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Ubon Ratchathani | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak

Ubon Ratchathani (อุบลราชธานี) is a city in Isaan, Thailand, in a province of the same name. Often referred to as simply Ubon (อุบล), not to be confused with “Udon Thani” to the north. Ubon lies 582 km from Bangkok and has Thailand’s 13th largest city population. Contents 1 Understand 2 Get in 2.1 By plane […]

Wolfgang Holzem

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Ubon Ratchathani (อุบลราชธานี) is a city in Isaan, Thailand, in a province of the same name. Often referred to as simply Ubon (อุบล), not to be confused with “Udon Thani” to the north. Ubon lies 582 km from Bangkok and has Thailand’s 13th largest city population.

Understand

Ubon was founded on the northern bank of the Mun River by a group of Lao princes fleeing Vientiane in the late 1700s. They applied for King Taksin’s protection, duly granted in 1779 along with the city’s new name, meaning “Royal City of the Lotus”. Modern-day Ubon was a U.S. air base during the Vietnam War and grew rapidly at the time, but little has happened since then. The town of Warin Chamrap, on the south bank of the river, is effectively a suburb of Ubon these days.

The sleepy Ubon office of the Tourist Authority of Thailand (264/1 Khuan Thani Road) is worth a visit to pick up useful English maps of the town and nearby provinces. Basic English spoken. Open daily 08:30-16:30.

Visit our Hotel Partners in Ubon

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

Get in

By plane

  • Ubon Ratchathani International Airport. serves only flights to Bangkok most of the year. Thai Airways has two daily non-stop flights between Bangkok (BKK) and Ubon and return. Nok Air has three daily non-stop flights between Bangkok Don Mueang Airport (DMK) and Ubon and return. Air Asia has two daily non-stop flights between Bangkok (DMK) and Ubon and return year-round. Air Asia operates 3 weekly flights between Phuket and Ubon from Oct-Mar and between Chiang Mai and Ubon from Nov- Mar. Flight time is 50 minutes in an Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 aircraft.

The airport is at the northern edge of the city almost within walking distance, but accommodation is scattered around Ubon, so better not to consider walking. Much better to go to one of the two limousine (taxi) counters in the airport arrivals hall and purchase for only 100 Thai Baht a taxi coupon that will take you to almost any point in the city. Limousine (taxi) rates in Ubon are extremely cheap by Western standards and lower than those in Bangkok. Set prices have been established to most destinations in and around Ubon. A taxi from Ubon to Chong Mek costs 1,000 Thai Baht for the 90 km one way trip and a taxi from Ubon to Mukdahan costs 2,000-2,500 Thai Baht (depending on the vehicle type) to travel a one-way distance of 192 km. The driver does not charge for the return trip as in some Western countries. There are no taxi meters and the fare must normally be purchased from one of the two taxi counters at the airport arrivals desk.

If you prefer not to take a fixed price taxi, you can always walk the 200 m beyond the general airport parking area to haggle with the waiting tuk-tuk drivers, but chances are that your trip will end up costing you more.

Cheap Flights to Ubon Ratchathani

Origin Departure at Return at Find tickets
Bangkok 08.08.2021 09.08.2021 Tickets from 756
Chiang Mai 25.06.2021 27.06.2021 Tickets from 2 264
Chiang Rai 25.06.2021 28.06.2021 Tickets from 2 307
Phuket 25.06.2021 27.06.2021 Tickets from 3 186
Nakhon Si Thammarat 16.06.2021 17.06.2021 Tickets from 3 950
Utapao 12.08.2021 15.08.2021 Tickets from 7 195
Jakarta 01.07.2021 04.07.2021 Tickets from 12 419
Dusseldorf 01.07.2021 04.07.2021 Tickets from 31 798

By bus

Buses to Bangkok take 10 hours (due to stops) and arrive near Mo Chit BTS station. The Nakhonchai Air private bus company also has frequent, well-maintained buses that travel the route and also leave from the Ubon bus terminal, but arrive at their own private terminal in Bangkok, near the main Mo Chit terminal.

Ubon is less than 100 km from the Lao border at Chong Mek / Pakse. A regular bus service now operates direct from Ubon bus station (near the “Big C” shopping complex) to Pakse in Laos, and caters for travellers who wish to obtain a Lao visa on arrival (it waits for all passengers to complete immigration and visa formalities before continuing to Pakse). The fare is 200 Thai Baht.

By train

Daily trains connect with Bangkok and stop at all the southern Isaan provincial capitals (Sisaket, Surin, Buriram, and Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat)). The station is to the south of the city on the opposite side of the Mun River in Warin Chamrap. Buses 2 and 6 connect to the centre.

There are daily train services from Bangkok to Ubon Ratchathani in Thailand. Train 67 leaves Bangkok at 20:30 and arrives in Ubon Ratchathani at 07:25 next morning. Train 68 leaves Ubon Ratchathani at 18:30 and arrives in Ubon Ratchathani at 05:50 next morning, Rail services are operated by State Railway of Thailand (SRT). Both trains have first and second class sleeping and dining cars. First class sleeping cars are new, fully air-conditioned and consist exclusively of 2-berth-compartments.

Additional trains leave Bangkok at 06:40, 19:55, 22:25 and 23:40, arriving at Ubon Ratchathani at 18:20, 06:15, 10:20 and 11:50 respectively, Return trains leave Ubon Ratchathani at 07:00, 14:50, 03:05 and 19:30, arriving in Bangkok at 18:40, 23:15, 03:15 and 07:30 respectively. In these trains two classes (‘2’ and ‘3’) are provided. ‘2’ class is comfortable and modern, ‘3’ class is extremely economical, but still acceptable.

