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Northeast Thailand

Sakon Nakhon Expat Travel Guide

Sakon Nakhon (สกลนคร) is a town in the Isaan region of Thailand. Phra That Choeng Chum Understand Sakon Nakhon is 647 km from Bangkok. It has an area of 9,605 km², mostly in the Phu Phan mountains. It has many forest temple meditation retreats. Sakon Nakhon is a Buddhist town with five Buddhist stupas. Its […]

Wolfgang Holzem

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Sakon Nakhon (สกลนคร) is a town in the Isaan region of Thailand.

Understand

Sakon Nakhon is 647 km from Bangkok. It has an area of 9,605 km², mostly in the Phu Phan mountains. It has many forest temple meditation retreats.

Sakon Nakhon is a Buddhist town with five Buddhist stupas. Its history dates back three thousand years. Legend says that Nongharn town, now Sakon Nakhon, was built in 11th century when the Khmer ruled this region. When the Khmer lost their power, the town was under the rules of Lanxang or Laotian Kingdom. It was renamed “Muang Chiang Mai Nongharn”. When the town joined Siam, it was renamed again as “Sakon Thavapi”. In 1830, during the reign of King Rama III, it was renamed “Sakon Nakhon”.

Talk

A mix of Thai and Lao is spoken in Sakon Nakhon. Central Thai is perfectly acceptable. There are few expats living in the city and few foreign visitors, but don’t expect English to be widely spoken or to see English translations beyond road signs. Locals will do their best to help you with whatever English they know, but it’s advisable to dive headfirst into learning the dialect and start mixing with the locals.

Visit our Hotel Partners in Sakon Nakhon

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Get in

By car

From Bangkok, take Hwy 2 to Saraburi and turn right onto Hwy 2, via Nakhon Ratchasima, Ban Phai of Khon Kaen Province to Ban Tha Phra. Get onto Hwy 23 via Maha Sarakham and Kalasin, then use Hwy 213 to Sakon Nakhon. (7-9 hr respecting speed limits)

By bus

The Transport Co. Thailand and private bus companies operate daily service from Bangkok to Sakon Nakhon. Buses leave the Northeast Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) daily.

By train

The State Railway of Thailand operates daily train services from Bangkok to Udon Thani, where visitors can catch a bus to Sakon Nakhon, 159 km away (3-4 hours, 100 Thai Baht, air-con. Buses going to Nakhon Phanom and Mukdahan may stop in Sakon Nakhon). The night train from Bangkok usually departs at 20:00, and is supposed to reach Udon Thani around 06:00 but 09:00 is more likely. Around 1,000 Thai Baht for a soft bed in a 2-bed first-class cabin with air-con.)

By plane

Nok Air flies from Bangkok to Sakon Nakhon (900-2,500 Thai Baht one-way; 15 kg checked in luggage included).

Air Asia flies from Bangkok to Sakon Nakhon (200-1,300 Thai Baht one-way since 2014; checked in luggage is a low-cost extra).

Cheap Flights to Sakon Nakhon

Origin Departure date Return date Find Ticket

Bangkok

08.12.2020

15.12.2020

Tickets from 1 790

Hat Yai

15.01.2021

20.01.2021

Tickets from 4 193

Khon Kaen

05.12.2020

06.12.2020

Tickets from 4 382

Udon Thani

04.12.2020

05.12.2020

Tickets from 5 349

Mae Sot

05.01.2021

07.01.2021

Tickets from 8 289

Get around

You can get around by bus, samlor, and motored tricycle that are available in the city. Fare is negotiated.

There is no rental company catering for tourists, but you can arrange in almost any motorcycle shop, or any guesthouse, a daily rental for around 100-200 Thai Baht, or monthly for 1,500-2,000 Thai Baht.

See

  • Phra That Choeng Chum (พระธาตุเชิงชุม). It is built to cover footprints of four Buddhas, namely Phra Kakusantha, Phra Konakom, Phra Kassapa, and Phra Kodom or Phra Sri Ariyametrei (The present Lord Buddha). Next to Phra That is the chapel that houses Luang Por Ong Saen, a sacred Buddha statue of the province. It is featured on the reverse of the ten satang coin.
  • Nong Han (หนองหาร). With a depth of three to eight metres, the lake supports agriculture, livestock farming, and a fishery. There are more than 20 islets in the lake such as Ko Don Sawan, the biggest islet where a deserted temple and ancient Buddha images are found.
  • Somdej Phra Srinagarindra Park (สวนสมเด็จพระศรีนครินทร์). The park’s compound includes an ancient pond, called Sra Pangthong. The park includes beautiful flowers and trees, jungle, water park, rock garden, exercise area, and a 69-m-high fountain.
  • The 60th anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen Park (สวนเทิดพระเกียรติ ๖๐ พรรษา มหาราชินี). The park includes a botanical garden, pavilion, fountain, viewpoint, and bird sanctuary.
  • Freshwater Fish Aquarium (สถานแสดงพันธุ์ปลาน้ำจืด), Sai Sawang Road. The Freshwater Fishery Station aquarium features different species of freshwater fish native to Isan.
  • Sakon Nakhon Cultural Centre (ศูนย์วัฒนธรรมจังหวัดสกลนคร). The centre features tools, belongings, history, and documents of different ethnic groups.
  • Phra That Dum (พระธาตุดุม). The lone stupa is built with laterite in the same period as Phra That Narai Jeng Veng, but the stupa is smaller and without a base. The lintel featuring God Vishnu in reclining position is placed on the northern arch. There are carvings depicting gods riding different animals over the Rahu.
  • Archan Man Purithattha Thera Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์บริขารอาจารย์มั่น ภูริทัตตเถระ). The museum houses a bronze statue of Archan Man Purithatto and the glass case that houses his ashes that turned into crystal. The display, including his tools, is placed on a marble altar and his life history is shown nearby.
  • Sapan Khom or Sapan Hin (สะพานขอม หรือสะพานหิน). It is considered as an ancient bridge to link Sakon Nakhon and the countryside as this area once was swamp. The present bridge is made from laterite, replacing the old one that was removed for road construction.
  • Phra That Narai Cheng Weng (ปราสาทพระธาตุนารายณ์เจงเวง). The lone stupa is built from sandstone on a laterite base and carved beautifully. Its lintel features Lord Krisna killing a lion in Bapuan Khmer art. The art appearing on this stupa is quite similar to many other Khmer ruins found in Isan.
  • Phu Phan Rajanivet Palace (พระตำหนักภูพานราชนิเวศน์). The palace is the royal residence of the king, queen, and royal family during their missions in northeast Thailand.
  • Phu Phan National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติภูพาน). The park features limestone mountains and different forest such as deciduous dipterocarp forest, jungle rain forest, or mixed deciduous forest. Wildlife found in the park include langur, civet, and slow loris.

Historical attractions

  • Phra That Phu Pek (พระธาตุภูเพ็ก). this ancient Khmer Ruin was built from sandstone, standing on a laterite base.
  • Tham Seri Thai (ถ้ำเสรีไทย). During WWII, Seri Thai used this cave for arms and food storage as it is well camouflaged by lush vegetation.

