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Exploring Nong Bua Lam Phu Here’s why this landlocked province will blow your mind

Exploring Nong Bua Lam Phu: Here’s why this landlocked province will blow your mind!

One thing I’ve learned these days (aside from mastering how to cook delicious, mouthwatering tom yum) is that you never really should underestimate a place you haven’t been to. And the province of Nong Bua Lam Phu is no exception. 

When I told my colleagues I was going to Nong Bua, they were all trying to dissuade me from going (thinking I’d listen). Instead, they encouraged me to come with them and roll in the white-sand beaches of Phuket

But I’ve done my research. Being a little hardheaded (and my fair share of paradise beaches), I went to Nong Bua with my head high—and never regretted a single day. 

Oh yes, you could be in the same predicament, too, looking at how landlocked Nong Bua is. But you’re in luck because, in this guide, I’ll show you why getting out of your way to visit Nong Bua Lamphu is most definitely worth it! 

Things to Know

Currency: Thai Baht
(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: Thai (Central Thai)

Calling Code: (+66)

Location: Nong Bua Lam Phu, Thailand

Nearest Airport: Udon Thani International Airport (57 km)

Best Time to Visit Nong Bua Lam Phu

It’s best to visit Nong Bua Lam Phu during the dry season from November to April. The weather during these months is dry and warm, so it’s ideal for visiting local attractions like temples and national parks.

However, expect noontime to be hot, especially around March and April. That means you’ll have a better time exploring outside during the morning or afternoon.

How to Get to Nong Bua Lam Phu

Rental Car: A rental car is an excellent option to get to Nong Buang Lam Phu from provinces like Loei, Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, and even Bangkok. For instance, you can get there from Bangkok via Highway 1 and 2 until you can turn to Highway 201.

Keep driving on this highway until you reach Chum Phae in Khon Kaen where you need to switch to drive north via Highway 228. After an approximately 50-kilometer ride on this highway, turn to a left-side road with an arch of Nong Bua Lam Phu District.

You must have a driver’s license and an International Driving Permit to rent a car anywhere in Thailand.

Private Taxi: If you can’t drive in Thailand, another option is to hire a private taxi. It’s pricier than a rental car since you’re also paying for the driver, but it’s definitely more convenient—plus you can try to negotiate the fare.

Bus: Public buses are also great for tourists looking for a cheap way to get to Nong Bua Lam Phu from Bangkok. 

This is for a 6-hour bus ride that departs at 7:45 p.m. and arrives at 1:45 a.m. the next day. Be sure to book a hotel ahead of time if you plan to go to Nong Bua Lam Phu using this method.

Plane: A faster way to reach Nong Bua Lam Phu from Bangkok is to fly to Udon Thani International Airport. From the airport, you only need to take a short bus ride to Udon Thani’s public bus terminal.

They have daily buses that can take you to Nong Bua Lam Phu in approximately 55 minutes.

Where to Stay in Nong Bua Lam Phu

Muji House & Cafe

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Address: 89 Tambon Non Sang, Non Sang District

Operating Hours: 2 p.m. (Check-in) & 1 p.m. (Check-out)

Contact Number: +66 83 218 2749

Prices: ฿

Muji House & Cafe is a budget-friendly hotel in Nong Bua Lam Phu famous for its cutesy functional rooms. Each room has a dedicated parking space, so it’s great for tourists traveling in a rental vehicle.

However, the best thing about this hotel is its on-site cafe. Aside from the comfy room, you’re also covered for excellent coffee and dessert bowls.

Chomduen Phu Kao Resort

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Address: 125 หมู่7 ต.โนนเมือง Non Sang District

Operating Hours: 1:30 p.m. (Check-in) & 12:30 p.m. (Check-out)

Contact Number: +66 92 951 4524


Prices: ฿

If you want a place where you can wake up to the beautiful sunrise in Nong Bua Lam Phu, here’s Chomduen Phu Kao Resort. This hotel’s best feature is its small pond with a charming wooden bridge.

It even has a nearby alfresco dining area, so you can enjoy an outdoor breakfast while watching the rising sun. Otherwise, you can use the hotel’s rooftop dining area if you prefer to see the surrounding greeneries as well.

Meanwhile, their functional rooms each have flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, toilets, and bathtubs. You also have the option for two full beds or one double-size bed, in case you’re traveling with a friend or your boo.

