:: NONG BUA LAMPHU

Originally a prosperous town of the Srisutthanakhonhut Kingdom (Laos) 900 years ago, its official name was'Nong Bua Lamphu - Nakhon Kuan Kun Kab Kaew Bua Ban', meaning'the town of plentiful water with blooming lotus flowers'. Most of Nong Bua Lamphu is situated on a plateau and the province has large forested areas. It was formerly a district under Udon Thani Province until it became its own province on December 1, 1993, making it the 76th province of Thailand. Nong Bua Lamphu is 568 kilometres from Bangkok. It has an area of 3,859 square kilometers.

:: Attractions

The King Naraesuan the Great Shrine was built to commemorate the king who brought an army to Nong Bua Lam Phu to support the King of Hongsaodi in invading the Srisutthanakhonhut Kingdom in 1574. However, King Naresuan fell ill and had to move his army back to Ayutthaya.

The province has many interesting historical sites. Fossils of bivalves were found at the 150 milion-year-old oyster bed and excavations at Kut Kor Moei Village and Kut Kwang Soi led to prehistoric findings of jewelry and potteries similar to those at Ban Chiang, dating back 5,000 years ago.

In another village, prehistoric cave paintings in red ink were discovered on the mountainside of Phu Paya. Dating back 2,000-3,000 years ago, these paintings have a similar age to the drawings found in the Phu Phra Bat Historical Park in Udon Thani.

Villagers of Ban Khong Sawan are well known for making clay ornaments, pottery handicrafts, and utensils using age-old traditional methods.

The provincial's most famous forest temple is Wat Thum Klong Paen (Drum Cave Temple), situated at the foot of Phu Pan Mountain. It is believed that many ancient Khmer temples once existed in this area and were abandoned until 1958 when Phra Acharn (teacher) Luang Pu Khao Ananyo, a famous Vipassana (a type of Buddhist meditation) monk, chose to meditate among a group of large boulders until his death in 1983. The temple exudes a peaceful atmosphere, surrounded by shady trees and beautiful rock formations. A large Buddha image sits at the entrance of a large cave, where a large, ancient drum was found, thus leading to the temple's name.

Located within Wat Thum Suwan Kuha is a cave that contains many artifacts and a Buddha image of Phra Buddha Rup Chai Chetta. The image was built in 1555 by a Laotian king who also built the images of Phra Chao Ong Tue and Luang Phor Phra Sai in Nong Khai.

Covering an area of 322 sq km, the Phu Kao-Phu Pan Dum (Nine Mountains-Black Tray Mountain) National Park headquarter is located lakeside upstream from the Ubonrat Dam.

Not far from town is the Forest Waterfall Tho, a shady, peaceful recreational area interesting for its many varieties of trees and different rock formations. Motorists passing the nearby Pu Loop Shrine would toot their horn to pay respect.

Heading towards Udon Thani, view the spectacular limestone formations in the Tham Erawan (Erawan Cave) in Wang Sapong District. The stalactites and stalagmites resemble a curtain decorating the cave's entrance. Within the cave, a white limestone formation resembling a kneeling elephant is the cave's main attraction.

Created to hamper the flow of migratory workforce into metropolitan cities, the Wang Sila Skills Development Center teaches a variety of vocational skills to its members. Students' quality products are displayed for sale.

:: City attraction

King Naresuan the Great Shrine is in the public park opposite the provincial hall. It commemorates the time when King Naresuan the Great of the Ayutthaya period led his troops to Nong Bua Lamphu in 1574 on the way to helping the king of Hongsawadi fight the city of Si Sattana Khanahut.

Phra Wo Phra Ta City Shrine is beside Highway No. 210 (Nong Bua Lam Phu-Udon Thani). It was built to honor Nong Bua Lam Phu's founder.

Thao To Waterfall Park is 3 kilometres from town on the way to Udon Thani. A road here runs through a mountain. There is a small waterfall covered with large, shady trees. Nearby is the Chao Pu Lup Shrine, which is worshipped by the locals. Cars passing the shrine usually honk their horn as a sign of respect and for good luck on their journey.

Million-year-old Shell Fossils is at Ban Huai Dua, approximately 10 kilometres from town on the Nong Bua Lam Phu-Udon Thani Road. Found here buried in sandstone were mollusk fossils that are about 140 million years old.

Wat Tham Klong Phen is at the foot of Phu Phan Mountain, 13 kilometres from town on Highway No. 210 (Nong Bua Lam Phu-Udon Thani), then 2 kilometres on the right. The area was once the site of an ancient Khmer temple that later became deserted. In 1958, Phra Achan Luang Pu Khao Analyo turned it into a meditation centre. He passed away in 1983. A museum displays his wax figure as well as his personal items. The temple is very peaceful with a large area and covered with shady trees and natural rock formations. It is most suitable for meditation.

Pottery-making at Ban Khong Sawan is 17 kilometres from town on the way to Udon Thani. The villagers here migrated from Ban Wang Thua, Amphoe Nam Phong, Khon Kaen. The village specialty is making pottery with designs similar to that in Ban Chiang and using traditional techniques.

Wat Sawang Sila Occupation Development Centre is at Ban Na Lom in Tambon Hua Na, 19 kilometres from town on Highway No. 228 (Nong Bua Lam Phu-Si Bun Rueang). It was established by the nun Thongphet Khantiklom, a villager of Na Lom, to stem the flow of young migrants looking for work in the cities or elsewhere. The centre produces goods made from various materials, aluminum products and clothing.