Natural attractions

  • Phu Phan Mountain Range (เทือกเขาภูพาน). The range is quite well known, but remote, at the border of Sakon Nakhon and Kalasin.
  • Namtok Kham Hom and Kong Ping Ngu (น้ำตกคำหอม และ โค้งปิ้งงู). The entrance to Namtok Kham Hom winds like a grilled snake, or Kong Ping Ngu in Thai.
  • Pha Nang Mern and Lan Sao E (ผานางเมิน และลานสาวเอ้). It is quite a nice place for camping and for watching the sunset view. Below the cliff, there is a track leading to Lan Sao E, literally, “the place for the lady to show beautiful attire”.
  • Pha Savoey (ผาเสวย). In Kalasin, the cliff heading south is the place where the king once visited and ate lunch.
  • Namtok Huay Yai (น้ำตกห้วยใหญ่). The falls are 12 km from park headquarters. It cascades via several steps amid dense jungle.
  • Namtok Preecha Sooksan (น้ำตกปรีชาสุขสันต์). The 12-m-wide falls cascade down the mountain.
  • Stone Arch (Thang Pi Pan) (สะพานหินธรรมชาติ [ทางผีผ่าน]). The stone arch, 1.5 m wide and 8 m long, bridges two groups of rocks together creating a shelter underneath it.
  • Phu Thai ethnic group at Ban None Hom (ชาวภูไท บ้านโนนหอม). have immigrated from the left side of Mekong River to settle down here over a century ago.
  • Cliff carving at Phu Pha Yon (ภาพรอยสลักผาสามพันปีที่ภูผายล). Phu Pha Yon, the mountain in the compound of meditation centre houses cliff carvings featuring lifestyles of the local people in the pre-historical period.
  • Phra That Phu Pek (พระธาตุภูเพ็ก). Phra That Phu Pek is believed to have been built in the 11th century to serve as a Hindu temple. It was adapted to serve Buddhism later.
  • Wat Tham Kham or Phu Kham (วัดถ้ำขาม หรือ ภูขาม). The temple once was a meditation place of Archan Fan Archaro. The temple also houses ashes of Phra Archan Tet Tetrangsi, now a pilgrimage site.
  • Archan Fan Archaro Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์อาจารย์ฝั้น อาจาโร). The museum, in the shape of a pagoda and three folds of lotus, houses a life-size statue of Archan Fan in a sitting posture with a stick in his hand. The other exhibits include ashes in glass box and tools, as well as his history.
  • Wat Kham Pramong (วัดคำประมง). This temple served as a meditation place for Phra Kru Santi Worayan (Luang Pu Sim Buddharo).
  • Nam Oun Dam (เขื่อนน้ำอูน). The clay dam, managed by the Royal Irrigation Department, is built to preserve water from the Nam Oun, a tributary of the Songkram River which originates in the Phu Phan Range.
  • Prasart Ban Panna (ปราสาทบ้านพันนา). The Khmer ruin has a lone stupa with a rectangular laterite base and baray around. It is believed to have been built in the same period as Phra That Phu Pek.
  • Phra That Sri Mongkol (พระธาตุศรีมงคล). The rectangular pagoda is decorated in modern design and stucco. Its base contains decorations in terracotta featuring history of Lord Buddha. The modern design is a renovation of the old pagoda which had only a laterite core.
  • Tham Phra Buddha Saiyard (Tham Phra Thong or Phu Pha Thong) (ถ้ำพระพุทธไสยาสน์ [ถ้ำพระทอง หรือภูผาทอง]). The cave is at Tambon Kor Kiew, 9 km from Amphoe Warich Phume.
  • Phu Ang Sor (ภูอ่างศอ). The mountain is in Tambon Kham Bor, 18 km from Amphoe Warich Phume.
  • Wat Tham Apai Damrong Tham or Wat Tham Phuang and the Museum of Archan Wan Uttamo (วัดถ้ำอภัยดำรงธรรม หรือวัดถ้ำพวง และพิพิธภัณฑ์อาจารย์วัน อุตตโม). The temple has a four-gabled marble pavilion with a double roof. Its ground floor features paintings of the history of the famous monk Archan Wan.
  • Phu Pha Lek National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติภูผาเหล็ก). The park encloses part of the Phu Phan Range with Phu Ang Sor as its highest peak. Most areas are covered with deciduous dipterocarp forest, mixed dipterocarp forest, dry evergreen forest, various kinds of bamboo and herbs. Wild hogs, barking deer, mouse deer and various birds are found. Attractions in the park include:
    • Pha Suriyan (ผาสุริยันต์). The towering cliff on the top of Phu Pha Lek offers nice view point and sun rise view.
    • Pha Dong Kor (ผาดงก่อ). The cliff is on the peak of Phu Pha Lek, part of Phu Phan range. It is special with a huge rock at the cliff edge.
    • Pha Nam Joke (ผาน้ำโจ้ก). This high cliff on the peak of Phu Pha Lek offers views of Huay Huad Reservoir and a panorama of Udon Thani and Khon Kaen.
    • Pha Pak Wan Pre-historical Painting (ภาพเขียนก่อนประวัติศาสตร์ผาผักหวาน). The 3,600-year-old painting is on a big rock at Ban Phu Takham. It features women standing in line and holding each other’s shoulders.
    • Lan U-sa Sawan (ลานอุษาสวรรค์). The plateau, covering 2.5 km² in area, is on top of Phu Pha Lek. It comprises forest, mountain, rock and grassland, and looks like a man-made garden.
    • Dinosaur graveyard (สุสานไดโนเสาร์). Many fossils have been found in the middle of the Phu Pha Lek Mountain and at the forested edge of Phu Phan. Fossils of plant and petrified wood have also been found.
    • Hor Song Dao (หอส่องดาว). The observatory is at 700 m elevation on Phu Pha Lek’s peak. With a full panoramic view, it is a good place to observe the stars and meteor showers.
    • Nam Phung Dam (เขื่อนน้ำพุง). The first rockfill dam in northeast Thailand is 1,720 m (5,640 ft) long and 40 m (130 ft) high. The dam generates electricity for Sakon Nakhon and Nakhon Phanom.
    • Thai So Cultural Centre (ศูนย์วัฒนธรรมไทยโส้). The centre features tools of Thai So, an ethnic group that migrated from the left side of the Mekong River.
  • Phu Pha Yon National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติภูผายล). It features plateau and sandstone mountain, blanketed by deciduous dipterocarp forest, dry evergreen forest, hill evergreen forest. The trees found in the park include thingar, Lagerstroemia calyculata Kurz, Irvingia malayana. Wildlife found includes barking deer, sambar deer, Asiatic wild dog. Attractions in the park include:
    • Huay Huad Reservoir (อ่างเก็บน้ำห้วยหวด). It was created by the irrigation dam at the initiative of the king. There is a strangely shaped rock, by the pavilion on the right side of the reservoir.
    • Namtok Kham Sang (น้ำตกคำน้ำสร้าง). With a height of 25 m (82 ft), these are the highest falls in the park. The falls are 1.8 km from park headquarters.
    • Phu Pha Yon (ภูผายล). The mountain has beautiful scenery. Its cliff houses carvings which can be dated back to over 3,000 years ago.
    • Pha Paya Tao Ngoy (ผาพญาเต่างอย). There is a rock in “ngoy tortoise” shape which is going towards Phung Stream. Locals believe that the tortoise represents fertile land and named the village Ban Tao Ngoy.
    • Lan Dusita (ลานดุสิตา). The vast rock plain turns colourful in late rainy season when various tiny flowers are in full bloom.
  • Wax Castle Procession. Held during the 12th-15th days of the waxing moon in October to mark the end of Buddhist Lent. On the night of 13th day, people join to decorate wax castles at Ming Muang Field. On the 14th day, wax castles from different temples will join the procession, roaming the municipality to Wat Phra That Cherngchum Woravihara. Isan people believe that the wax will welcome Lord Buddha who comes back from heaven to help all creatures on earth. Communities from around the Sakon Nakhon province spend a considerable amount of time and money constructing large model Buddhist temples out of wax. It draws quite a large number of Thai tourists, and a few expats as well, but is still relatively unknown to foreign tourists. As Buddhist Lent is determined by the lunar calendar, it is held in October, but not on the same day each year.

Do

  • Huai Huat Reservoir (30 km south of Sakon Nakhon on Rte 2339). The reservoir is a part of Huai Huat National Park, a consequence of Huai Huat Dam construction. Fronting the reservoir are a royal hall, a flower garden, and a natural arrangement of various forms of rocks.
  • Nam Phung Dam (45 km west of Sakon Nakhon on Rte 22 to Udon Thani, then 8 km south on Phang Khon-Waritchaphum Road). Huge dam provides a sanctuary for numerous teals. A trip to Mae Un Waterfall and a fishing trip are some examples of various activities at the dam.
  • Nam Un Dam (At Kut Bak). A multipurpose dam. 172 m long and 40 m high, it dams up a huge lake with a surface area of about 6,000 acres.
  • Nong Han Lake (หนองหาร). A 32-km² lake in Sakon Nakhon is a popular place of relaxation. Its offshore isles, particularly the Don Sawan, are both beautiful and restful and can be easily reached by hired boats. However, if you are considering swimming here, read Sakon Nakhon#Stay safe first.
  • Phu Phan National Park (25 km on Sakon Nakhon-Kalasin Rte 213). The park is scattered with limestone mountains, groves, and savannahs with several natural attractions such as Tat Ton Waterfall and Kham Hom Waterfall. Foreigners pay 10 times what the Thais pay to enter.
  • Songkran Festival. Songkran is Thailand’s traditional New Years from the 13-15 Apr annually. Do not think Songkran is just for the big cities as seemingly the entire town comes out to play for several days of water throwing madness. It is about the best fun you can have in Sakon. Most of the action takes place from the temple Wat Phra That Choeng Chum and several blocks to the northwest. Phang Khon is also an excellent place to be especially around Ban Nong Bua which is directly at Nam Oum Dam.
  • Ruam Nam Jai Tha iSakon Fair and Red Cross Fair (งานรวมน้ำใจไทสกลและงานกาชาด) – Held at the beginning of each year by the city hall, the fair comprises floats showing cultures and tradition of different ethnic groups in the province such as Phu Thai, So, Yor, Saek, Ka Lerng, Kula, Vietnamese, and Chinese. The float parade starts from Ming Muang Field at 14:00 and travels via Sukkasem Road to city hall. The other entertainments include a folk culture contest, a traditional dinner, and stage performances.
  • So Ram Luk Festival (งานเทศกาลโส้รำลึก) – The festival to commemorate the So ethnic group is held annually on the 4th waxing moon of March at Amphoe Kusumal. Traditional rites conducted by a number of So people start in late morning.
  • Boon Mahachart Festival and Boon Bangfai or Rocket Festival, Amphoe Phang Kone (งานบุญมหาชาติและบุญบั้งไฟ อำเภอพังโคน) – The festivals are held annually in the first week of May. Its activities include the local rocket contest, Mahachart Preying, Phang Kone Cuisine Festival, and the local rocket parade.
  • Boat race (งานประเพณีแข่งเรือ) – Held at the same time as the wax castle procession, the ancient boat race takes place at Phang Thong Pond or Tha Nang Arb, Ban Tha Wat.

