Noen Maprang: Thailand’s Hidden Gem 

Noen Maprang, Phitsanulok: Monks Walking in Ban Mung

In an offbeat corner of Phitsanulok, there’s an area that’s stunningly beautiful and reminiscent of Krabi’s infamous landscape. With limestone karsts jutting up from lush rice paddies, Noen Maprang’s Ban Mung (บ้านมุง) is a breathtaking destination with few visitors. 

The peaceful and rural landscape of Ban Mung offers travelers a serene atmosphere to decompress from Thailand’s busy and chaotic metropolises.  

Unlike the urban jungle, Ban Mung’s nature has a soothing effect – it offers the opportunity to practice some meditative mindfulness amongst tranquil surroundings. A chance to relieve stress, wander the wilderness, and focus your mind.

Without the distractions of the modern-day world, it becomes easy to listen to the melodies that nature has to offer: from the pleasant undertones of birds singing to the wind whistling through the husks of corn stalk plains – every sound will induce a sense of tranquility.

The best way to experience the beauty of Ban Mung’s nature is by driving or cycling around the community’s vast plantations. With every undulating twist and turn of the road, you’ll be fascinated by how many serene views you’ll discover here.

When exploring Ban Mung, you don’t need to have a specific destination in mind. Instead, strive to aimlessly immerse yourself in the natural world around you. Have no plan, except to get lost in nature and truly decompress.

In Japan, this type of immersion is known as “forest bathing” – an effective method used to rejuvenate a weary mind.  

Getting to Noen Maprang’s Ban Mung might be difficult, due to its remote location. However, relaxing amongst the community’s 300 million-year-old limestone mountain range makes the extra effort to get here, beneficial for both your body and mind.

For us, Ban Mung is a peaceful and undiscovered haven – it’s one of Thailand’s last off the beaten path places where you can truly unwind. 

Noen Maprang, Phitsanulok

Actionable Information

Where To Stay: We recommend staying within the Ban Mung community (-79 km from Phitsanulok City) as this is where the highest concentration of resorts are located. In our humble opinion, นัชชานามุงโฮมสเตย์ is the best place to stay for a relaxing trip.

For a more wallet-friendly stay, there are a couple of homestays near the entrance of Wat Ban Mung – they typically charge ~300-400 baht per night for a small room that has WIFI and aircon. 

When To Visit: Noen Maprang (อำเภอเนินมะปราง) is worth visiting year-round, but the best experience will be during Thailand’s cold season (November – February). The clear skies during this time of the year will offer you the best chance at seeing the long trail of bats that emerge from Wat Ban Mung’s cave every evening. 

When we visited Ban Mung during Thailand’s rainy season, the sky’s cloud coverage prohibited our view of the bats at dusk. Because of this, we only had a few glimpses of them flying and zero chances to take any pictures.

Tip #1: When visiting Phitsanulok, we highly recommend combing your trip with a stop at Sukhothai’s Historical Park. This nostalgic park is ~45 minutes from Phitsanulok city (by car) and is a must-see destination within Thailand (it’s significantly better than Ayutthaya).

Tip #2: While not many foreign tourists visit Noen Maprang’s Ban Mung, it’s relatively popular with Thai tourists. This means that weekends and government holidays can get quite busy here – it’s best to go during the week as it’ll be relatively empty then.

Tip #3: When visiting Wat Ban Mung as well as its cave, please behave and dress appropriately – refrain from making loud noises and wear long-sleeve shirts + long pants. Also, remember to bring mosquito spray as the forest surrounding the temple is littered with mozzies.

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