In the other direction, one option is to catch the overnight night express train from Ubon (Warin Chamrap station) to Bangkok. Train departs at 18:30 and arrives Bangkok at 05:30. Travel first class in a two berth private sleeper compartment with fresh starched sheets and pillows for a little over 2,000 Thai Baht per couple. Travel is also available in 2nd class sleeper seats and 3rd class seats at a lower cost.

Get around

A bus/songthaew network with 13 fixed routes operates around the city. Most routes are numbered and colour-coded. Pick up a map at the Ubon TAT office.

Songthaew routes

Songthaew Route Common Destinations
ม(Mor) Main bus terminal via Ring Road and Chaengsanit Road (psychiatric hospital), clocktower roundabout (Ratchaphat University, SK Mall), Thanon Phalochai, Thano Uparat (Thung Si Mueang), Warin market, to Ubon Ratchathani University.
1 Ban Nong Kae in Tambon Chaeramae, via Yasothon Road, then up Ring Road to main bus terminal, back down Ring Road, Thanon Chanegsanit, clocktower roundabout (Ratchaphat University, SK Mall), Thanon Sapphasit, Thung Si Mueang, Sapphasit hospital, Ubonrak Thonburi Hospital, Talat Yai (central market), Warin market, to Ubon Ratchathani University.
2 Rear of Si Pathum Phitthayakhan school, via Thanon Klang-awut, Thanon Chayangkun, main bus terminal, Thanon Chayangkun (Big C, Ratchawet Hospital, NE Polytechnic college, Tesco-Lotus), Thanon Ratchathani, clocktower roundabout (Ratchaphat University, SK Mall), Thanon Chaengsanit, Thanon Sapphasit, Thanon Phitchitrangsan, Main Post Office, Ubon city hall, Thung Si Mueang, Warin market, Ubon Ratchathani railway station
3 Ratchathani Technology Voctational college via Thanon Ubon 2, Thanon Chayangkun, main bus terminal, Thanon Chayangkun (Big C, Ratchawet Hospital, NE Polytechnic college, Tesco-Lotus, Robinsons), Thanon Sapphisit (Sapphasit Prasong Hospital), Thanon Luang, Main Post Office, Talat Yai (central market), Warin market, Kantharalak road, Big C, Ban Ko.
6 Benchama Maharacha School (Thanon Sapphasit) via Thung Si Mueang and Warin market to Khai Sapphasitthi Prasong Hospital.
7 Wat Pakittiyansophon in Ban Dong Saen Suk, via Ban Nikhom Phattana, Thanon Ubon-Trakan, Thanon Sapphisit (Sapphasit Prasong hospital), Thanon Suriyat, Thanon Chayangkun (Robinsons), Thanon Ratchathani, clocktower roundabout (Ratchaphat University, SK Mall), Thanon Chaengsanit, Thanon Sapphasit, Thanon Chayangkun, Thung Si Mueang, Ubon city hall, Thung si Mueang, Warin market, Thanon Sisaket, to the Tambon Kham Nam Saep municipal offices.
8 Circular route, running from 41 km marker on Ring Road, via Ring Road (main bus terminal, Big C), Thanon Chonlaprathan-Thabo, Thanon Nikhomsaiklang, provincial offices, Talat Yai (central market), main post office, Thanon Luang, Thanon Sapphasit (Sapphasit Prasong hospital), Thanon Ubon-Trakan, (on-demand deviation to Ban Na Mueang), Ring Road, Thanon Ubon Trakan, Highway 4009 (50 Pansa Mahavajiralongkorn Hospital) to Ratchapachanukhro 32 school.
9 Warin market via Thanon Sisaket in Tambon Kham Nam Saep to Ban Khu Duea in Tambon Chaeramae
10 Regional Cancer Centre via Thanon Khlang-awut, Thanon Sukhaphatthana, main bus terminal, Ring Road, Soi Chayangkun 21, Thanon Chayangkun (NE Polytechnic College, Tesco-Lotus, Ratchaphat University, Robinsons, Talat Yai (central market), Thung Si Mueang, Ubonrak Thonburi hospital, Thanon Somdet to Thanon Somdet Khae Yak 1.
11 Village Welfare Project (km8 on Hwy 212 to Amnat Charoen), Thanon Chayangkun, Ring road (main bus terminal), Big C, Soi Chayangkun 21, Thanon Chayangkun (Ratchawet Hospital, NE Polytechnic college, Tesco-Lotus, Robinsons), Thanon Upalisan, Thanon Phadaeng, Thanon Uparat (Thung Si Mueang), Ave Maria School, to Soi Phanom 7.
12 Regional Cancer Centre via Thanon Sinawong, Yasothon Road, Ban Tha Bo Nuea, Thanon sukha-Upatham, Thanon Chanegsanit (psychiatric hospital), clocktower roundabout (Ratchaphat University, SK Mall), Thanon Chaengsanit, Thanon Suriyat, Thanon Chayangkun, Thung Si Mueang, Talat Yai (central market), main post office, Thanon Somdet (Huai Nong reservoir dam wall), Phathom Phittayakhom school in Tambon Pathum.
13 Warin market to Wat Nong Pa Phong. (This route is very infrequent)

There are plenty of tuk-tuks puttering and samlors pedaling around. As always, agree on a fare before you get in, and expect to pay 20-40 Thai Baht depending on distance and your haggling skills.

