Situated in the northern tip of the island, Viking cave holds the secret to the Chinese specialty. i.e., birds-nest soup and that is the Swifts nests and nothing else. The collectors are very well trained in order to collect these fragile items perched up in the cave. They make offerings of tobacco, incense, and liquor before hopping on those bamboo scaffoldings.
This place is one of the most noticeable places in Koh Phi Phi Leh under a tall limestone cliff at the far north-eastern area of the island Phi Phi. It takes roughly around 30 minutes to reach this place from Tonsai Pier which is the main transport hub of Phi Phi.
The paintings on the southeastern sides of the walls on the cave gave birth to the name - Viking Cave is also known as Tham Phaya Nak in Thai. The paintings were mainly of boats which loosely resembles a Scandinavian Drakkar. These paintings were said to be formed during recent times and t is said that it might have been done by sailors who had taken shelter while they were hit by any storm.
One of the most profitable local industries will be the hunting and gathering of these nests as the Chinese culture believes that these nests exude good health and good skin. These nests are edible for them. The long-told story is that, during one of the strong storms, the sailors go stuck in the cave and the men survived eating these swiftlet nests and it gave them the strength to wait till rescue mission found them. Being a risky affair to procure these nests, the cost of these items is also on the higher side, which comes around US$2,500 per kilo and making it one of the most expensive delicacies a man can have.
Although these days, entries are prohibited for tourists, the boat operators usually slow nearby the cave and take us as close as possible to have a good look at the cave and click pictures. It is still worth taking a look at the cave from the outside because of its uniqueness.
Getting there is quite easy, just hire a long-tail boat from Tonsai pier or Laem Tong, it will cost you about 2,000 baht for the whole day and also explore the places nearby.