Viking Cave is one of tourist destinations on Koh Phi Phi Leh. Located at the bottom of a tall limestone cliff on the northeastern side of the island, it takes roughly 30 minutes to get there by long-tail boat from Tonsai Bay (the main pier in Phi Phi Islands).
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Known as Tham Phaya Nak in Thai, Viking Cave owes its name to the paintings found on the eastern southern walls of the cave: they represent various types of boats, including what resembles a Scandinavian drakkar. These paintings are certainly quite recent, and were possibly realised by sailors taking shelter in the cave during a storm.
What to do
Visiting Viking Cave also allows you to discover one of the most profitable local industries: the hunting/harvesting of swiftlet birds’ nests. Particularly prized in Chinese culture, these edible nests are believed to promote good health and to be specifically good for the skin.
A local legend says that long time ago, sailors lost their boat during a storm and got stuck without food on one of the limestone islands lying in the mouth of the Phang Nga Bay. A cave located on this island was home to a colony of swiftlet, and the men could survive by eating their nests which gave them enough power to wait for rescue. The harvest of bird’s nests is rather a risky job: scaffolds are built with bamboo on which the hunters climb in the darkness to collect these precious items. Bird’s nests are sold, on average, for US$2,500 per kilo!