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try renting a motorbike or a car to get you to one of the many national parks in the province. Jay-Jay Car and Motorcycle Hire provide good, clean vehicles at competitive prices.

See

  • SaSom Homestay and Dong Natam national park for the ones who love adventures and want to experience the first sunrise of Thailand. (บ้านซะซอมและป่าดงนาทาม). The rural village near the boarder of Laos PDR provides a home-stay and welcome volunteers who want to explore the real local life of Isaan people which is serene,simply and sincere. You will learn how to plant rices in the real paddy fields, finding varieties of mushroom in the wild or even be a volunteered teacher in a local primary school. You can enjoy the steams and forest around there and hiking to Pha Chanadai ผาชนะได to experience the first sunrise in Thailand. Arrange is advance at Nap@Mun hostel napatmunhostel@gmail.com if you are willing to volunteer at the Sasom village school for more than 5 days, you can stay at our hostel in Ubon Ratchathani old town for one night free! (updated Aug 2018)
  • Thung Si Muang Park (ทุ่งศรีเมือง). At the centre of town in front of city hall, this pleasant little park has several points of interest.
    A bright yellow elaborately carved candle sculpture, completed in 2000, standing 22 m tall and dedicated to the king, showcases Isaan art styles and has become the symbol of the city. The candle is placed on a junk, with a garuda eagle at the bow and a naga serpent around it.
    A statue of Phra Phatumvoraratsuriyawang commemorates the tersely-named founder of the town.
    Monument of Goodness (อนุสาวรีย์แห่งความดี) – The monument was built by WWII POWs to honour the generosity and goodness of the people of Ubon Ratchathani.
  • City Pillar Shrine (ศาลหลักเมือง) – At the southern corner of the field, the sacred pillar was built in 1972.
  • National Museum of Ubon Ratchathani (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ อุบลราชธานี) – The single-storey hip roofed building, built in 1918, once served as the city hall before it was handed to the Fine Arts Department. The museum has exhibitions on local geography, history of the city’s establishment, archaeological fine art objects, local handicrafts, and folk games.
  • The Golden Jubilee Art and Cultural Centre (ศูนย์ศิลปวัฒนธรรมกาญจนาภิเษก) – The seven-storey building in contemporary Isan architecture was built to commemorate the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the king’s accession to the throne. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presided over the opening ceremony on 11 December 2001.
  • Monument of Phra Pathum Worarat Suriyawong or Chao Kham Phong (อนุสาวรีย์พระปทุมวรราชสุริยวงศ์ หรือ เจ้าคำผง) Phra Pathum Worarat Suriyawong was the founder of Ubon Ratchathani during 1778-1795.
  • Sculpture of Somdet Phra Maha Wirawong or Tisso Uan (ปฏิมากรรมสมเด็จพระมหาวีรวงศ์ หรือ ติสโส อ้วน) A famous monk who was well versed in Sutra and Vipassana.
  • Sculpture of Harmony and Progress (ปฏิมากรรมร่วมใจก้าวไปข้างหน้า) – The sculpture represents the harmony of four countries: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
  • Prasat Ban Ben (ปราสาทบ้านเบญจ์). The Khmer sanctuary is a religious site comprising three brick prangs on separated laterite bases. The Fine Arts Department excavated the site in 1990 and found lintels featuring nine directional guardian angels and the God Indra on his Erawan heavenly elephant. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Hat Khu Duea (หาดคูเดื่อ). This beach on the Mun River is 12 km (7.5 mi) from downtown Ubon Ratchathani via Highway 24. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Kaeng Saphue (แก่งสะพือ) – The rapids in the Mun River. “Saphue” derives from the word “Samphuet” in the Suai ethnic language meaning “large serpent”.
  • Sirindhorn Dam (เขื่อนสิรินธร). Called Khuean Dom Noi by the people of the area, the rockfill dam with a clay core was constructed across the Lam Dom Noi, a tributary of the Mun River. The hydroelectric dam is 42 metres high and 940 metres long. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Ban Kan Lueang Archaeological Site (แหล่งโบราณคดีบ้านก้านเหลือง). An archaeological site which can be dated back to 2,800-2,500 years ago. In 1996, the Fine Arts Department found a number of artefacts such as beads, pottery, bronze bells, iron axes, and chaff. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Ban Pa-ao (บ้านปะอาว). This ancient village is in Tambon Nong Khon. Two centuries ago, the villagers immigrated from Vientiane during the reign of King Siri Bunsan. The village produces brass work in an ancient style. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Chong Mek (ช่องเม็ก) – The permanent Thai-Lao border pass is 90 km (56 mi) from downtown Ubon Ratchathani. The pass is a land bridge to Champasak Province.
  • Annamese Lion Pulpit at Ban Chi Thuan (ธรรมาสน์สิงห์ศิลปะญวนที่บ้านชีทวน). The Buddhist pulpit is placed at Wat Sinuan Saeng Sawang Arom. The concrete pulpit itself is unique, with a lion sculpture carrying the pulpit with decorative stucco, multi-layer wooden roof, and painting in the Annamese style. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Maenam Song Si (แม่น้ำสองสี) – At the mouth of the Mun River, Ban Woen Buek. The Mun River runs into the Mekong, so we can see two rivers, in two different colours. “Song si” means ‘two colours’, blending together. The Mekong River is reddish brown, while the Mun River is bluish.
  • Sao Chaliang (เสาเฉลียง). Carved by wind and water for millions of years, the mushroom-like stone towers are scattered around the area containing shell fossils, sand and gravels in their texture. Geologists think that over a million years ago this area was a sea. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Pha Taem and Pha Kham (ผาแต้มและผาขาม) – The towering cliffs house groups of prehistorical paintings which date back 3,000-4,000 years. There are over 300 paintings in five categories including animals, geometrical motifs, rice farmers, hands, and “tum”, or fish trap.
  • Namtok Soi Sawan (น้ำตกสร้อยสวรรค์). Two streams, Huai Soi and Huai Phai, combine and plunge 20 metres down to the pond below, making the waterfall look like a necklace – “soi” in Thai. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Namtok Thung Na Mueang (น้ำตกทุ่งนาเมือง) – The medium-sized waterfall cascades down a 25-metre cliff through flowerbeds which are in full bloom from October to December.
  • Namtok Saeng Chan or Namtok Ru (น้ำตกแสงจันทร์หรือ น้ำตกรู). The tiny cascade is special as the stream falls through a hole, “ru”, down to the pond below. At noon, sunshine through the hole makes the waterfall look like a ray of moonshine, “saeng chan”. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Dong Na Tham Forest (ป่าดงนาทาม). From September to November is the best time to visit as flowers are in full bloom. There are waterfalls and fogs over the Mekong River. From January to March the forest changes its hue, with trees shedding their leaves, and cruises in the Mekong run from Ban Pak La to Khan Tha Kwian. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Phu Lon (ภูหล่น) – The mountain is in Tambon Song Yang, 20 km (12 mi) north of Amphoe Si Mueang Mai. It has a cave where monk Phra Achan Man Phurithatto practiced his Vipassana.
  • Namtok Kaeng Lamduan (น้ำตกแก่งลำดวน) – These falls are in the compound of the Ubon Ratchathani Wildlife Reservation Promotion and Development Station. The waterfall runs over a rock terrace and through the shady forest of Lamduan trees.
  • Namtok Huai Sai Yai or Kaeng I Khiao (น้ำตกห้วยทรายใหญ่ หรือ แก่งอีเขียว). The waterfall is in the Buntharik–Khao Yot Mon Wildlife Sanctuary. The waterfall runs over the rock terrace in a shady environment. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Hat Wat Tai (หาดวัดใต้) – A beach in the middle of the Mun River. During the dry season, its white sandy beach is a tourism destination.

