at the temple, but now it was too dark to look around. We should have come a little earlier to have some time for a walk around the complex and for a more relaxed walk up. Apparently there are a lot of caves and the monks here live in them. The steps can be a challenge, but I would recommend a visit to everyone.

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