Ban Dung (Thai: บ้านดุง) is a district (amphoe) in northeastern Udon Thani Province, Isan, Thailand.
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Geography of Ban Dung
Neighboring districts are (from the south clockwise) Thung Fon, Phibun Rak, Phen, and Sang Khom of Udon Thani Province, Phon Phisai and Fao Rai of Nong Khai Province, and Ban Muang, Charoen Sin, and Sawang Daen Din of Sakon Nakhon Province.
North of Ban Dung are marshlands and open water called Nong Pla Tao.
The major river is the Songkhram, which marks the boundary of the district to the east.
The minor district (king amphoe) Ban Dung was established on 16 May 1959, when three sub-districts were split off from Nong Han District and was upgraded to a full district on 16 July 1963.
Ban Dung is divided into 13 sub-districts (tambons), which are further divided into 159 administrative villages (mubans).
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Local administration in Ban Dung
There is one town (thesaban mueang) in the district:
Ban Dung (Thai: เทศบาลเมืองบ้านดุง) consisting of sub-district Si Suttho and parts of sub-district Ban Dung. The town is divided into 34 communities (chumchon).
There are 12 sub-district administrative organizations (SAO) in the district:
Ban Dung (Thai: องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลบ้านดุง) consisting of parts of sub-district Ban Dung.
Dong Yen (Thai: องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลดงเย็น) consisting of sub-district Dong Yen.
Phon Sung (Thai: องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลโพนสูง) consisting of sub-district Phon Sung.
Om Ko (Thai: องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลอ้อมกอ) consisting of sub-district Om Ko.
Ban Chan (Thai: องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลบ้านจันทน์) consisting of sub-district Ban Chan.
Ban Chai (Thai: องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลบ้านชัย) consisting of sub-district Ban Chai.
Na Mai (Thai: องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลนาไหม) consisting of sub-district Na Mai.
Thon Na Lap (Thai: องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลถ่อนนาลับ) consisting of sub-district Thon Na Lap.
Wang Thong (Thai: องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลวังทอง) consisting of sub-district Wang Thong.
Ban Muang (Thai: องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลบ้านม่วง) consisting of sub-district Ban Muang.
Ban Tat (Thai: องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลบ้านตาด) consisting of sub-district Ban Tat.
Na Kham (Thai: องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลนาคำ) consisting of sub-district Na Kham.
Economy of Ban Dung
The district is the site of a Voice of America (VOA) relay station. The Voice of America will give the station to Thailand, but will be allowed to operate it under a 25-year renewable lease. Each of the station’s seven shortwave transmitters is capable of broadcasting 500 kilowatts of power, covering 40 percent of the earth’s surface. One of the transmitters will be dedicated for use by Radio Thailand. It will have sufficient power to reach the Middle East and the West Coast of the United States, both areas with large expatriate Thai communities.
The VOA installation has been suspected of being a CIA black site used to interrogate alleged terrorists. That suspicion has been supplanted by a BBC report that the Udon Royal Air Force Base was the home of a CIA black site, known to insiders as “Cat’s Eye”, but better known as “Detention Site Green”, used to interrogate Abu Zubaydah, a 31-year-old Saudi-born Palestinian, believed to be one of Osama Bin Laden’s top lieutenants. In December 2014 the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) published an executive summary of a secret 6,000 page report on CIA techniques. The report alleges that at least eight Thai senior officials knew of the secret site. The site was closed in December 2002. Thailand has denied the existence of the site while the US government has neither confirmed or denied its existence.
Farming in Ban Dung
The major crop grown is rice with 259,066 rai being cultivated by 13,708 people out of a total farming area of 327,480 rai. There was also 15,667 rai of rubber under cultivation, 550 rai of palm oil, and 1,445 rai used for rock salt extraction. Other crops included maize, cassava, eucalyptus, sugar cane and various fruit and vegetables. Other farming activities included the rearing of buffalo, cattle, pigs, and chickens with a small number of people raising fish in lakes or ponds.
The average income per year in Ban Dung was 42,023 baht per person in 2011 with the majority of people being farmers. However, there is an increasing number of people employed in the retail and building trades as the town continues to increase in size with a steady influx of people moving into Ban Dung including a significant number of expats and their spouses.
Salt production in Ban Dung
The salt making area around Ban Dung has produced salt for industrial purposes for more than 25 years. The production method used as in many other places in northeast Thailand is called solution mining. The mining is done by local co-operative groups.
Refined salt for domestic use is made by evaporating salt water in large open vats using ovens with rice husks used as the fuel source. This method produces very clean, fine grained salt in which the impurities are removed during cooking. Traditionally, the stove used in salt making was wood-fueled. Wood became more expensive, prompting a shift to rice hull stoves. The abundance of rice hulls has made it economically feasible to reprocess the salt and is a renewable source of fuel. The residue, rice hull ash, (RHA) is then sold back to farmers for use as fertilizer.
Tourism in Ban Dung
Ban Dung is the gateway to Wat Kham Chanot.
Where to eat in Ban Dung
1. Tiger Bar run by Gordon (Lao Beer available)
2. Joy’s Coffee House (Run by Arden and his wife Joy)
3. Brian’s Pie Shop Ban Dung (A lot of Pie’s and curries for take away)
4. Bonjour Restaurant (Run by Ghob with great German food)