National parks

  • Phu Chong Na Yoi National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติภูจอง-นายอย). The park covers a total area of 686 km2 (265 sq mi). Its boundary connects to Lao PDR and Cambodia in the area called the Emerald Triangle. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Pha Taem National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติผาแต้ม). The park features plateaus, undulating hills, and towering cliffs with strange sandstone formations scattered around. The park is covered mostly by deciduous dipterocarp forest and wild flowers can be found on the rock terrace. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Kaeng Tana National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติแก่งตะนะ). The park features plateaus and undulating hills with deciduous dipterocarp forest and grassland. (updated Aug 2018)

Temples

  • Wat Nong Bua (Off Chanyangkun Road, past the BKS station). A highly unusual large white angular chedi, said to be a copy of the Mahabodhi stupa in Bodh Gaya, India. Quite stunning in appearance, but the decorations seem rather modern and with reason. The structure was built only in 1957 to commemorate the 2500th anniversary of Buddha’s death.
  • Wat Nong Pah Pong (วัดหนองป่าพง). The forest monastery of the late venerable Ajahn Chah, one of the most famous meditation masters in Thailand in recent times. About 70 monks live here, including some foreign ones, and there is a small museum and a stupa (or chedi) with the relics of Ajahn Chah to visit. The temple is in a lush forest of Tambon Non Phueng. Monks study and practice Vipassana meditation there. The temple has the Phra Phothiyan Thera Museum that displays the eight requisites and wax model of Luangpu Cha.
  • Wat Pah Nanachat (International Forest Monastery วัดป่านานาชาติ). A famous forest meditation temple with more than 20 foreign/Western monks from all over the world. If you come before 08:00 you can join in the morning meal, and maybe speak to a monk afterwards. You can take a red songthaew from Warin Chamrab to Wat Pah Nanachat for about 10 Thai Baht. Numerous foreign monks study and practice Vipassana meditation here; most of them can speak Thai fluently and pray in Pali.
  • Wat Thung Si Muang (วัดทุ่งศรีเมือง) (Luang Road). Primarily notable for its wooden scripture hall (hor trai), on stilts above a pond. The monastery itself was built in the reign of Rama III (1824-51) to house a replica of Buddha’s footprint. The Buddha’s footprint is housed in the ubosot which mirrors art blending between the early Rattanakosin era and that of Vientiane. Another important building in the temple is the Ho Trai, the Hall of Tipitaka scriptures. The wooden hall was built in the pond to protect the Tipitaka from insects.
  • Wat Si Ubon Rattanaram or Wat Si Thong (วัดศรีอุบลรัตนาราม หรือ วัดศรีทอง). The ubosot houses a sacred Buddha image known as “Phra Kaeo Butsarakham”. The Buddha image, in the attitude of subduing Mara, is carved from topaz into the Chiang Saen style. Each year, in the Songkran Festival, people parade the Buddha image for the people to pay their respects to and bathe. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Wat Chaeng (วัดแจ้ง). The ubosot, which was only completed 24 years later, is noted for its architecture and rare woodcarving. As a heritage site, the ubosot is well preserved in its original condition. It won a Certificate of Honour from Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in the “Architect 87” Exhibition. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Wat Maha Wanaram (วัดมหาวนาราม). It was at first only a “Samnak Song”, a monastic residence, for Vipassana monks. According to a stone inscription found behind the principal Buddha statue, Phrachao Yai In Paeng, it was built in 1807. The stucco Buddha statue, in the attitude of subduing Mara, was built in the Laotian style. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Wat Burapharam (วัดบูรพาราม). The temple once served as a residence for famous meditation monks. Today, the temple houses lifelike stone figures of these monks. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Wat Supattanaram Worawihan (วัดสุปัฏนารามวรวิหาร). This is the first Dhammayutika temple of the province. The temple has a special ubosot designed by a royal highway engineer Luang Sathit Nimankan (Chuan Supiyaphan). It has a Thai-style roof, Western-style hall and Khmer-style base. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Wat Phukhao Kaeo (วัดภูเขาแก้ว). The temple has an ubosot delicately decorated with a tiered roof covered with terracotta tiles and supporting a golden spire in the middle. Inside is a high-relief regarding important phrathats, relic-containing pagodas, of Thailand. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Wat Thung Si Wilai (วัดทุ่งศรีวิไล). The temple houses Luangpho Wiset, the principal Buddha image carved from laterite seated beneath the Naga’s hood. The Buddha image from the Dvaravati period is considered a sacred icon for the village. The temple is surrounded by several enclosures of Sima stones that mark the temple’s consecrated boundary. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Wat Tham Kuha Sawan (วัดถ้ำคูหาสวรรค์). The temple was built by Luangpu Khamkhaning Chulamani to be a place for meditation practice where he also resided. After Luangpu’s death his body, which did not decompose, was put in a glass coffin and is considered sacred. (updated Aug 2018)
  • Wat Phu Anon (วัดภูอานนท์) – The temple has interesting attractions including a rock terrace with large footprints, nature-made stone jar, and cave painting.
  • Wat Sa Prasan Suk or Wat Ban Na Mueang (วัดสระประสานสุข หรือ วัดบ้านนาเมือง) – The temple houses a special ubosot in the shape of the Suphannahong Royal Barge decorated with mosaics. The abbot is Achan Bunmi.

