Udon Thani province, in northeastern Thailand, is home to Phra Phra Bat historical park, a forested hill including natural rock formations in the style of caves with massive rocky overhangs. The ancient peoples of the world took refuge in the caves and worshipped Buddha statues within them.
This location is one of a kind because it preserves artifacts from multiple ancient cultures that date back thousands of years. Prehistoric, Dvaravati, and Khmer artifacts have been found on the hill.
The glacial action, wind, and rain have carved out the sandstone rock atop the hill over many years. There are natural caves in the rocks and manufactured caves that date back thousands of years. Some cliffs even have Buddha statues carved into them, making them into makeshift temples called wats (Buddhist temples).
Prehistoric rock paintings
The first humans to roam this land did so thousands of years ago. There are red rock paintings of people and animals left behind by these people. It was possible to cut rooms out of the sandstone rocks and use them as caves because of how simple they are to chisel.
In the earliest times of Buddhism, itinerant monks would seek refuge in these rock outcroppings. Numerous ancient Buddha statues in the caverns, proving they served as ancient temples.
Dvaravati era temples
Dvaravati-era boundary pillars can still be discovered in Phu Phra Bat today. These pillars (or sema stones) indicate the sacred region of the Dvaravati temples, which were present here 1200 years ago. Apsaras, female spirits from ancient Hindu mythology, are depicted on the boundary pillars. During the Dvaravati era, some natural rock formations, such as the famed Hor Nang Usa rock, were utilized as meditation sites.
During the Khmer empire’s heyday about ten centuries ago, the Khmer etched Buddha images into the rocks.
The Wat Phra Phutthabat Bua Bok temple in the historical park is an important Buddhist site in the North East. This temple houses the Buddha’s footprint.
The park has 68 historic structures, the majority of which are prehistoric or ancient Buddhist temples. Recognizing the historical significance of Phu Phra Bat, UNESCO placed it on its tentative list for consideration as a potential World Heritage Site.
There are several walking routes throughout the park, as well as a variety of viewpoints from which visitors can enjoy picturesque views of the surrounding area. Phu Phra Bat is in a lovely, natural, and tranquil setting. Bring plenty of water and wear comfy shoes like sneakers.
How to get to Phu Phra Bat historical park
Phu Phra Bat is in the province of Udon Thani in North East Thailand, not far from the border with Laos.
The park is roughly 60 kilometers from the provincial capital of Udon Thani or Nong Khai (about 50 kilometers). Hiring a taxi for the day from either town is the most convenient method to get there. The majority of hotels will be able to book one for you. Before leaving, agree on a price.