The Thailand Arrival & Survival Guide Get prepared

Nong Bua Lamphu

Nong Bua Lamphu (หนองบัวลำภู) is a Northeastern Province on the Korat Plateau. The area is mainly agricultural so tourism is mostly limited to temples and getting an up close look at Issan life. There is also a national park.

Nong Bua Lamphu viewpoint at Phu Phan Noi
Today 33° 26°
Fri 14th 32° 26°
Sat 15th 33° 26°
Sun 16th 35° 26°
Mon 17th 35° 26°
Tue 18th 34° 27°
Wed 19th 33° 26°
Thu 20th 33° 26°

Introduction

Nong Bua Lamphu is Thailand’s second newest province and until the early 1990s was part of Udon Thani. The province is one of Thailand’s poorest and mainly consists of agricultural land. Sticky rice has traditionally been the staple crop but recently farmers here have begun planting a lot of sugarcane.

For tourists, there is nothing all that notable to speak of, but the province has its charms and a few places worth stopping off at if you’re traveling around Isaan. At under an hour’s drive from Udon Thani, it is also easy to do day trips there if you have your own transportation or hire a local driver.

Nong Bua Lamphu lotus pond

Nong Bua means ‘lotus pond’ in Thai. The lake in the center of town does have a few lotuses growing around the edges

Recommended for

  • Anyone looking for a non-touristic Thailand experience
  • Anyone looking for a relaxing town with slow life and good food
  • A stop for anyone traveling through this part of Isaan

Getting there

Nong Bua Lamphu is a small province with few travel options, but its location near Udon Thani gives you a number of options to get there.

By bus – Buses travel to Nong Bua Lamphu from Mochit Bus Station in Bangkok. These should cost between 300-800 Baht. Generally, you get what you pay for on these buses so a pricier ticket should make for a much more comfortable ride.

By plane – Several airlines fly to nearby Udon Thani. Google Flights will search each airline that flies there and get you the cheapest price. On all Thai budget-airlines make sure to prebook enough checked baggage. If you try to do this at the airport they charge an insane fee. From Udon Thani airport take a taxi to the bus station, and from there, there is frequent bus service. Udon Thani airport also has all the major car rental companies. We always find the cheapest rentals using Rentalcars.com.

By train – Trains on the Nong Khai line from Bangkok stop in Udon Thani. From Udon it’s easy to reach Nong Bua Lamphu by bus or private taxi.


Where to stay

Nong Bua Lamphu has very few options to book online, but there are a few hotels and guesthouses on the Booking.com Nong Bua Lamphu page that have good review scores. Hotels in Isaan in general offer great value for money.

We find our accommodation on Booking.com by first searching for the town or province and our dates, we then filter out any rooms with a score lower than 7 or 8 (depending on availability) as well as any rooms out of our budget. After this, we open the map and hover over all of the pins in the rough location we already decided we want to stay in. Hovering over the pins gives us the price for x nights plus the review score. We click on each pin to open those hotels in a new tab, review them and book our favorite.


Getting around

Motorbike – The easiest place to rent a motorbike is from your hotel. If they don’t have motorbikes they usually have a contact that does.

Tuk Tuk / Taxi / Songtaew – A variety of taxi options are available. Your hotel is usually able to call one in advance, though we prefer to flag one down and negotiate a price.


Nightlife

90’s Bar is a decent Thai-style bar with good food, live acoustic music, and drinks. As with most of these places in smaller cities, prices are very reasonable. You can find their location at this Map link.

Nong Bua Lamphu fitness park

Fitness & gym

The Gym Nongbua Lamphu is a few kilometers out of town along highway 210. A day pass costs just 50 Baht. You can find their location at this Google Maps link. Around the lake in the center of town there is a jogging path and some outdoor exercise equipment that can be used for free. In the evenings this area will be quite lively with aerobics classes, runners, walkers, and fitness buffs. The fitness equipment is located here.


Getting out

Bangkok – Take a flight back to Bangkok via Udon Thani and connect to other destinations.

Surrounding provinces – Well-maintained highways connect Nong Bua Lamphu to Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, Loei, and Chaiyaphum. Bus connections are available to all of these from the bus station which is located here.

When to go

Most of Thailand falls in to the generic high and low season categories, including Nong Bua Lamphu.

High season - begins in November and runs through to February, bringing cooler temperatures, lush greenery from the previous months of rain, good air quality, and less rain. The downside is larger crowds and sometimes higher prices for tours, flights and accomodation.

Low season - begins in July and runs through to October. During low season the temperatures are higher, the chance of rain and storms are higher. That doesn't mean it's a bad time to visit though, if you can be flexible, there are deals to be found on flights and accomodation.

Destinations like Nong Bua Lamphu in both northern and north eastern regions can be significantly cooler during the high/cool season than central and southern provinces like Bangkok or Phuket. It's a welcome and noticable change in season which may require a wardrobe change, especially at night.

As Nong Bua Lamphu is in the northern/north eastern region, it's important you consider the smokey/burning season which affects the north, north east and sometimes central/eastern provinces. You can find more information for current and historical air quality on aqicn.org.

Need more? Read our post discussing the best time to visit Thailand.

Where to stay

Instead of recommending hotels, we think it will be more useful to share our process so you can pick based on your own critera for location, budget and style.

We always start our search on either Booking.com or Agoda. They have an easy to user interface and have some extra benefits for "Genius" and "VIP" users. You can also sometimes pay with credit card in advance if you're playing the cashback or air miles game.

Process:

  1. Search for specific province, city or town.
  2. Apply rating filters for a minimum rating or either 7, 8 or 9.
  3. Apply other filters: budget, fitness, breakfast, etc.
  4. If you have a specific location in mind, use map view to browse and make a final selection.

If there are too many properties available to choose from, increase the rating filter for less, higher rated selections.

Final notes: Prices are dynamic. Check the same hotel on both Booking.com and Agoda to see which has the best deal at any given time (go through to checkout to make sure all VAT and service charges are factored in). You can go one step further by calling the hotel and checking the price for booking directly. In our experience this saves money 50% of the time but you have less guarantees.

Emergency contacts

Knowing an emergency number could save your own, or somebody elses life. Take a photo or save these numbers on your phone:

Police & emergencies - 191
The most important number to remember. If the operator is unable to speak English, call 1155 (below).

Tourist Police - 1155 or (+66) 2308-0333
This hotline is available 24 hours a day and they will all speak English. This is an important phone number to remember - They will help you out with any concerns or questions you have and can redirect you to the correct number you may need.

Public Ambulance - 1669
Dialing this number will connect you to a public ambulance service, which will dispatch a vehicle to your location. The average response time for urban areas is around 10 minutes, but may take up to 30 minutes in rural areas. English-speaking staff should be available to assist you.

Fire Department - 199
In case of an emergency such as a house fire, or forest fire, call 199 for the Fire Department to be dispatched to your location.

Highway Police - 1193
If you plan on driving in Thailand, then you may end up needing to use this number if you break down in an unsafe place etc.