Do

  • Candle Festival (งานประเพณีแห่เทียนเข้าพรรรษา). Ubon’s biggest event. Held in early-July on Khao Phansa day, which marks the beginning of the rainy season retreat. For three months, monks do not leave their temple except for an emergencies, and laypersons vow to abstain from drinking alcohol as well as bonking. Huge wax candles are displayed in Thung Si Muang Park, which are carried around town in a procession the next morning.
  • Illuminated Boat Procession (งานประเพณีไหลเรือไฟ). This less well-known festival is held in October on the river near the Rattanakosin Bicentennial Bridge to mark the end of the rainy season (Ok Phansa).
  • Flower Festival (งานเทศกาลไม้ดอกไม้ประดับ). Held every February at Thung Kham Nam Saep Stadium, Amphoe Warin Chamrap, the festival features floral floats, decorative and flowering plant contests, and fair. (updated Nov 2015)
  • Kaeng Saphue Songkran Festival (งานประเพณีมหาสงกรานต์แก่งสะพือ). Held every April in Amphoe Phibun Mangsahan, the festival includes a beauty contest, fair, local sports, and local music contest. (updated Nov 2015)
  • Traditional Boat Races (งานแข่งขันเรือยาวประเพณี). Several boat racing tournaments are held annually in October after the end of Buddhist Lent. The Mueang Ubon Ratchathani Municipality’s tournament is held near the Rattanakosin Bicentennial Bridge. Tambon Phibun Mangsahan Municipality’s tournament is held near the Mun River Bridge, and Wat Pho Tak’s tournament is held in front of the temple. (updated Nov 2015)

Learn

Buddhist meditation

  • Wat Pah Nanachat ((WPN) The International Forest Monastery) (Ban Bung Wai, Warin (12 km from Ubon Ratchathani)). Established in 1975 by the late Ajahn Chah, the monastery offers full training courses in English. Full board and lodgings are available, though prior notice is required. Write to The Guest Monk, Wat Pah Nanachat, Bahn Bung Wai, Warin Chamrab, Ubon Ratchathani 34310.

Buy

  • Phanchat Esan Folk Arts & Handicrafts. Wide selection of souvenirs and handicrafts. Has two beautifully designed locations downtown.

Eat

  • 126 cafe Ubon, Ratchabut Road (close to the intersection of night markets). 17.00-00.00. A secret cafe with live acoustic music. Provided healthy drinks made from soy milk and delicious fusion cuisines xx THB.
  • Muen Thip, Phichit Rangsan Road (east of intersection with Thepyothi). A popular two-storey place specializing in a Thai interpretation of Korean barbecue (Neua Yang Kaolee), grilled at your own table and dipped in fiery sauces. A plate of your meat of choice and a large tray of veggies, plenty for two, costs 90 Thai Baht. English menu available, not that you really need it.
  • The Outside Inn, 11 Suriyat Road (Within 100 m of Wat Si Pradu (“See ba-doo”)), ✉ info@theoutsideinnubon.com. Variety of cuisine- authentic, made-from-scratch Mexican food, Thai classics, Isaan and Lao specialties, and Western favourites. Many offered in vegetarian and vegan versions. Menu isn’t huge, but it’s varied and unique. Guest rooms, 750+ Thai Baht.
  • 15.23973508104.855316731 Peppers Restaurant, Bakery & Café, 297/2-3 Uppalisan Road (Opposite the entrance to the air force base, next to the international Airport) , ✉ info@peppersbakery.com. 08:00-21:00. Great Western and Thai food, along with coffee cakes, pies, fruit shakes, milkshakes, tea, cocktails, beer and wine.
  • Spago Original Italian Pizza, 420 Chaengsanit Road. 11:30-14:30 and 17:00-22:00. The pizzas are baked in a wood-fired oven and the flour and tomatoes are imported from Italy.

