Phu Phrabat Historical Park Travel Guide

Spanning 1,200 acres, this Thai park is known both for its caves and natural rock formations as well as its historic significance. Visitors can view ancient rock paintings alongside the ruins of early Buddhist temples.

The prehistoric paintings are a fascinating window into Isaan’s early pre-Buddhist period. More recent carvings depict Buddha images from the Khmer and Mon periods. A few caves in the park still hold ancient religious shrines with mysterious symbols etched into the walls. Most of the temples were reduced to rubble a long time ago, and all you can really see today are the foundations.

The region is important to locals, and visitors are likely to see pilgrims retracing the steps of their people through thousands of years of history. The journey from cave carvings to complex Buddhist temples is inspiring even for foreigners. It hints at epic cultural evolution.

To tie it all together, climb to Pha Se Dej summit, where you can catch outstanding views over the valleys and even see into Laos. If you’re in a hurry, you can see the major sites in a couple hours though it’s worth it to slow down and spend at least half a day in the park.

Getting There & Away

Phu Phrabat Historical Park can be accessed from Nong Khai (2 hours) or Udon Thani (1 hour, 30 minutes). Buses depart from both of these cities, but you’ll have to switch to songtaew or tuk-tuk for the final leg of the journey. A hire car is much more comfortable. Thai Airways operates regular flights between Udon Thani and Bangkok, and the flight takes less than an hour.