Nuch’s Apple Guest House

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Address: 165 หมู่ 3 ตำบล หนอง บัง ใต้, Si Bun Rueang District

Operating Hours: 12 p.m. (Check-in) & 12 p.m. (Check-out)

Contact Number: +66 89 275 8846


Prices: ฿

This affordable guest house is a solid option if you want a place that has an outdoor pool. Nuch’s Apple Guest House also has a cute garden, so it’s perfect if you enjoy walking around and looking at flowers.

All their rooms have a double-size bed, cabinet, TV, bathroom, and a small chair and table. However, our favorite thing about this guest house is they let you choose between a Thai or Western breakfast.

Aside from that, you can ask them to cook you lunch and dinner, so you don’t have to worry about going out to eat.

Where to Eat in Nong Bua Lam Phu

Sports Bar Nong Bua Lam Phu

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Address: 74 3, Lam Phu, Mueang Nong Bua Lam Phu District

Operating Hours: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 96 543 8715


Prices: ฿ – ฿฿

The place to go for affordable food and drinks. That’s why Sports Bang Nong Bua Lam Phu is popular among expats staying in the town center.

Moreover, this bar serves a wide selection of Thai and Western food, from larb moo and tom yum soup to pork schnitzel and fish and chips. That makes it ideal if you prefer having full-on variety.

There’s also a pool table which means you can play and socialize with other guests.

Belief Cafe’ & Garden

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Address: Nong Bua, Mueang Nong Bua Lam Phu District

Operating Hours: 

  • 7:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Weekdays)
  • 10 a.m. – 12 a.m. (Weekends)

Contact Number: +66 88 057 9827


Prices: ฿฿

This chic cafe in Nong Bua Lam Phu is a solid pick if you’re looking for a place to grab a snack or a full meal. Aside from their extensive selection of pastries and coffees, you can choose from numerous Thai and Western-style dishes.

Think yam pla muek, yam tua pu, sweet and sour pork, porkchop with fries, crispy pork belly, and more. Our favorite was the spicy squid and prawn curry with plenty of veggies and chilis.

Don’t forget to try the chocolate lava with ice cream or croffle (croissant waffle) with ice cream from their dessert menu.

62 Sixty-Two BBQ

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Address: Si Bun Rueang District

Operating Hours: 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. (Tuesday – Sunday)

Contact Number: +66 87 026 0999


Prices: ฿฿

62 Sixty-Two BBQ is a shabu restaurant that’s definitely worth a shot if you’re looking for a filling meal. This restaurant’s menu is massive, so expect to get a lot of options to add to your hotpot.

This includes numerous varieties of pork meat slices, squid, prawns, salmon, mussels, crab sticks, jellyfish, seaweed, corn cob, bok choy, fish tofu, cabbage, mushrooms, etc.

Moreover, you can choose between three soup bases and sauces. So, there are many ways to customize your hotpot according to your preference.

What to See and Do in Nong Bua Lam Phu

Visit the Somdej Phra Naresuan Maharat Shrine

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Address: 53/1 Pochai Road, Nong Bua, Mueang Nong Bua Lam Phu District

Operating Hours: 24/7

Contact Number: +66 64 830 8848

Admission Costs: Free

This shrine in Nong Bua Lam Phu was constructed to honor King Naresuan the Great. That makes it one of the most important attractions in the province, and we think every tourist should visit it at least once.

King Naresuan the Great is a revered figure in Thailand, so expect to see locals paying their respects, lighting incense sticks, and offering flowers. That’s also why the area around the shrine is clean and well-maintained.

Since it’s near a calm lake, it’s also perfect for morning and afternoon strolls. Don’t forget to come here at night to see the shrine’s colorful lights.

Pray for blessings at the Pra Wo-Pra Ta City Pillar Shrine

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Address: Lam Phu, Mueang Nong Bua Lam Phu District

Operating Hours: 24/7

Admission Costs: Free

The City Pillar Shrine is a sacred place for the people of Nong Bua Lam Phu. In fact, the locals typically come here to light incense sticks and pray for luck, success, happiness, and good health.

Even if you don’t believe in prayers, we think it’s definitely worth visiting for its elegant ivory-white walls and golden accents.