Drink

  • Miss Aree Coffee (Opposite Ubon University). Serves freshly brewed coffee.
  • 15.2352104.85461 Xero Coffee Club (Opposite Siam Commercial Bank, across from Tokyo Hotel). Open 11am – 4pm. 2-floor co-work space and coffee house, recently opened as of October 2018. It’s American owned, the coffee is fresh, there are an assortment of homemade cake loafs including banana bread. Unusually for Ubon Ratchathani, you can also create your own sandwich. Nice owner and fast, kind service. (updated Oct 2018)

Sleep

Hotels Ubon Ratchathani City: Popularity

Hotel Stars Discount Price before and discount Select dates
Rapeepan Ville Hotel ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
V Hotel Ubon Ratchathani ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
The Bliss Ubon ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Yuu Hotel Ubon Ratchathani ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Pen Ta Hug Hotel ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
6.11 Hotel ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hop Inn Ubon Ratchathani ★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Excella Hotel ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
De' Proud Hotel ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Srisomthai Hotel ★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
T3 House View Isaan Hotel Deals
Laithong Hotel ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Sunee Grand Hotel and Convention Center ★★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
28 Rachabutr Hostel View Isaan Hotel Deals
Fundee 1 Mansion ★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
The Goose Cafe And Hostel Ubon View Isaan Hotel Deals
Ubon Best Place ★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
The Regent Ubon View Isaan Hotel Deals
Tohsang Heritage Ubon Ratchathani Hotel ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
A Plus Hotel ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
  • Nap@Mun hostel, 324 Phrommarat Road (Take a Red Songtaew from a bus station to Talad Yai (10 THB) and walk there within 2 min.), ✉ napatmunhostel@gmail.com. Check-in: upon request in advance via email. Rooms with A/C, cable TV . It is a convenient location in the middle of old town of Ubon Ratchathani with easy access to public transportation and walking distance to the old temples and markets and also national museum. Need a roughly time of arrival at least a day in advance. 200-240 THB.
  • Bua Boutique Hotel (Formerly the Montana Hotel), 179/1-4 Upparat. Rooms with air, cable TV and mini-bar. There is a karaoke bar attached to the hotel. It is a convenient location downtown with easy access to public transportation. Recently remodelled and renamed. 500-700 Thai Baht.
  • Laithong Hotel, Phichit Rangsan Road. Advertises itself with the tagline In Ubon, Luxury Equals the Laithong Hotel, which is probably true, if only for lack of competition. A little faded in decor, but kept in reasonably good shape, and features a pool, restaurant, nightclub, and karaoke bar. 1,400+ Thai Baht.
  • Nevada (mid-town). Has a Starbucks in front of the hotel, has a cinema complex within its area. Walk to Tesco and Robinson (the biggest department store). 1,000+ Thai Baht.
  • Phadaeng Hotel, 126 Phadaeng Road , ✉ thephadaeng@gmail.com. A well located hotel, just a seven minute walk from Thung Si Muang Park. Very good service for a very nice price. English spoken. 500 Thai Baht. (updated Nov 2015)
  • The Ratchathani Hotel, 297 Khianthani Road. Boutique hotel with restaurant. 450+ Thai Baht.
  • River Moon Guesthouse. Five minute walk from Ubon train station, opposite fire station. 150+ Thai Baht.
  • Sri Isan Hotel (Ratchaboot Road). Boutique hotel across from the open-air market, beside the Mun River. Within walking distance of Ubon Ratchathani Museum and Tung Sri Muang Park. The basic rooms are small but clean. Good location and overall service.Presently closed for renovation. 500+ Thai Baht.
  • Suriyat, Soi Suriyat (Near Esso on central road). Cheapest fan room, cold water, no TV, 250 Thai Baht; with TV, 280 Thai Baht. 250+ Thai Baht.
  • Tohsang City Hotel, 251 Palochai Road. Same owner as Tohsang Khongjiam Resort. 1,200+ Thai Baht.
  • Tohsang Khongjiam Resort, 66 Moo 7, Baan Huay-Mak Tai, Khongjiam (over an hour outside the city). A classy resort on the banks of the Mekong River near the Lao border. 2,000+ Thai Baht.
  • Tokyo Hotel, 178 Uparat Road. Has an old and a new wing. Cheapest double rooms with a fan for 360 Thai Baht. Songthaew number 2 runs from bus station opposite to the hotel for 10 Thai Baht. 360+ Thai Baht.
  • 28 Rachabutr Hostel, 28 Rachabutr Road. Check-out: noon. Dorm and rooms with shared baths dorm 200 Thai Baht; room from 350 Thai Baht. (updated Mar 2017)
  • Ubon Buri (between Muang Ubon amd Warin Chamrab). Resort hotel on a lake in the outskirts. 1,000+ Thai Baht.
  • Sri Isan 2 Hotel (Sri Esarn 2 Hotel), 60 Ratchabut Road (Next door to Sri Isan 1 – between Market & Wat Luang). Small friendly family run hotel with good value fan rooms with attached shower B200. Great location near the river and the market. 200 Baat. (updated Mar 2019)

Go next

  • Preah Vihear (Prasat Khao Phra Wihaan in Thai) – Khmer temple accessible as a day trip from neighbouring Si Saket Province (currently closed to the public)
  • Cambodia
  • Laos

Former founder of Asiarooms.com and now reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as Thailand, Germany & Switzerland. Born near Cologne but lived in Berlin during my early teenage years. A longterm resident of Bangkok, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon and Phuket. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu. Now based on Mallorca, Spain.

