Naka Cave in the Phu Langka national park

Visit Naka Cave

Naka Cave, or Naga Cave, is one of the many wonders in Thailand. Often described as the ‘Snake Cave of Thailand’, Naka Cave owes its name to its snake-like rocks and formations. Because of its unique structure, there are many myths surrounding its history and how the cave came to be. Interestingly, the Naga (and Nagi) are serpent-like mythical creatures significant in several Southasian and Southeast Asian cultures. Moreover, this is also a place of religious significance. In the past several years, Naka Cave has become a major magnet for tourists.

The nearest big city is Bueng Kan, the border post city on the country’s border with Laos.  

Is Naka Cave man-made?

There are many stories surrounding the Naka Cave, and many more questions the people not yet familiar with it ask. Naturally, many people wonder if the cave is a work of man’s hands. Others wonder if the cave is real at all, and some even claim that the photos of the location are fake. Well, the good news is that the cave is indeed very real, and it is a magnificent work of Mother Nature. 

Although scientists are yet to definitely conclude what exactly influenced its appearance, they have debunked one popular theory. Many people believed that the snake rocks of the Naka Cave are remains of a fossilized or petrified giant serpent. However, that story is just a myth, and the scientists have determined what caused the cave’s appearance. You can learn more about it in the text below.

How to get to Naka Cave

You can find the cave within the borders of the Phu Langka National Park in Bueng Kan Province. The park is 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.

By plane

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.

By bus 

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.

By train

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.

Naka Cave

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 and contraction alongside water erosion gave the snake-like effect to the rocks.

Besides being an important natural wonder, the cave is also a sacred place since many South Asian cultures, especially Buddhism and Hinduism, worship nāgas, half-human, half-serpent creatures . 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 forbidden. 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. Their names are 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.

Other caves

Moreover, Nakee Cave is situated northeast of the Naka Cave, in Nakhon Phanom Province. Once can reach the cave 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

Visitors can purchase food and drinks 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.

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