Buy

Local products

  • Ban Charn Arts and Crafts Centre (ศูนย์ศิลปาชีพบ้านจาร) – At Ban Charn, Tambon Mueng, Amphoe Ban Muang, the centre is a production base and training hub for weaving silk and local textiles, as well as blacksmithing and wood carving.
  • Ban Pan Mor (บ้านปั้นหม้อ) – The pottery village Ban Chiang Krua is in Tambon Chiang Krua, Amphoe Muang, 15 km from Sakon Nakhon city via Hwy 22. The farmers here receive additional earnings through the pottery business.
  • Wha Yai and Ban Don Daeng Weaving Village (หมู่บ้านทอผ้าบ้านวาใหญ่ บ้านดอนแดง) – In Amphoe Arkat Amnuay, the villages are well known for woven cotton, silk dyed in Khit-style. All textiles are dyed with natural dyes.
  • Big C Shopping Centre (corner of Khu Mueang Road and Jai Pah Suk Road). Daily 09:00-22:00. General shopping. There’s a food court, a MK Restaurant and a decent sushi stand.
  • Kut Na Kham Arts and Crafts Centre (at Ban Kut Na Kham, Charoen Sin, 112 km from Sakon Nakhon). Where pottery, fabrics, and wood carvings are made by hand to unique designs.
  • Makro (1 km west of centre on Rte 22 to Udon Thani). Cheap bulk purchases.
  • Robinson (east from the centre). Groceries and assorted goods, with much higher pricing than Big C or Lotus.
  • Tedsaban Market (corner of Pracha Rat Road and Khu Mueang Road). Primarily a vegetable market, but you can also buy some cheap clothes (especially at night when the market expands to the opposite side of the street) and other odds-and-ends. It’s also a great place to pick up a quick Thai meal in a plastic bag.
  • Tesco Lotus (west, just out of the centre, on Rte 22 to Udon Thani). Superstore.

Eat

  • Baijak Coffee & Steak House (behind the PTT petrol station just outside of town on the highway to Udon Thani). 11:00-21:00. Excellent little steak house. English menus.
  • Ban Fa Prong Coffee & Bakery (from Big C supermarket, follow Rop Mueang St east for 900 m; the restaurant is on the right before the corner with Charoen Mueang). 07:00-21:00. Delicious range of Thai, Isaan, French, and international cuisine with menu in English. Air-con, English spoken, nice set of international desserts. 50-200 Thai Baht.
  • Dog Meat (Ban Tha Rae, north of Nong Han Lake on the road to Nakhon Phanom). Dog meat is sold to those meat-eaters desperate to taste sour and spicy dog-bone soup, peppery dog meat salad, or dark spicy smoked dog sausage. Gourmets say the meat, boiled or fried, is particularly succulent and tastes like deer. Dog oil is said claimed to be a useful ointment for scratches or burned skin. The thought of eating dog horrifies most Thais, and the promotion of canine cuisine is not something the Tourism Authority of Thailand is keen to support. In villages throughout Sakon Nakhon dog meat is still consumed.
  • Green Corner (Rat Phatthana Road, opposite the city’s main bus terminal). A modern bakery and restaurant. Sells Thai and Western meals. Popular with expats and foreigners also because it’s one of the few restaurants that has an English language menu and air-con.
  • Pon Yang Kham (15 km southeast of Sakon Nakhon on Rte 223 between the military camp and Non Hom town). A butchery specialising in the production and distribution of high quality beef from charolais and limousin French cattle breeds. Supplies high-end restaurants in Bangkok. Also has an affordable restaurant at noon. 50-300 Thai Baht.
  • Rajaphat University Restaurant (on Rte 22 to Udon Thani, after crossing Rte 223). 30-200 Thai Baht.
  • Sakon Nakhon Farmers Market (AKA bypass market) (southwest of Sakhon Nakhon at intersection of Rte 213 (to Kalasin) and Rte 223 to Mukdahan (AKA bypass intersection)). Daily 16:00-19:00. Fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, meat, fish, takeaway food, and an amazing range of insects, frogs, birds, snakes, larvae, worms.
  • Sakhon Steak and Sandwich House (ITU Road, at entrance to the PLR Apartments). 08:00-23:00. Tesco Lotus (road to Udon Thani). Supermarket with food court. 20-100 Thai Baht.

Drink

  • Golden Pond (Tor Phatthana Road). A popular discothèque.
  • Patchachin (corner Prem Prida Road and Mankhalai Road). Thai pub and restaurant. Very popular with younger affluent Thais. No English language menus.
  • Soi Jet, Suk Kasem Soi 7 (in a small alley off Suk Kasem Road). Hard to find but serves good quality Thai food. It is another pub popular with younger, affluent Thais looking for a more relaxed night out. Thai-language menu only.
  • Welcome Bar (Tor Phatthana Road). The local expat bar.

Where to stay in Sakon Nakhon

  • AP Place Hotel, 525 Ratbamrung Road.
  • Baan Esan Country House, 166 Dong Pattana Soi 1 (Sakonnakhon-Udon Rte 22 close to Rajaphat University) , ✉ dexsakon@hotmail.com. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00. Cute traditional northeastern-style guesthouse five minutes from Sakon Nakhon airport, with a beautiful garden and landscaping. Jasmin and fragrant flowers, orchids, spa, sauna, and hot tub spa. Wi-Fi, satellite TV. English spoken. Inclusive breakfast, with latte and cappuccini, very flexible owners who often arrange delicious home made meals, arrange takeaway deliveries in the guesthouse, arrange transport from/to the airport. Offers motorbike rental. Daily, 500-2,000 Thai Baht; monthly, 3,500-6,000 Thai Baht.
  • Dusit Hotel, 1784 Yuwa Phatthana.
  • Imperial Sakon Hotel, 1892 Sukkasem Road.
  • M.J. The Majestic Hotel, 399 Khu Muang Road.
  • N.H. Elegant Hotel, 1636/32 Rop Mueang Road.
  • PLR Apartments, ITU Road (Near football stadium). Check-in: 10:00, check-out: 12:00. All rooms are fully furnished. 26 inch LCD TV, water heater, cable TV, 24 hour security, laundry service. 300 Thai Baht per day; 3,000 Thai Baht per month.

What to see and do in Sakon Nakhon

Visitors to Sakon Nakhon are in for a treat. This region abounds in natural splendor and spectacle, and time spent here immerses you in the Buddhist traditions of the nation and can even take you back in time a few million years.

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Reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as Thailand, Germany & Switzerland. Born near Cologne and a longterm resident of Bangkok, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon and Phuket. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu. Love to follow the English Premier League , the German Bundesliga and the Spanish La Liga.

Northeast Thailand

Udon Thani Expat & Tourist Guide

Wolfgang Holzem

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udonthani1000x600

Udon Thani (อุดรธานี, also Udorn Thanee) is a city in the Isaan region of Thailand. Often referred to as simply Udon or Udorn (อุดร), the city should not be confused with Ubon — Ubon Ratchathani in southeastern Isaan.

Introduction to Udon Thani

Founded in the 1890s by Prince Prajak Silapakom, Udon Thani is the 7th largest city in Thailand.

Udon had a USAF airbase during the Vietnam War that increased its wealth and importance. Surrounded by one of the major agricultural areas of the country, Udon Thani has become a regional hub for agriculture, commercial distribution, shopping and a fledgling tourism industry.

Udon Thani F.C

Udon Thani F.C

Because of the US presence (the airbase until 1976, a U.S. consulate until 1995, and currently, a Voice of America radio station in Amphur Ban Dung) many Thais were well-paid and learned English, making them more marketable to foreign labour recruiters.

Udon has a large number of its expats who have worked or are working overseas, particularly in Middle East oil fields. This has contributed both to the wealth of the area and its desirability as an expat destination.

More than 5,000 expats from Europe, Australia and North America have settled in the area.

Visit our Hotel Partners in Udon Thani

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

Travel to Udon Thani

By plane

  • Udon Thani AirportHas several 50 min daily flights to Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi [BKK]) (Thai Airlines: around 2,500 Thai Baht) or (Don Mueang [DMK]) (Air Asia from 500 Thai Baht and Nok Air from 1,250 Thai Baht if booked well in advance). There are also direct flights to Chiang MaiLoei and Phuket (Air Asia flies to Phuket with tickets often around 1,000-1,200 Thai Baht, which is comparable to a 2-night bus/train trip via Bangkok).