Northeast Thailand

Sakon Nakhon Nightlife & 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 […]

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Sakon Nakhon Wax Candle Procession1000x600
Sakon Nakhon Nightlife & Travel Guide

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

Introduction to Sakon Nakhon

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”.

Language spoken in Sakon Nakhon

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

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

How to get into to Sakon Nakhon

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.)

Fly to Sakon Nakhon

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

OriginDeparture atReturn atFind tickets
Bangkok13.09.202114.09.2021Tickets from 1 686
Phitsanulok23.07.202129.07.2021Tickets from 4 944

Get around Sakon Nakhon

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.

What to see in Sakon Nakhon

  • 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.

What to Do in Sakon Nakhon

  • 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.

Go Shopping in Sakon Nakhon

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 but Tops Supermarket carries many imported food items mainly from Europe, the US and Japan.
  • 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.

Restaurants in Sakon Nakhon

  • 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.

Get out for a Drink in Sakon Nakhon

  • 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

Hotels Sakon Nakhon: Popularity

HotelStarsDiscountPrice before and discountSelect dates
Hop Inn Sakon Nakhon★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
At Sakon Hotel★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Chokdee PlaceView Isaan Hotel Deals
Honghub sakon★★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Imperial Sakon Hotel★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
MT PlaceView Isaan Hotel Deals
U Style HotelView Isaan Hotel Deals
NH Elegant HotelView Isaan Hotel Deals
JC HotelView Isaan Hotel Deals
NK Residence Sakon Nakhon★★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Livable HotelView Isaan Hotel Deals
HUG SakonnakhonView Isaan Hotel Deals
Siwasom Resort Sakon Nakhon★★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
โรงแรมตามตะวัน Tametawan HotelView Isaan Hotel Deals
Dara Maison Boutique HotelView Isaan Hotel Deals
PC Palace HotelView Isaan Hotel Deals
Tamarind Resort★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Baan Phra ChanView Isaan Hotel Deals
Baan Esan Country House★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Chokdee Place★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
  • AP Place Hotel, 525 Ratbamrung Road.
  • Baan Esan Country House, 166 Dong Pattana Soi 1 (Sakonnakhon-Udon Rte 22 close to Rajaphat University), 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.

Thai culture places great emphasis on respecting your elders, so we will visit our ancestors first. In the area between Sakon Nakhon and the bordering province of Kalasin, the Phu Pan mountain range houses full-skeleton fossils of sauropods from approximately 120 million years ago. The fossil record here also includes some plant and petrified wood samples, and the larger fossils can be seen in large-scale open pit excavations. Satisfy your inner archeologist with a visit to the digs.

We have to turn a lot of calendar pages to get to the next stop, chronologically speaking. Phu Pha Yon Mountain sits in the midst of a meditation center 40 km outside the city. The mountainside holds one of the best examples of prehistoric representative art. Local tribes carved depictions of people, animals, and agriculture into the side of the mountain more than 3000 years ago. Surrounded by natural beauty in peaceful surroundings, this mountain is well worth the short trip from Sakon Nakhon city.

Seasoned travelers will often tell you that the best places in any locale are the places that the locals frequent. The residents of Sakon Nakhon tend to take their leisure along the shores of Nong Han Lake. The lake covers more than 120 square kilometers and is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the kingdom. The shoreline has largely been converted into a massive public park for the city, and a number of small islets dot the lake. Hire a boat to visit the largest of these, Ko Don Sawan, to see ancient Buddha images in a deserted temple. The untamed greenery of the island makes it a popular nesting ground for several species of birds.

It can be a lot of fun to join local festivals while on vacation, even if you don’t understand what you’re celebrating! Thailand’s traditional New Year’s celebration is in April each year, and is called Songkran. The festival traditionally marks the beginning of the rainy season. While Songkran can be an excuse for rowdy behavior in more southerly cities of Thailand, in the northeast it is a more civil event. People pour water on one another to cool off and to share a laugh. Most businesses will close during Songkran days, so expect larger crowds, but the more, the merrier.

Should you be in the region in October, there is the annual Wax Castle Parade. Competing teams spend countless hours building replicas of popular temples and structures, and then form a parade to show off their handiwork.

When its souvenir time, take a trip to Ban Charn Arts and Crafts, or Wha Yai and Ban Don Daeng. Ban Charn Arts & Crafts Center is a training and distribution center for the local crafts of woodcarving, silk production, and blacksmithing. Wha Yai and Ban Don Daeng are renowned for local silk products and textiles. Take home a memory or two!

Eat, drink and sleep in Sakon Nakhon

Apart from the hardcore survivalist types, most tourists enjoy a good meal after a day of touring waterfalls and temples. And of course, you have to eat a good breakfast, or you’ll have no energy for the next day’s activities. Don’t worry about anything. You definitely don’t have to go hungry in Sakon Nakhon.

First things first: yes, they eat dog in Sakon Nakhon. Among Thailand’s seventy-six provinces, Sakon Nakhon has the largest reputation for the preparation and consumption of dog meat. You shouldn’t be alarmed by this at all. You’re visiting a very different culture, and this is their custom. Further, you won’t be served dog unless you order it. If you’re curious and adventurous, the local fresh market is rumored to be the place to pick up your serving.