Tour the 150 Million-Year-Old Stone Shell Museum

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Address: 10, Non Than, Mueang Nong Bua Lam Phu District

Operating Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Tuesday – Sunday)

Contact Number: +66 42 000 048


Admission Costs: 100 baht

The paleontology geeks on our staff say this museum is the place to visit if you’re interested in looking at ancient fossils. Here, you’ll find exhibits of bivalve fossils from 150 million years ago which were only discovered in 1994.

Aside from that, this museum doubles as a dino park, so expect to see numerous life-like statues of dinosaurs. But that’s not all—some of the dinosaur statues on display can even move and produce sounds.

That’s why it’s popular among local families with small children, especially during weekends. It’s certainly worth checking out if you’re looking for a fun and educational place to visit in Nong Bua Lam Phu.

Check out Wat Tham Suwannakhuha’s Laotian Buddha images and relics

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Address: Na Si, Suwannakhuha District

Operating Hours: 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 92 325 4925

Admission Costs: Free

Wat Tham Suwannakhuha is a hidden gem that tourists don’t typically visit. This peaceful cave temple in Nong Bua Lam Phu enshrines a 16th-century Buddha image built by the Laotian king Phra Chaiyachetthathirat of Vientiane.

Its main temple structure is next to a massive rock cliff, so expect to see plenty of rock formations within its sacred grounds. This includes the numerous Buddhist statues scattered in the temple’s cave system.

Aside from that, going to Wat Tham Suwannakhuha allows you to observe monk rituals and ceremonies. 

Pay your respects at Wat Tham Klong Phen

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Address: Tambon Non Than, Mueang Nong Bua Lam Phu District

Operating Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Daily)

Admission Costs: Free

If you enjoy temple-hopping, this unique temple in Nong Bua Lam Phu is a must-visit. Unlike other Buddhist temples, locals and pilgrims frequent Wat Tham Klong Phen for its statue of the revered Vipassana monk Luang Pu Khao Ananyo.

He is said to have meditated among the temple’s large boulders until his death. Wat Tham Klong Phen is also a well-known forest temple, so expect to see numerous trees and rock formations during your visit.

If you’re a history buff, there’s also an ancient drum discovered at the temple’s cave which is definitely worth a look.

Head to Pha Chor Cave’s hidden temple

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Address: Thep Kiri, Na Wang District

Operating Hours: 24/7

Admission Costs: Free

If you’re a nature and hiking enthusiast, your trip to Nong Bua Lam Phu won’t be complete without visiting Pha Chor Cave. This hidden gem is on a tall rock cliff, so you must endure the tough climb on a winding wooden staircase to reach its summit.

At the top, you’ll see a giant golden Buddha image and get a panoramic view of the surrounding lush greenery and a nearby village. There’s also a golden Buddha image inside a hidden cave temple where locals and pilgrims light incense sticks and pray.

If you like taking nature photos, you’ll likely capture stunning shots of Pha Chor Cave’s enormous rock formations and tree-lined staircase.

Explore Phu Kao – Phu Phan Kham National Park

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Address: Ban Kho, Non Sang District

Operating Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Tuesday – Sunday)

Contact Number: +66 63 648 4821


Admission Costs: Free

Phu Kao – Phu Phan Kham National Park is an excellent place for tourists who like to spend quality family time in nature’s company. It has plenty of space where visitors can hang out, from its tent areas to numerous lakeside picnic spots.

The park’s skywalk, in particular, is its most famous attraction. It’s an outstretched glass bridge that functions as an observation deck along the park’s massive lake. 

There’s also the scenic Samran Cape where you can set up a tent and watch Nong Bua Lam Phu’s beautiful sunrise and sunset.

Drop by Wat Si Boon Rueang Butaram

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Address: Nong Ruea, Non Sang District

Operating Hours: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 95 648 5560

Admission Costs: Free

This community temple is well-known to visitors who frequent the Non Sang District in Nong Bua Lam Phu. It has a small and tranquil monastery, so you can enjoy walking around to see its charming temple structures and interacting with its resident monks.

Going to Wat Si Boon Rueang Butaram allows you to observe the lifestyle of Buddhist monks. This includes walking around the community to accept merits from locals, chanting scriptures, and meditating.

The temple also has several Buddha images and a giant black gilded gong which are certainly worth checking out.

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