To get to the city there is a limousine service (actually a minibus) for 80 Thai Baht/person that will drop you and other passengers at the location of your choice. Minibus tickets are available in the booth just to the right as you leave the terminal building. If there are more than two of you, it may be cheaper to call a taxi (Tel. +66 42 323239) or to use Grab ride-hailing service, which (as of January 2019) costs 160 Thai Baht to/from central Udon. Taxis are not permitted to wait for passengers at the airport, but some do it anyway, asking 200-400 Thai Baht for the 4 km journey. Some hotels have pickup services and may take an extra passenger or two if space permits. Some long distance buses to Khon Kaen were seen in the airport, with numerous people boarding them. No local Udon Thani songthaews have been seen near the airport.

Udon Thani Wallpaper

Udon Thani Wallpaper

If you are travelling on to Nong Khai, there is a bureau straight ahead of you when you get to the arrivals hall which sells minivan tickets to Nong Khai. They have a minibus which meets most flights and for 200 Thai Baht they will load you into a minivan. It takes one hour to reach Nong Khai and if you ask the driver he will take you to your hotel, or drop you off at the Thai side of the Friendship Bridge. You can then proceed into Laos.

Cheap Flights to Udon Thani

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By bus

There are four bus stations in the city:

  • City Centre Bus Station, Station 1 (BKS Station). The city’s main bus station is near Central Plaza.
  • Bus Station 2 (Northern Bus Station) (On the western outskirts of the city on the road in from Loei  towards Nong Khai). Buses to and from northern Thailand such as Loei , Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai. A tuk-tuk into the city costs about 100 Thai Baht from there (Dec 2014). Songthaew 7 will take you there as well.
  • Bus Station 3 (Just off the ring road, north side of the city). Third-class buses to Nong Khai.
  • Nakhonchai Air Bus Terminal Udon Thani (Tahan Road opposite the Army Hospital). First class and VIP day and overnight buses to Bangkok. Nakhonchai Air has a high reputation for quality, and for managing its drivers to drive safely. Buses from Bangkok also stop at Bus Station 1 when arriving in Udon Thani, before terminating at their own terminal. Nakhonchai Air has buses departing to Bangkok at 08:50; 09:40; 19:00; 20:50; 21:25; 22:00; and 22:45. Travel time is about 7-9 hours depending on traffic. Regular, 454 Thai Baht; VIP, 606 Thai Baht.
  • Udon-BangkokBuses from Bangkok (Mo Chit), an 8-hour journey, arrive at the BKS station in the city centre. BKS buses to Mo Chit depart at 20:00; 20:30; 21:00; and 21:20. Nakhonchai Air also runs buses to Bangkok.
  • Udon-Chiang MaiA VIP seat on a bus (e.g., Chackrapong Tour) costs 666 Thai Baht. (Dec 2014). The overnight journey takes 10.5 hr. This has to be one of Thailand’s worst bus trips as roads en route are small, rural, and winding. Those on the top of double decker buses may get queasy from all the toing-and-froing. Also, as the mid-point is one of Thailand’s more remote areas, your bus may not make the customary 20 min. break mid-way, or any break at all. Chackrapong buses to Udon drop you at the remote Bus Station 2, a reason to avoid it if you can by taking Phetprasert.
    • Phetprasert has three buses a day from Chiang Mai to Udon (and onto Nakhon Phanom). They leave Chiang Mai at 14:30, 17:30, and 19:30, arriving in Udon at 02:15, 05:15 and 05:30 respectively. Fare (Apr 2015) is 636 Thai Baht. Phetprasert drops passengers at Central Plaza Shopping Mall, a very good location in the centre (Mar 2015). Buses to Chiang Mai depart the shopping mall at 17:45, 18:45, and 20:45. Buy Phetprasert tickets in the city centre bus station, a 5 minute walk from the shopping mall.}}
  • Udon-Khon KaenAir conditioned buses and minivans depart from Udon’s Bus Station 1 downtown. There are at least two departures per hour. Duration of the trip is roughly 90 min for the 125 km route. As the old “Non-air conditioned terminal” in downtown Khon Kaen is closed now, the bus will go straight to the Terminal 3 six kilometers south on the city outskirts. The bus will pass through the city center though, and will stop a few times to drop off the people, so it may be wise to watch the map and get off at the location nearest to your hotel, then take a tuk-tuk or Grab there. 80 Thai Baht.
  • Udon-Nong KhaiBuses from several companies depart at least once per hour after 08:00 to Nong Khai, 1 hour, non-air conditioned 3rd class) on the Lao border. Buses from Nong Khai may drop you off north of the city. Follow the locals and hop on the waiting #6 songthaew to the bus station or take a tuk-tuk. 50 Thai Baht (Oct 2013).
  • Udon-PattayaThe 407 Bus Company has daily 08:00, 18:30, and 20:55 buses to Pattaya. The morning bus takes about 12 hours as the bus makes many stops. Night buses take about 10 hr. Fare is 636 Thai Baht VIP (Nov 2015). The 407 Company has its office/bus stop near, but not in the city centre bus station. It’s on the corner of the main street out the front of the bus station near the 7-Eleven.
  • Udon-Points eastBuses depart around once per hour to Sakon Nakhon (100 Thai Baht, 3 hours, air conditioned, 160 km from Udon Thani, on the way to Nakhon Phanom and Mukdahan).
  • Udon-VientianeThere are six express buses a day direct to the Morning Market in Vientiane (80 Thai Baht, 2 hours, air-con 1st class departures at 08:00, 10:30, 11:30, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00). Some companies will not sell this trip if you cannot show a visa. These cross-border buses will sometimes carry passengers who have not obtained their Lao visas in advance, but may not wait long enough at the border for a visa on arrival to be applied for and issued. This isn’t a problem when the queues are short, but at busy times passengers who don’t already have their visas may be left behind and have to continue by local bus or tuk-tuk. There is a notorious scam of foreigners charged up to 100 Thai Baht for a 2 min ride, plus 25 Thai Baht for the bridge crossing, plus tuk-tuk or taxi to Vientiane.

By train

Daily trains go to Nong Khai (45 mins for just a bargain 11 Thai Baht) and over the Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River to Laos. Trains are also frequent to Nakhon Ratchasima and Bangkok. The overnight express sleeper to Bangkok is scheduled to take 9.25 hours, but usually takes longer. Nevertheless, it is still quite comfortable and pleasant, especially when taken in a sleeping berth or compartment. A daytime express train to Bangkok traverses a causeway over the large and scenic artificial lake created by the Pa Sak Jolasid Dam (in Lopburi Province). Connections to the major centres of southern Isaan (Buriram, Surin, Sisaket and Ubon Ratchathani) can be made in Nakhon Ratchasima for those who like to travel by rail.

In all, there are daily daytime trains, and three daily nighttime trains from Bangkok to Udon Thani and vice versa (most of which normally originate or terminate at Nong Khai), and several local trains to other destinations, including Nakhon Ratchasima.

  • Train StationThe Udon Thani train station is convenient, near the main tourist area and Central Plaza shopping complex.

Getting around in Udon Thani

Navigation around Udon Thani is made easier by three large roundabouts on the central road, Hwy 2: the clock circle, the fountain circle and Prince Prajak Circle. It’s also possible to orient yourself with Central Plaza or Nong Prajak Park. There is a bypass road that goes around the city.

Udon Thani Wallpaper

Udon Thani Wallpaper

By taxi

The main bus station, near Central Plaza has a taxi stand. Grab ride-hailing service works in Udon as well, though prices start from 60 Thai Baht even for a shortest ride, and increase pretty quickly afterwards.

By bicycle taxi

Udon Thani has many samlors (three-wheeled bicycle taxis), although as elsewhere, they are slowly succumbing to the pressures of the internal combustion engine.

By tuk-tuk

Tuk-tuks, three-wheeled motorcycles, are readily available in most commercial areas. Negotiate a price for your journey before you get in. Note that in Udon Thani the locally made vehicles (called Skylabs) differ from those in most of Thailand outside Isaan in that their fronts are adapted motorcycles. If you travel to Laos, you will also see such vehicles (called “jumbos”) there. Tuk-tuks prowl the streets on the lookout for tourists. Apart from long journeys the price should be around 30-50 Thai Baht. If you get into the bus station early in the morning and need a guest house they may pretend they can’t speak English, drive you around in a small circle “looking” for guesthouses before dropping you around the corner from the station; however, some may not speak English and are just trying to be helpful. They will then ask for 100 Thai Baht for a 30 Thai Baht journey. There is plenty of accommodation within walking distance of the station.

