The Khao Noi Cave Temple, or Wat Tham Khao Noi (Temple of the Small Cave), is one of the only two Chinese temples in all of Kanchanaburi. The second is the Wat Thaworn Wararam (Wat Yuan/Vietnamese Temple) sitting right next to the WWII Cemetery. Established in 1881, it belongs to the Mahayana sect. The first overseer of the temple was a Chinese monk named Luang Pu Haeng (Kak Neng). After his demise, monks from the Anam sect took over and still care for the temple up to these days.
Because of its Chinese origins, the temple is full of the round-bellied smiling Buddha, which implies happiness. Besides, several other images and statues represent Chinese deities. One of them is Phra Sangkachai, who believed he would be the first to achieve enlightenment in the future.
The inside of the temple is full of Chinese arts: murals, tapestries, koi ponds as well as a seven-tiered Pagoda. You can access the pagoda from the spiral staircase in the center of the temple. The Chinese architecture, with its chedi, ordination hall, and surrounding buildings, is unmistakable and quite a sight to the eyes.
Khao Noi Cave Temple is perched on the hilltop of Tumbon Tha Muang at about twelve kilometers from Kanchanaburi City. The terrace on the top platform, where a Chinese-style pagoda stands almost as tall as the orange pagoda at Wat Tham Suea just next door, is the perfect viewing spot to observe the impressive surrounding landscape.
As guests, you can either rent a motorbike or take the baht bus (Songthaew) to get there. It is unquestionably a ‘great’ place for you to stop and enjoy the sight. No matter if you are coming from or going to Bangkok!