Naga or Naka Cave was discovered fairly recently. However, it resembles a snake so much that it makes people wonder how such a big snake ever existed. It is situated on the very edge of Thailand, amidst the mountains and the jungles of the Bueng Kan region. Despite the similarity, the cave is not man-made, but no wonder many at first sight think it is. The nearest big city is Bueng Kan, the border post city on the country’s border with Laos. Moreover, this cave which is a magnet for tourists is an important place for Thai people.
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How to get to Naka Cave
The cave is situated within the boundaries of the Phu Langka National Park in Bueng Kan Province. The park is situated on the northeastern border of Thailand, and can also be accessed from Laos. Moreover, the national park is a 10-hour car drive from Bangkok.
You can get on a plane to Udon Thani Province or Nakhon Phanom Province and rent a car from there to the park. Namely, both plane rides last around 1.5 hours while the car ride could last 4 – 6 hours.
You can take a bus from Bangkok to Bueng Kan Province, which is a 12-hour long trip. Then, you can rent a car to go to Phu Langka National Park, about a 1-hour away.
You can take a train from Bangkok to Nong Khai Province which is a 9-hour long ride. Then, you can proceed from there to the national park by renting a car which takes 3 more hours.
What to see and do around Naka Cave
Naga Cave may be the most common reason why visitors come to the area. However, there are some sights visitors shouldn’t miss around the cave and in the vicinity, both natural attractions and cultural sights.
The cave is the most famous of the three snake-like caves, the other two being Nakee Cave and Kinnaree Naka Cave. The reason why Naka Cave is so famous is that not only has the body, but also the head and the scale of a snake. Moreover, the inside white cavern walls resemble the pattern of snakeskin and feature decorations and paintings. As for the origin of the snake-like pattern, geology proved that the combination of thermal expansion followed by contraction alongside water erosion is what gave the snake-like effect to the rocks.
Besides being an important natural wonder, the cave is considered a sacred place since nāgas, half-human, half-serpent creatures, are revered in South Asian culture and closely connected to Buddhist and Hinduist mythology. One of the myths is a love story between the nāga Nakkhrinthranee and Prince Fah Rung. Namely, the protagonists of the myth fell in love and married despite the marriage between nāgas and humans was not allowed. However, her secret of being nāga was revealed and her father burned down the kingdom. The two lovers continued their lives in a small cave which many believe is today’s Naka Cave.
Besides, Naka’s surroundings won’t disappoint you. Namely, the trail to the Naka Cave starts at Chai Mon Kong temple. The path that starts with a characteristic snake-lined staircase continues for 2 km and can be challenging at times. Moreover, it takes around 1-2 hours to reach the cave. Usually, the guide volunteers help the visitors to see all the places. This inevitably includes a rock formation known as Snake’s Head. Before starting the descent visitors stop by two Buddhist pagodas that are on this loop trail. They are called Chedi Luang Pu Wang and Chedi Luang Puu Sao and offer a panoramic view of the town and the Mekong River. Close to Chedi Luang Puu Sao, there is a great photography location called Phaa Jai Khaat. This “scary cliff” is a rock that juts out from the cliff, so it may be suitable for the braver ones.
Moreover, Nakee Cave is situated northeast of the Naka Cave, in Nakhon Phanom Province. The cave can be reached through mountain paths from Naka, but only with guides. However, the official starting point to Nakee Cave is at the Phu Langka National Park entrance. It is about 23 kilometres by car from the Naka Cave entrance. This trail is also 1.5 – 2 hours long and is beautiful as well. It has lots of greenery and a view of Tat Pha Waterfall. In addition, Pha Nakee (Nakee cliff) just half a kilometre from the cave offers an amazing view of the Mekong River.
The third one, Kinnaree Naka Cave, is also the shape of a snake and in the vicinity has Hin Naka Ong Daeng and Hin Naka Ong Dam. I.e. the red and the black Naka rock. It is situated right at the border of the two provinces and only 8 kilometres away from the entrance to the Naka Cave.
If even after visiting the caves, you want to indulge in Thailand’s natural wonders, here are some places you can consider. Most of them are considered to be a part of the Phu Langka National Park, same as Naka Cave:
- A place that is not so far away is Phu Wua Wildlife Sanctuary. It is situated around 1 hour north of Naka Cave. It comprises other scenic waterfalls, like Chet Si Waterfall which flows on a sandstone cliff and creates a rainbow by spraying water. Moreover, another beautiful one is Tham Phra Waterfall where people hop in, followed by a Buddhist temple Wat Tham Phra.
- When visiting Nakee Cave, there is Tat Kham Forest Park that features a multi-level Tat Kham Waterfall only 10 minutes away. People come here to relax around some lush greenery.
- Besides the mentioned caves, there are many other “Naka” caves throughout Thailand, both natural and man-made. Some of the natural ones include Wat Tham Si Mongkhol in Nong Khai Province and Tham Luang Khun Nam Nang Non in Chiang Rai Province.
For foreigners, the admission fee is around 200 THB (6 USD) for adults and 100 THB (3 USD) for children. The fee is around 30 and 20 THB for Thai residents (less than 1 USD). Also, to visit Naka Cave visitors must book their visit in advance through the QueQ app.
Where to eat around Naka Cave
Food and drinks can be purchased at the bottom of the Naka Cave. However, there are several restaurants only a short distance from the cave. The nearest one is Naka View Glamping & Caffe. However, Ban Suan Tangsuma and Na Phu Kitchen also offer food at affordable prices within walking distance. Same as after visiting Naka Cave, visitors to Nakee Cave have a shop close to the park entrance. There are also restaurants in the vicinity of 2 km, Nakee station Bistro&Bar being the closest one. The mentioned restaurants usually serve Thai food.
Where to stay around Naka Cave
Here is some information regarding staying overnight in the area. Check out where to stay if you want to explore more sites.
Towns nearby Naka Cave
Bueng Kan, the district capital of the Bueng Kan Province is situated around 90 kilometres north of the cave. That is about an hour and 15 minutes car drive. However, it may be a good choice for those staying in Thailand for a longer time or wanting more variety. Some of the hotels include The One hotel, BK Place and Century Grand Hotel.
Moreover, Bueng Khong Long district is where both Naka and Kinnaree caves are situated. Also, Nakhon Phanom district features Nakee Cave. Both these locations are close if you’re staying overnight. However, visitors usually choose to stay in Bueng Khong Long, as it has a lot of options for accommodation. For example, Khun Naparn resort, Thai Guest House and Buengkhonglong Mansion are only 15 minutes away from the entrance point to Naka Cave. Besides, there is accommodation only a walking distance from the Naka registration point, like Naka Homestay Phu Lanka. Moreover, there are Idee Hotel and Resort and Sweet Home Villa in the neighbouring Seka district. These are a bit further away.