Udon Thani Wallpaper

Udon Thani Wallpaper

By songthaew

Udon Thani has a bus-like network of numbered pick up trucks with 2 benches in the back songthaews; cost is 8 or 10 Thai Baht per trip (10 Thai Baht outside the ring road).

By bicycle

  • Bicycle RentalBicycles are available for rent at the northeast corner of Nong Prajak Park. 20 Thai Baht/hour.

Bicycles can also be rented by the day from Asia Backpackers and SPM House.

By motorbike or car

Motorbike rentals are readily available at many locations in Udon Thani such as Soi samphanthamit. There are also many shops that accept online bookings such as Udon Rent A Bike and www.motorbikerentaludonthani.com.

If you wish to travel with a little more comfort, it is recommended to rent a car, the most well established local car rental in Udon Thani is UD Car Rent. You will also find most manjor International car hire companies at Udon Thani Airport.

Sightseeing Tips to Udon Thani

Excavations at Ban Chiang
  • Ban Chiang (About 35 km E of Udon). An archaeological dig that is a UNESCO World Heritage List. Both buses and inter-village songthaews will drop you off at the Ban Chiang turn-off.
  • Ban Nakha (15 km N of Udon on Rte 2). A village famous for selling hand woven silk and cotton garments. It is somewhat commercialised but a walk back from the road into the village can net some silk and cotton bargains.
  • Nong BuaA park with a lake just to the east of the railway line. It is noted for its Chinese pagodas over the lake and the dragon pole.
  • Phu Foi Lom Eco-Park (40 km SW of Udon). Numerous trails and rainy season waterfalls. South of Udon is a large wetlands area/lake called Khumpahawapi. In Oct, traditional dragon boat races are held on the lake. Within Khumpahawapi is a city park with a large troop of monkeys that have been living there for over a hundred years.
  • Phu Phrabat National Park (60 km NW of Udon near the Ban Phue). A marvelous ridge line with numerous sandstone edifices several thousand years old. Bronze age cave paintings are also within the park.
  • Red Lotus Lake (Talay Bua Daeng, ทะเลบัวแดง), Tambon Chiang Haeo, Kumphawapi District, . Take a boat ride through a lake full of red flowers (they are actually red hardy water lilies) at the lake of Nong Han (หนองหาน). The bloom starts in October, but is best viewed from December to February during the morning. Bird watchers may also spot herons and other fowl. Boats and drivers are available for rent by the hour at the side of the lake, 300-500 Thai Baht. A suggested over night stay is the Ma Der Bua Hotel next to the lake. They also have a restaurant and provide a toilet for five Thai Baht.
  • Udon Sunshine Orchid FarmFamous for a variety of orchids, orchid-derived perfumes and plants that “dance to music”.Due to poor public transportation in Udon Thani, the only mean of transportation for tourist to get to these tourist attractions is by Car rentals or Taxi service.
Udon Thani Wallpaper

Udon Thani Wallpaper

What to do in Udon Thani

  • Daytrip to Nong KhaiCatch a 45 minute train at either 08:34 or 11:42 to Nong Khai for 11 Thai Baht. Either catch train back at 13:03 or catch a mini bus back for 50 Thai Baht. Every 30 min from bus station. If you wish do rent a car and travel a little more comfortable, there many car rentals agencies available in Udon Thani, such as UD Car Rent, Avis, Budget.
  • Major CinemaWatch a film at Major Cinema in Central Plaza. Some movies in Thai and some in English so choose the appropriate showing.
  • Nong Prajak Lake ParkDaily, 04:00-20:00A large recreational area within the city and the primary site for locals to exercise and chill out. Consisting of a large lake/reservoir with several small islands, it features pleasant grassy areas and activities such as nightly aerobics (to Thai pop music) and feeding bread crumbs to the fish. For the more active, it’s also popular for jogging or cycling (bike rentals available). Two paved pathways circle the lake: the inner one for cyclists, the outer one for those on foot. The circumference of the outer one is 3.3 km (2 mi). Most of the jogging path around the lake is ungated, but a portion is locked from 20:00-04:00.
  • Your Fitness Udon Thani322/19 Prachaksilpakom Road (Between Bangkok Hospital and 7-Eleven, behind the shops), . Monday to Friday, 08:00-24:00; Saturday to Sunday, 12:00-24:00New (Jan 2020) gym in Udon, one of only a few. Centrally located near Central Plaza and the railway station.
  • Visit a Thai League 2 Football match of Udon Thani FC at the Institute Of Physical Education Udon Thani Stadium.

Go shopping in Udon Thani

On the east-side ring road is the Bo Bei Clothing Market. Within the city itself are numerous 7-Elevens as well as many mini-marts with Western snacks and goods.

  • Big C (SE of the city centre on Nittayo Road; SW of the city centre on Rte 210). Daily, 09:00-24:00Two locations. Hypermart, groceries, housewares, clothing.
  • Central Plaza (Formerly Chareonsri), 277/1-3 Prajaksillapakom Road, . Monday to Friday, 09:30-21:00. Sa, Su, Hols, 09:00-21:00Udon Thani’s largest indoor shopping mall, featuring five floors of shopping, including Asia Books, a Robinson’s department store, Tops Supermarket, Sizzler steakhouse, KFC, Pizza Company, Swensen’s Ice Cream, Boots pharmacy, IT products, mobile phones, cineplex.
  • Landmark Plaza / TukComShopping complex with SFC Cinema.
  • Makro (E of the city centre). Daily, 06:00-22:00Cheap bulk purchases.
  • Night Market (W of the train station, five min walk from the central bus station.). 17:00-22:30Eat in and takeaway food.
  • Tesco Lotus (UD Town; another on the ring road, N side). Supermarket with lower prices than Tops Supermarket at Central Plaza. Several locations. The most central one is in UD Town (hours: 07:00-24:00). The one on the north ring road is a Tesco-Lotus Extra (hours:08:00-23:00).
  • Tops market CentralPlaza277/3 Prachuksilpakom Road, . Western and Thai foodstuffs; salad bar; deli; bakery. Monday to Friday 11:00-21:00; Saturday to Sunday 10:00- 21:00.
  • UD Town (Adjacent to the train station). Mall with a food court, Tesco Lotus store, three different Oishi restaurants, McDonald’s, Swensen’s Ice Cream, Pizza Company, WaWee Coffee and numerous retail businesses.

Eating Tips for Udon Thani

Street vendors abound throughout the city. Satay, noodle soup (beef, pork, chicken and duck are common), pad Thai, som tam, grilled chicken, meat on a stick, various sweets and rice dishes are available at nearly all times. Udon Thani has a large range of buffet restaurants including Korean-style cook it yourself BBQ in a raised dish over a charcoal burner in the centre of your table.

  • Bongkotch Restaurant (ร้านอาหารบงกช) (At the top of Soi Suphanthanit). Popular Thai restaurant with good food and low prices. 40+ Thai Baht.
  • Fuzzy Ken’s298/15 Sayoutis Road (Opposite 7-Eleven on Sayoutis Road; 1 min walk from central bus station 1 or Central Plaza; 10 min from railway station), . M-Sa, 08:00-late. Closed SuA wonderful hybrid: a restaurant serving Thai and Western food, a used bookshop, and a shop selling hard-to-find Western foodstuffs (Bovril, Marmite, Heinz beans, Vegemite, meat pies). A Brit, Ken is a terrific source of local info. Serves beer and wine. Good website. Free Wi-Fi. Huge breakfast, 145 Thai Baht (Aug 2017).
  • The Good Corner Restaurant and BarNutty Park, Prachak Road (Just around the corner from the “bar street”; across from UD Residence), . Daily, 08:00-23:00; kitchen closes 22:00Owned by a Danish lady, serves breakfast, pizza and Thai food. Great quality and decent prices.
  • Maeyaa (ร้านอาหารแม่หยา), 79-81 Rachapasadu Road (ถ.ราชพัสดุ) (Just S of Phosi Road and W of Amphoe Road, about 3 km from city centre). Terrific family restaurant, an Udon institution. Three floors, crowded with Thais at mealtimes. Extensive photo menu and have an English menu available. Thai and Western food, but best to stick with the Thai. Also known for their extensive ice cream selection including banana splits. Air conditioned.
  • Diary Restaurant (Diary), 128/17 Ban Lao Road., Soi 6 Udon Dutsadi, Udon Thani 41000 (Opposite Gomen City Estates), . 10:00-21:00 Tuesday to SundayInternational and Thai food, great quality & affordable prices. Serving Isaan food, Vegetarian food, Thai curries, Western breakfasts, Mexican & Italian food. Online ordering & delivery available.

