Nong Bua Lamphu (หนองบัวลำภ) is a city and province in Isaan. Besides picturesque nature, namely the Phu Phan Range, and a beautiful lake, Nong Bua Lampu is rich with cultural attractions, such as archaeological sites, and interesting local handicrafts.
Established in Dec 1993, Nong Bua Lamphu became the 76th province of Thailand. Before separation, Nong Bua Lampu was part of Udon Thani. Although the province was established in 1993, it has a long history. Archaeological artifacts found in the area indicate that there were human settlements in Nong Bua Lampu since pre-history. About 200 years ago, a town was established by Lao people from the left side of Mekong River. The name Nong Bua Lampu appears in historical records as a rest venue for the Siamese Army during their march to fight against Vientiane in both the Ayuthaya and the Rattanakosin eras.
From Bangkok, motorists can use Hwy 1 (Pahol Yothin Rd) to Saraburi. Turn right at km107 onto Hwy 2 (Mitraphap Rd) and travel via Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani. Turn left into Hwy 210, via Nong Wuasor of Udon Thani to Nong Bua Lampu. This route is 608 km. Alternately, turn left in Khon Kaen onto Hwy 2109 (Namphong-Ubonrat Dam) via None Sang to Nong Bua Lampu. This route is 577 km.
Regular buses and air conditioned coaches provide regular services between Bangkok and Nong Bua Lampu. For more information, call Northeastern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) at +66 2 9362852-66 or +66 2 9361880 or The Transport Company (BKS).
Train passengers can travel from Bangkok to Udon Thani, then take bus to Nong Bua Lampu. Train timetables can be checked at the State Railway of Thailand at 1690, +66 2 2204334, +66 2 2204444.
Thai Airways does not operate direct flight between Bangkok and Nong Bua Lampu. Passengers can fly to Udon Thani and take bus to Nong Bua Lampu. For flight timetable, call Thai at 1566, +66 2 356111, +66 2 2800060, +66 2 6282000.
As in most rural Thai provinces there are typically local buses and songthaews that follow established routes around the provincial capital and between towns within the province. Songthaews, motorbike taxis, and some form of tuk-tuk are usually available for private charter as well.
- Monument and Shrine of King Naresuan the Great (พระอนุสาวรีย์และศาลสมเด็จพระนเรศวรมหาราช). Built to commemorate King Naresuan the Great, who in 1574 led his army from Nong Bua Lampu to Vientiane under orders of the King of Hongsa, the kingdom of Burma which ruled Thailand at that time.
- Museum of Luang Pu Lod (พิพิธภัณฑ์หลวงปู่หลอด). In the compound of Wat Tham Klong Pen is the Pmotita Pagoda, which houses a relic of the Lord Buddha sent from Nepal.
- Namtok Huay To Botanical Park (วนอุทยานน้ำตกเฒ่าโต้). This shady park is a popular place for picnics. The secreted shrine of Pu Loop is nearby.
- None Wat Pa (โนนวัดป่า). The historical site once was an ancient temple with a stone Buddha image in the attitude of seating under the protection of a naga. Ancient architecture and antiques from the Khmer era are found here.
- Nong Bua (หนองบัว). This big pond is in front of the city hall. As it never dries, the pond with beautiful backdrop of the Phu Phan Kham Range is a popular spot for repose.
- Phra Wor Phra Ta City Pillar Shrine (ศาลหลักเมืองพระวอ พระตา). The city pillar shrine was built to honour the founders of the city.
- Phu Phan Noi (ภูพานน้อย). The mountain provides a great view point, "dao bon din" or "stars on the ground".
- Shell Fossil Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์หอยหิน ๑๕๐ ล้านปี). Fossils of shells from the Jurassic period, dating to 140-150 million years ago. In the nearby area, 60 dinosaur fossils can be seen in the layer of silt stone, above the layer where the fossils of shells and ancient crocodiles are found.
- Wat Sri Koon Muang (วัดศรีคูณเมือง) (On Worarat Rd). The ancient temple houses ancient stone leaves which are significant archaeological artifacts, and "Luang Por Phra Chaichettha", a significant Buddha statue in Laotian-style.
- Wat Tham Klong Pen (วัดถ้ำกลองเพล). This is the province's famed forest temple. Blanketed with lush vegetable and decorated with rock garden, the temple is shady and peaceful. The main hall (ubosot) houses a statue of Luang Pu Khao and two-sided ancient drum or Klong Pen.
Isaan cuisine borrows heavily from Lao cuisine and is distinctly different from central Thai cooking, although there has been a considerable amount of cross-pollination. Perhaps the best-known Isaan dish is som tam (or tam mak hung in Lao/Isaan), a spicy salad prepared from unripe papayas. While Thais prepare this with dried shrimp, in Isaan the preferred style is with preserved crab (puu) or mud fish, an acquired taste. Other characteristic dishes include roast chicken (gai yaang), sticky rice (khao niaw) and a wide variety of cold meat, mint and lemon juice salads known as larb.
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