Nestled in the lush green forests of Phu Langa National Park, in the Bueng Kan Province in Thailand lies the mysterious Naka Cave, a place shrouded in myth and legend.
For centuries, locals have passed down stories of magical creatures and supernatural powers that surround this place, as well as hidden treasures that still await to be found. A truly beautiful place made even more spectacular by the legends surrounding it.
And today, we’re here to learn everything about Naka Cave and the legend of the snake it’s supposed to have created it.
Strangely enough, despite the growing reputation of the Naka Cave, it has remained largely unexplored by outsiders.
New parts of the cave are constantly discovered, while some areas are being closed – the latest was in 2008, when a part of it was closed to the public because of these legends connecting Naka Cave to a gigantic snake.
So, let’s explore the Legends of Naka Cave in Thailand below!
Origins of Naka Cave
The history of Naka Cave dates back to the prehistoric era, when it was naturally formed (although that’s not what the legends claim).
According to local legends, the cave was discovered by a group of fishermen who were seeking shelter from a storm. As they made their way through the cave, they stumbled upon a hidden chamber filled with gold and precious gems.
Over time, word of the cave’s riches spread, and people from all over the region began to explore its depths in search of treasure.
But as more and more people entered the cave, strange things began to happen. Some reported hearing the sounds of ghostly voices, while others claimed to have seen strange creatures lurking in the shadows.
Despite these eerie occurrences, people continued to explore the cave, driven by the promise of untold wealth and the thrill of adventure.
The cave is still explored today, but the main attraction remains what the eyes can see: the serpent-like rock formations in and around the cave.
Legends of Naka Cave
The legends surrounding Naka Cave are as varied and mysterious as the cave itself.
Some say that the cave was once home to a powerful sorcerer who used its dark powers to control the minds of those who entered.
Others believe that the cave is a gateway to the underworld, and that the spirits of the dead reside within its walls.
One of the most enduring legends of Naka Cave is the story of the Naka or Naga, a mythical serpent-like creature that is said to be the creator of this cave.
The Naka is a revered creature in Thai beliefs, often depicted as a powerful, gigantic serpent with supernatural powers.
According to the legend, this majestic creature, a divine protector of the land and its people, used to inhabit the Naka Cave.
The Naka had an uncanny ability to control water and bring rain, which was vital for the region’s agricultural prosperity.
It was also believed to have guarded the entrance to the mystical underworld and protected sacred treasures hidden within the cave.
To this day, locals believe that the Naga still guards the entrance to the cave, and that those who dare to enter without permission will be cursed with bad luck.
Others believe that the Naga or the Snake turned into stone and actually became the Naka Cave, and those exploring it basically go through the depth of the snake’s body. Pretty creepy if you ask me, but a great selling point for tourists!
Also, these legends are helped by the unique shapes of the rocks you can find inside the cave, when visiting. Some really look like a huge snake was turned into stone, which makes everything even more spectacular.
As you step into the Naka Cave, you can feel the echoes of this fascinating legend reverberate through the air.
The cave’s enchanting aura and the captivating tale of the Naka serpent are a testament to Thailand’s rich cultural heritage and the power of its myths.
The Unexplored Mysteries of Naka Cave
Despite the many legends that surround Naka Cave, much of the cave remains unexplored.
There are countless chambers and passages that have never been fully mapped, and many believe that there are still treasures and secrets hidden to be found by explorers.
However, the legends do have – like most legends do – a bit of truth behind them. Especially the one related to the snake that created or lived in the cave.
Back in 2014, Australian reporters exploring the Naka Cave found plenty of fossilized snake scales inside, but also a giant snake stone estimated to be 7 meters long (23 feet).
Other reports, as recent as 2017, have found a scale stone that is huge as well: close to 1 meter (3.2 feet) long and weighting 5 tons.
It is believed that these fossilized snake scales and stones are actually sculptures from ancient times.
Actually, part of huge sculptures in or around the cave, which were destroyed over time. But nothing is 100% clear at the moment, so there’s still a huge mystery surrounding Thailand’s Naka Cave.
How to Get to Naka Cave?
If you want to be one of the explorers of this cave – or at least visit the parts that have already been explored and are open for visiting, you can.
If you are already in the area, you must visit the Wat Tham Chaimongkol (a buddhist temple) in Northern Thailand. From there, you will take the climb up some stairs around the temple, taking you to a dirt path that eventually takes you to the cave.
I have marked the temple mentioned above on Google Maps here.
An alternate route is from the entrance to the Namtok Tad Wimanthip national park (the way to the Luang Pu Wang Pagoda). You can get to a parking spot here by car and start the climb up the dirt patch.
A beautiful route, although pretty long – so make sure you have appropriate gear and plenty of water. I’m marking the starting point on Google Maps here.
Exploring the Naka Caves in Thailand
Even though you will have a long walk ahead of you, the route to the Naka Caves is spectacular and there are plenty of other things to enjoy on your way there (and in the area).
And there are various ways to explore the cave – the touristy one is the most recommended. This is where most of the snake-scales like rocks can be found and it is a lot safer than the alternative.
Here is an amazing video showing you the climb up to the Naka Cave, as well as parts of the amazing place:
There is a less touristy and creepier part of the Naka Cave, and I will go in depth below.
Once you get to the cave, you will probably be surprised by the tiny entrance. It’s a bit scary, I have to admit, but it’s considered safe.
Once inside, you can start exploring the cave. You will first go down a set of wooden stairs into the depths of Naka Cave. Make sure to have a flashlight and enough batteries to last you for the duration of your stay.
There is no electricity there and no lights – natural or otherwise. Be very careful about this, as you don’t want to end up in complete darkness, trying to find your way back!
Now you can explore a bit around. The most spectacular parts of the cave are those that resemble snake scales – as well as plenty of other natural formations that can have completely unnatural explanations. This is how the legends were born!
Make sure to explore the cave with a guide. It’s not a place you want to get lost in!
Naka Cave in Thailand is one of the lesser known attractions in the country, a place of mystery and legend and definitely one that is worth exploring – although it’s pretty much off the beaten path.
Sure, most people go to Thailand to meet Thai women and spend their time sipping drinks on the beach or exploring better known cities like Chiang Mai, but it’s this raw Thailand that makes everything so much more spectacular and amazing.
So, especially if you are in Northern Thailand, make sure to put this mysterious cave on your “to see” list. The entire area, with the traditional temples, beautiful nature and monuments is definitely worth seeing.
And – who knows? Maybe you will be able to be one of the lucky ones to find the legendary riches that are said to be hidden in the labyrinthic ways of the Naka Cave.