Nightlife in Udon Thani

Udon Thani has a variety of karaoke bars, beer bars and Western bars. “Farang bars” tend to be concentrated in the area between Central Plaza and the railway station. Bars close sharply at midnight as the police are strict. Police set up roadblocks at the hour to look for drunk drivers. If you are driving a motorbike and over the limit it will cost you a night in a very uncomfortable Thai jail, most of the next day, and 3,000 Thai Baht. It was also reported that a drunk farang got court drunk and the fine was 10,000 Baht and they gladly drove him down to the nearest ATM

  • Day and Night Bar Complex (Next to the Pannerai Hotel). Noon till midnightAbout seventeen beer bars in this open air, but covered, bar complex.
  • Nutty ParkL-shaped alley containing a dozen or more small bars popular with tourists and expats. Nutty Park contains what may be the best farang-oriented bar in Udon, the Good Shot Bar. It’s clean and well lit, with nice hostesses and two pool tables. Serves Thai and Western food from two nearby restaurants.
  • Tawan Daeng next to 7/11 at Soin Sampan is a Thai Calabrao style Isaan night club with live music and plenty of drinks.
  • Fun Bar –Best farang-oriented beer bar on Soi Sampan, operated by Bill and his Thai wife.

Where to stay in Udon Thani

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget less than 500 Thai Baht
Mid-range 500-1,500 Thai Baht
Splurge over 1,500 Thai Baht

Hotels Udon Thani City: Popularity

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

The Pannarai Hotel

★★★★

-13%

4842

View Isaan Hotel Deals

Charoen Hotel

★★★

-9%

3229

View Isaan Hotel Deals

There are many hotels in town. Prices vary, and as with most things, you get what you pay for. Rates range from 200 to 2,000 Thai Baht or more per night. Apartment rentals from 1,800 Thai Baht/month. Private pool villas can be rented for catered stays of two nights or more.

Cope in Udon Than

Co-working space in Udon Thani

  • Smarthub322/19 Prachaksilpakom Road (Near Central Plaza and the train station, between Bangkok Hospital and 7-Eleven, behind the shops), . Daily, 09:00-21:00Work spaces, meeting rooms with audio-visual equipment, Internet, copier, fax, office support staff. Coordinates are approximate. 60 Thai Baht for 1 hour, 180 Thai Baht per day.

Dental Clinics in Udon Thani

  • Wattra Dental ClinicSai Uthit Road (Purple storefront across from 7-Eleven at Bus Station 1 downtown, 100 m from CentralPlaza), . M-Sa, 09:00-19:30; Su, 09:00-17:00Competent, English-speaking dentist(s) who work with up-to-date technologies. 800 Thai Baht to re-cement molar crown.

Where to go next after Udon Thani

  • Ban Dung City, Udon Thani Province
  • Nong Khai is a very pleasant riverside town near the border with Laos. The Friendship Bridge is located here and this is the main overland border crossing into Laos on the way to Vientiane. Many travellers pass through Nong Khai on their way in and out of Laos without realising that this a worthy travel destination in its own right.
  • Khon Kaen another similar city on the train line heading south. Buses leave frequently and take 1,5 hours, trains take longer.
  • Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is about one and a half hours away across the Mekong. Express air conditioned buses leave the Udon Central bus station six times daily for Vientiane. Bus fare one way is 80 Thai Baht. A visa on arrival for Laos at the Friendship Bridge costs about USD35 for 30 days (two passport photos are required or there is an additional USD1 charge).
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Northeast Thailand

Loei Expat Travel Guide

Loei (เลย) is a city in the Isaan region of Thailand. Contents 1 Understand 2 Get in 2.1 By car 2.2 By bus 2.2.1 From Bangkok 2.3 From Phitsanulok 2.3.1 Within Isaan 2.4 By train 2.5 By plane 3 Get around 4 See 5 Do 5.1 Festivals 6 Buy 7 Eat 8 Drink 9 Where […]

Wolfgang Holzem

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Loei (เลย) is a city in the Isaan region of Thailand.

Understand

Loei is a city surrounded by undulating mountain ranges whose fog-shrouded summits are abundant with flora. The well-known mountains are Phu Kradung, Phu Luang, and Phu Ruea. Its temperature is comfortably cool, with beautiful geographical surroundings, as well as unique cultures and traditions. In the cool season it can get decidedly chilly, one of the few parts of Thailand that ever gets down to 0 degrees Celsius.

Loei is 520 km from Bangkok, covering an area of 11,424 square kilometres. The city’s population is roughly 23,000. It is a boundary (with Laos) province in the upper northeastern part of Thailand, on the bank of the Mekong River along the Phetchabun mountain range.

In the past, it was a small community in a prosperous empire during the same period as the Thai Kingdom of Ayutthaya. Later, the Lan Chang Empire became weaker, therefore, the community moved to be with Ayutthaya. During the reign of King Rama V of the Rattanakosin period, the community was upgraded to become Loei Province.

Stay with our Hotel Partners in Loei City

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

Get in

By car

From Bangkok, take Hwy 1 or Phahonyothin Road, passing Saraburi. Turn onto Hwy 21, passing Phetchabun. Then, take Hwy 203, passing Lom Sak, Lom Kao into Loei Province at Dan Sai, Phu Ruea to Loei. It takes approximately 7-8 hours. Alternately, from Saraburi, take Hwy 2, passing Nakhon Ratchasima to Khon Kaen, for a distance of 536 km and turn left onto Hwy 12, passing Chum Phae and take Hwy 201 to Loei Province through Phu Kradueng, and Wang Saphung, a distance of 540 km.

By bus

From Bangkok

The Transport Co., Ltd. provides daily buses between Bangkok–Loei, both normal and air conditioned. The trip takes approximately 10 hours. For further information, contact the Bangkok Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2), Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Tel. +66 2 9362841-8, +66 2 9362852-66. There are private bus companies such as Air Mueang Loei Co., Ltd.’s Bangkok office at Tel. +66 2 9360142 or Loei Office at Tel. +66 42 832042; Chumpae Tour Ltd., Bangkok office at Tel. +66 2 9363842 or Loei office at Tel. +66 42 832285; Phet Prasoet Co., Ltd.’s Bangkok office at Tel. +66 2 9363230, Phu Ruea office at Tel. +66 42 899386, Dan Sai office at Tel. +66 42 891908.

From Phitsanulok

Many buses are available from Phitsanulok, which is a particularly convenient starting point for exploring the area west of Loei (Dan Sai, etc.).

There are two bus terminals in Phitsanulok. No.1 which is very accessible by foot and no.2 which is like 5 km away from the city on the highway 12 on Indochina junctions. 50 Thai Baht to get there on a songtheaw. Both terminals have the exact same time for the busses going to loei. So just stick to terminal no.1. Time schedule for busses to loei are 9:30 and 12:00. Arrive earlier so you can catch the early bus, otherwise it’s all booked pretty fast.

Price as of 2017, goes for 207 Thai Baht.

Within Isaan

There are regular buses to Loei from Khon Kaen (buses every 30 min) and Udon Thani (100 Thai Baht). Buses depart from bus station 2, somewhat inconveniently outside the main town.

By train

There is no railway station in Loei. However, visitors can take a train from Bangkok Railway Station (Hualamphong) to Udon Thani or Phitsanulok, and take a bus to Loei.

By plane

There are 2-3 flights weekly from Bangkok on Nok Air, one of Thailand’s domestic discount airlines to Loei Airport (LOE). Service has changed from time to time. If it is not available, the next-nearest airport with commercial flights is Udon Thani with flights to/from Bangkok , Chiang Mai, and Phuket using Thai Airways, Nok Air, and Air Asia (Thailand). As noted above, there are frequent buses from Udon Thani to Loei.

Cheap Flights to Loei

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Get around

Songthaews can be used to reach the town from the bus station (10 Thai Baht). Tuk-tuks are also available to and around town. Local buses and/or songthaews serve some of the noteworthy sights mentioned below.

See

Most interesting tourist attractions are sufficiently far away they require public transport or a motorbike to reach them.

