As the Mekong River flows east pass Nong Khai and then south, it progresses down the Nakhon Phanom's entire elongated eastern side, separating it from Laos. With a past that dates back many thousands of years, the province is a collection of diverse cultures and traditions from the various ethnic groups that now inhabit this land. The province, literally translated as "city of hills", is renowned for its beautiful scenery and a great place to spend a few relaxing days by the Mekong River. The city contains one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites, revered in both Thailand and neighboring Laos. The province is opposite Tha Khaek in Laos. The province is famous for various cultural sites such as Phra That Phanom and Phra That Maha Chai.