  • Chaopho Kut Pong Shrine and the City Pillar Shrine (ศาลเจ้าพ่อกุดป่องและศาลหลักเมือง)The city pillar was made of the golden shower wood elaborately carved into a lotus shape at its top and gilded with gold leaf on black lacquer. Its height is 139 centimetres (55 in).
  • Chaloem Phra Kiat Public Park, Pa Loeng Yai (สวนสาธารณะเฉลิมพระเกียรติฯ ป่าเลิงใหญ่) A public park on the Loei River. There is a decorative garden with flowers and decorative plants.
  • Office of the Loei Tourism Coordination Centre (อาคารที่ทำการศูนย์ประสานงานการท่องเที่ยวจังหวัดเลย) Previously the city hall and Mueang Loei District office. The Loei Provincial Council of Culture collected the king’s chair at this place. The Fine Arts Department has registered it as a national monument for preservation.
  • Wat Tham Pha Pu or Phiang Din cave (วัดถ้ำผาปู่ หรือ ถ้ำเพียงดิน), Houses the remains of Luangpu Khamdi Paphaso, who discovered this place. The temple is a grand cave within a stone mountain. There are Buddha images enshrined in the cave, as well as stalagmites and stalactites.
  • Phu Pha Lom Forest Park (วนอุทยานภูผาล้อม) Steep limestone mountains with various pointed summits similar to a wall surrounding the virgin forest in the middle. There are various kinds of plants, herbs, sightseeing points, and caves as well as, Bo Nam Sap or Nam Phut, which is a sacred seepage pond.
  • Si Khun Mueang temple (วัดศรีคุณเมือง) This temple is a collection venue of Lanna and Lan Chang arts. The ubosot’s roof is in many layers reflecting Lanna-style. There are also many objects of art such as a carved Buddha image gilded with gold leaf on black lacquer in the forgiving posture of the Lan Chang style.
  • Phu Khwai Ngoen Buddha’s footprint (พระพุทธบาทภูควายเงิน) The Buddha’s footprint is 120 centimetres long and 65 centimetres wide, enshrined on a whetstone and was registered as a national ancient monument in 1935.
  • Phu Khok Ngio Buddha statue (พระใหญ่ภูคกงิ้ว) A walking Buddha image in the blessing posture, cast of fibre and golden resin combined. It was cast by the Second Army Area Command and the people as a form of merit making for the king and queen.
  • Thai Dam Cultural Village (หมู่บ้านวัฒนธรรมไทยดำ) Thai Dam people migrated from Chiang Khwang Town, Laos in 1905 to settle at Ban Na Pa Nat. At present, the Thai Dam culture is still preserved.
  • Crown Princess’s Sirindhorn Art Centre (ศูนย์ศิลป์สิรินธร) A venue displaying paintings of students who have gained popularity at both national and international levels. Moreover, it is a source of knowledge on arts and culture, including both permanent and rotating exhibition halls, and an arts training building.
  • Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary (เขตรักษาพันธุ์สัตว์ป่าภูหลวง) Phu Luang means ‘large mountain’ or the ‘mountain of the king’. On the east of Phu Luang, dinosaur footprints on the rock, aged more than 120 million years, were discovered. The most distinguished ones on Phu Luang are Pinus merkusii and Kesiya pine forests, savanna on plains, mounds, and stone terraces.
  • Pha Ya cave (ถ้ำผายา) is inside Wat Tham Pha Ya at Ban Mai Santi Tham, Tambon Na Dok Kham. Inside the cave is a flock of millions of insect-eating bats.
  • Suan Hin Pha Ngam or Thailand’s Kunming (สวนหินผางาม หรือ คุนหมิงเมืองไทย) A limestone garden aged around 230-280 million years, occurring from the aggregation of beach deposits. Then, an uplift of the earth’s crust, together with millions of years of natural rot have made this mountain strangely beautiful, similar to the stone garden in Kunming, Yunnan, China.
  • Mahoran Cave (ถ้ำมโหฬาร) A large cave whose entrance enshrines a Buddha image in subduing Mara posture. The area within the cave is quite large consisting of stalactites and stalagmites, as well as, caves in smaller sizes. A Buddha’s footprint was also found on the wall of the cave.
  • Phothisat Cave (ถ้ำโพธิสัตว์) or Thailand’s Guilin is within the compound of Wat Tham Phothisat. It is a complex cave.
  • Piang Din Waterfall (น้ำตกเพียงดิน) is 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) beyond Suan Hin Pha Ngam. The waterfall is at the end of the asphalt road.
  • Phrathat Si Song Rak (พระธาตุศรีสองรัก) Its architecture is in the Lan Chang style. Phrathat, a stupa containing the Buddha’s relics, is 19.19 metres high and 10.89 metres wide with a square base of 12 redented corners. Moreover, within the compound of the temple is enshrined a Buddha image canopied by a seven-headed Naga in the Tibetan-style.
  • Neramit Wipatsana temple (วัดเนรมิตวิปัสสนา) Both the ubosot and chedi are constructed of laterite. A replica of Phra Phutthachinnarat is enshrined as the main image.
  • Phi Ta Khon Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์บ้านผีตาโขน) An educational attraction for those interested in the Bun Luang and Phi Ta Khon Festivals. There is an ubosot reflecting the skills of local craftsmen as well as a replica of Phrathat Si Song Rak.
  • Pho Chai Na Phueng temple (วัดโพธิ์ชัยนาพึง) Enshrined within the abbot’s cell is the Prachao Ong Saen Buddha image, an ancient image of the town for many generations. On the outside of the ubosot are paintings which were created in 1916.
  • The Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge (สะพานมิตรภาพน้ำเหืองไทย-ลาว) A bridge crossing the Hueang River connecting Thailand and Laos.
  • Cotton Blossom Festival. Every year, in early-February.
  • Phitakon (ผีตาโขน, Phi Ta Kon, Phi Ta Khon) (Dan Sai is about 2 hours W of Loei. It can be reached by bus). The best worst-publicised festival in Thailand. Every year in Dan Sai (ด่านซ้าย) the Phi Ta Kon festival is held. Revellers make traditional masks, which they wear in a parade down the main street of Dan Sai. Traditionally, the masks were made to frighten evil spirits away, the wearer dons the mask and drags bells behind them with the intention of clearing the surrounding area of evil spirits (generally while drinking large amounts of home brewed spirits of a different kind). Afterward, the parade begins and thousands of people head through the streets for what becomes a chaotic fertility festival, many participants in the parade carry phallic water guns and comically over-sized wooden penises with them.
  • Phu Kradueng National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติภูกระดึง), Moo 1, Ban Si Than, Si Than Sub-district, Phu Kradung District (Hwy 2019 leads to the park) , ✉ phukradueng_np@dnp.go.th. A sandstone mountain park with a wide plain summit, whose shape is similar to a leaf of the elephant ear or a heart. Sites in the park: Nok Aen cliff: A small stone terrace with pine trees standing at the cliff’s edge. It is a beautiful sunrise spot overlooking the scenery of the grass field and mountain range; Lom Sak cliff: A wide stone terrace with a large pine tree near an overhanging cliff. It is a place where the sunset can be the most clearly viewed; Tat Hong waterfall: When falling from the cliff to the basin, it creates a loud and resonant sound of water. Therefore, it is called “Namtok Tat Hong”. (updated Jun 2016)
  • Phu Ruea National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติภูเรือ), Nong Bou Sub-district, Phu Rua District (The park is 48 km from Loei. Take Hwy 203 to Phu Ruea Sub-District then turn right and go about 4 km to park HQ) , ✉ phurua1@hotmail.com. Its special feature is an overhanging cliff in the shape of a junk’s prow. It is considered the coldest national park of the country. Interesting sites: Decho Viewpoint: sunrise view spot; Lon Noi cliff: From this spot, Phu Luang, Phu Pha Sat, Phu Khrang and a sea of complex mountain ranges can be seen; Sapthong or Kulap cliff: A steep cliff with seepage full of water throughout the year where there is plenty of golden yellow lichen; Huai Phai waterfall: This waterfall is drops from a steep cliff with an approximate height of 30 metres; Phu Ruea peak: The highest spot in the national park at 1,365 m. Within its compound is a stone terrace and grass field mixed with pine forest including Pinus merkusii which is naturally grown and Kesiya pine which is planted. (updated Jun 2016)
  • Phu Suan Sai National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติภูสวนทราย), Saeng Pha Sub-district, Na Haeo District (From Loei, take Hwy 2003, 2031, and 2113 to Na Haeo District and then about 4 km further to Ban Mueng Prea. Turn left on Hwy 1268 and turn right at its last junction at the km0 kilometre post. From km0 it is just a few meters to park HQ). Dry evergreen forests mixed with deciduous trees. Along the high area are hill evergreen forests which are also a natural boundary between Thailand and Laos. Interesting sites: Khing waterfall: The waterfall has many rock tiers. At this spot, the government has constructed a royal residence for Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn who visited on 12 February 1991; Chang Tok waterfall: 500 m higher than Namtok Khing which is also along the Phrae River. It is steeper than the lower one; Wang Tat waterfall: 1.5 kilometres above Namtok Chang Tok on the Phrae River; Tat Hueang or Thai-Lao waterfall is on the Hueang River, consisting of three tiers with a height of approximately 50 metres. There is water throughout the year; Pha Khao waterfall: On the Heuang River, the border between Thailand and Laos.; Four direction rock: On its south side are four rocks rising up in the middle of the tropical evergreen forest. The locals go to pay respect at this place once every three years, thus it is called “Song Pi Ham, Sam Pi Khrop”; Kuai Lo rock: A sandstone whose shape is similar to a mushroom bud rising in the middle of the tropical evergreen forest; Hill 1408 Viewpoint: The highest viewpoint and centre of the national park; Hill 1255 Viewpoint: The scenery of Ban Huai Nam Phak below as well as Phu Soi Dao and Phu Wiang in Laos. (updated Jun 2016)

Do

  • Climb Phu Kradung (camp at the top if you wish).
  • Phu Rua National Park.
  • Visit the rock formations at Phu Luang.
  • Take in the views of the Mekong at Chiang Khan, Pak Chom, or Tha Li.
  • Mountain Hike, 24/16 Charoenrat Road. Kutpong district. Loei City. Postcode 42000. Thailand. (Visit TAT Tourism Authority of Thailand (Loei Office) or Mountain Hike office on Charoenrat Road, behind Bangkok Bank building) , ✉ mountain.hike@outlook.com. Mountain hiking or cave tour, with standard or tailored packages, in Mt. Phuluang Wildlife Sanctuary, Phuruea National Park and Mt. Fuji San. (updated Feb 2019)

Festivals

Dok Fai Ban Makham Wan Mueang Loei Red Cross Fair (งานกาชาดดอกฝ้ายบาน มะขามหวานเมืองเลย) held in front of Loei City Hall 1–9 February every year. Parades from various districts, as well as cultural performances are highlights of the fair.

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Northeast Thailand

Khon Kaen Expat Travel Guide

From Isaan.Live Jump to: navigation, search Khon Kaen (ขอนแก่น) is a city and province in Isaan, Thailand. Understand While various artefacts have been found in the region that hint at its dinosaur era and early human inhabitants, what we know today as Khon Kaen came into being when the ancient Khmer empire expanded into the […]

Wolfgang Holzem

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Khon Kaen (ขอนแก่น) is a city and province in Isaan, Thailand.

Understand

While various artefacts have been found in the region that hint at its dinosaur era and early human inhabitants, what we know today as Khon Kaen came into being when the ancient Khmer empire expanded into the area in the 12th century. The current town was established a little over two centuries ago during the reign of King Rama I.

In addition to being a university town, Khon Kaen is a historic centre of silk production. In Chonnabot, Mudmee silk is delicately woven by hand and then tie-dyed.

Stay with our Hotel Partners in Khon Kaen

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Fly to Khon Kaen

Thai AirAsia flies from Bangkok (DMK) to Khon Kaen (KKC) several times a day; there are also flights from/to Chiang Mai, Pattaya (UTP) and Phuket. Nok Air and Thai Lion Air each has a couple of flights a day to Bangkok (DMK) as well. Thai Smile Airways flies from Bangkok (BKK) five times a day, and can be booked in one ticket with an international Thai Airways flight.

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Travel by train to Khon Kaen

Khon Kaen is on the branch of the Northeastern Line that runs to Nong Khai and Laos. The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) runs one reasonably timed overnight train, Train 133, which leaves Bangkok at 20:45 and is scheduled to arrive at 06:11 in Khon Kaen.

As of 2018 the main railway station is being rebuilt and trains stop instead at a temporary station along the same line 3 km to the south. A 30-minute walk to the center, or else taxis are available.

By bus

Until 1 December 2017 Khon Kaen had three bus terminals. The newest, Terminal 3, is eight kilometres out of town and, for that reason, inconvenient. The city fathers want to get buses out of the city’s core. The taxi cartel support that initiative for obvious reasons: the cost of a tuk-tuk or taxi to downtown may well cost more than your bus ticket to Khon Kaen.

  • Khon Kaen Provincial Transport Station (Baw Kaw Saw 3), Muang KK By-pass Road (On the ring road 8 km S of city centre. Any tuk-tuk can take you there). 24/7. Since 1 December 2017, the long-distance KK bus terminal. Also has minivans to nearer destinations. Opened in 2014. (updated Nov 2015)
  • Air conditioned bus terminal, Ammat Road (Central KK. Nearest cross-street is Klang Mueang Road.). Minivan station to places such as Udon. (updated Nov 2015)
  • Central Khon Kaen Bus Station (Baw Kaw Saw 1), 46/16 Prachasamoson Road (Central KK). Closed on 1 December 2017. (updated Nov 2015)

Buses to/from Bangkok’s Northern (Mo Chit) Bus Terminal depart every 15 minutes from early until late.

For quicker service, avoid the touts at Mo Chit, and ask for Chan Tour. This company provides only VIP buses, which have very large seats and a bathroom. Alternatively, Nakhonchai Air has nice VIP buses which are cleaner (meals, drink, in-coach toilet) than Chan, but with small seats. Both will cost 420 Thai Baht, highly recommended. Both have terminals separate from Mo Chit, about 1 km away, where you can wait for your bus in an air-conditioned waiting room.

From Chiang Mai Arcade Terminal 3, Phetprasert and Sombat Tour have buses throughout the day from 08:00. Evening buses run at 19:00 and 20:00 from Platform 6. The price is approximately 641 Thai Baht one-way and duration of journey is 10 hr. The only problem is at the Khon Kaen end: you are dropped off at Terminal 3, far from the city center, near the intersection of Highway 2 and the ring road south of Khon Kaen. This terminal is new (May 2020) and lacking in amenities (coffee shop, hotel, etc.), but there is a new (Feb 2016) 7-11 about 100 meters to the south of the Nakhonchai Air terminal. NCA has a free shuttle service for its customers between its downtown and ring road terminal. A yellow songthaew service will take you downtown to the rail station and the in-town bus station (non-air-conditioned bus station) for 10 Thai Baht (May 2020).

From/to Udon Thani, several air conditioned buses depart hourly from Udon’s Bus Station 1 downtown. Fare is 80 Thai Baht (May 2020) and the duration is approximately 90 min. Minivans depart from the same station to Khon Kaen continuing on to Roi Et. They are slightly faster than the bus, but probably not as comfortable. As the downtown terminal is now closed, the buses now arrive to Terminal 3 on the southern outskirts of the city, but before they will pass the city center, stopping a few times to drop off the passengers – for the main tourist area, the best location to get off will be after an underpass near CentralPlaza, and tuk-tuks seem to wait for the buses there (alternatively, or if they ask for too much, use the Grab app).

There are two bus terminals in town. The “big” terminal, where most buses arrive and leave and the “small” terminal, which is somewhat more exclusive and appears to provide the “direct to BKK” type of buses. It really is quite small compared to the other. They are about 1 km distant from each other within the centre of town, unlike most Thai cities where the bus terminals are on the outskirts. Both terminals have air-con buses, but the big one also has non-air-con to the local provinces.

  • Bangkok Nakhon Chai Air Bus (6 hours), 420 Thai Baht, departs hourly from the air-con Bus Terminal (Prab-Argat). Highly recommended, though their staff speaks Thai only.
  • Vientiane (Lao PDR) Thai-Lao International Bus – 180 Thai Baht, departs 07:45 (usually delayed till 08:00) and 15:15 daily from the Aircon Bus Terminal (Prab-Argat). Passport (with current Laos visa) must be produced when purchasing ticket. If you do not have a Laos visa you cannot buy a ticket, as the bus will NOT wait for passengers processing their visas on arrival (citizens of few countries outside Southeast Asia who can enter Laos visa-free, notably Russians, may have to insist on that fact and/or to show some solid proof they will not need a IsaanLive, like existing Lao visa-free entry stamps). Tickets can only be purchased on the day of travel. Visas are available at the Lao PDR consulate in town. Thai and limited English are spoken by consular staff. Hours are Monday-Friday, 08:00-12:00 and 13:00-16:00. Prices are said to be same as in Bangkok. Visas for American, Australian, British, several EU and New Zealand citizens cost 1,400 Thai Baht/US$40, Canadians pay 1,700 Thai Baht/US$50, while Chinese pay 600 Thai Baht/US$17. Officially, visas can be picked up the next day, or pay an additional 200 Thai Baht to have the visa issued within 1 hour. Officially, only Thai Baht is accepted although if you don’t have Thai Baht, they may take US dollars. A 30-31 Thai Baht to the US dollar rate has been reported, making it more expensive than getting a visa on arrival and paying in US dollars.
  • Bus connections to Ubon, Udon, Nong Khai (Class 2: 110 Thai Baht), Maha Sarakham, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Roi Et, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Lamphun, Phrae, Phetchabun, Phitsanulok, Mukdahan (Savannakhet Lao PDR), Amnat Charoen, Nong Bua Lamphu, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (22:00 daily, 335 Thai Baht) and Northern Thailand are also available.

By car

It’s easy to get to Khon Kaen by car from Bangkok. Just follow the four lane Hwy 2. Hwy 2 also heads north to Udon Thani, Nong Khai, and Laos.

Get around

Khon Kaen’s centre is characterised by a strict grid system of wide streets and long blocks. It appears to have been designed for road traffic in mind, pedestrians be damned. Thus getting around on foot is fairly unpleasant.

Numbered songthaews charge 9 Thai Baht/person/trip (pay when you get out). Just wave your hand and the songthaew will stop to let you get on; ring the bell and it will stop again to let you get off. There are at least 10 routes serving Khon Kaen. Signage in Thai only.

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Thai Covid-19
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