For other types of meals, you have many choices. Of course the Thai food will be fresh and flavorful, just like in every province of the kingdom.

Recommendations for Thai restaurants in Sakon Nakhon

Mit Auppatam

Thai oriented menu, but also with Western options. This is a good choice for breakfasts, as they serve a really decent omelet. Lunch and dinner also available, but bring an interpreter.

Phra Cha Chuen

Thai food only, but served in a more casual setting. Great meals, unpretentious, nice atmosphere.

Green Corner

If you’re after a more westernized menu, this is your spot. Of course good Thai and Isaan-style options are on the menu, but you’ll also find a selection of pizzas, Italian food, and a nice bakery.

Sakon Nakhon Sandwich and Steak House

Western and Turkish menu with good prices. Located at the entrance to the PLR Apartments, on ITU Street. Run by Hakkan with his lovely wife.

Nightlife in Sakon Nakhon

Many of us have the habit of looking for a pub or nightclub sometime after dinner is done. While Sakon Nakhon is not known as a party town, don’t give up all hope. There’s always a place to find an open bar stool, a live band, and a cold drink. In Sakon Nakhon, you can try the karaoke bar inside the MJ Hotel. But if you prefer to listen instead of sing, you still have options. Toon Army Bar offers a live band and a friendly atmosphere. A more dance-oriented vibe is at the Golden Pond Disco just around the corner from Toon Army Bar, but you’re likely to find it rather crowded with local students. Welcome Bar is on the same street as Golden Pond, and is targeted slightly more to the western visitor. If you like live rock, specially Thai Rock, why not head to the Tawan Daeng with excellent singers. Finally, check out Mak Mi Sigh Tan country music bar for more live band enjoyment.

Stay safe in Sakon Nakhon

Swimming in Nong Han is risky because of parasitic liver flukes.

Go next

North to Bueng Kan, east to Nakhon Phanom, southeast to Mukdahan, southwest to Kalasin, or west to Udon Thani.

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Northeast Thailand

Udon Thani Expat & Tourist Guide

Wolfgang Holzem

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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

OriginDeparture atReturn atFind tickets
Bangkok30.06.202101.07.2021Tickets from 525
Hat Yai10.07.202115.07.2021Tickets from 1 993
Phuket30.06.202105.07.2021Tickets from 1 993
Chiang Mai27.07.202128.07.2021Tickets from 3 147
Lampang27.07.202128.07.2021Tickets from 5 266
Koh Samui01.07.202104.07.2021Tickets from 5 760
Utapao24.07.202128.07.2021Tickets from 8 564
Moscow08.11.202114.11.2021Tickets from 24 375

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

HotelStarsDiscountPrice before and discountSelect dates
Centara Hotel & Convention Centre Udon Thani★★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hop Inn Udonthani★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
De Princess Hotel Udonthani★★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Thanburi Hotel★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Takanta Place★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Siamgrand Hotel★★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
@Home at UdonView Isaan Hotel Deals
Delio Boutique HotelView Isaan Hotel Deals
The Pannarai Hotel★★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Charoen Hotel★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
The Siri PlaceView Isaan Hotel Deals
Nuntiya Terrace★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Kitlada Hotel Udonthani★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Prajaktra Design Hotel★★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
The One Residence★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Paradise Hotel UdonthaniView Isaan Hotel Deals
Prajak Place★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Goodhome@Udonthani★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
President Hotel Udonthani★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Prajaktra City HostelView 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 | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak

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

OriginDeparture atReturn atFind tickets
Bangkok01.10.202103.10.2021Tickets from 2 247
Chiang Mai23.06.202127.06.2021Tickets from 4 394

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.

Thai–Lao Songkran Festival (งานประเพณีสงกรานต์ไทย-ลาว) held in Tha Li District 12–15 April of every year. Large numbers of Lao participate in the festival.

Bun Bang Fai Lan Festival (งานประเพณีบุญบั้งไฟล้าน) held within the compound of Wat Erawan Phatthanaram, Erawan District on the full moon of the 6th lunar month or during May of every year. It is Loei’s biggest festival.

Phrathat Si Song Rak Fair (งานนมัสการพระธาตุศรีสองรัก) an annual event organised on the full moon of the 6th lunar month, around the end of April until early-May to celebrate Phrathat Si Song Rak, a significant place of worship of the town.

Bun Luang Festival and Phi Ta Khon (งานประเพณีบุญหลวง และการละเล่นผีตาโขน) held annually in Dan Sai District on Saturday–Sunday after the full moon day of the 6th lunar month, and after paying respect to Phrathat Si Song Rak. Phi Ta Khon is a local activity of Dan Sai and Na Haeo Districts, relating to the belief and faith in Buddhism and the spirit of ancestors. Phi Ta Khon parades are organised in the Bun Luang Festival, an annual local merit-making ceremony. On the first day, the Phra Upakhut procession proceeds from the Man River to Wat Phon Chai and on the next day, it enters the town, while the Phi Ta Khon participants throw their costumes and accoutrements into the Man River. After that, a series of all 13 chapters of the Great Birth Sermon will be read.

Chiang Khan’s End of Buddhist Lent Festival (งานประเพณีออกพรรษาอำเภอเชียงคาน) organised in front of Chiang Khan District Office on the full moon day of the 11th lunar month every year. There is the Prasat Phueng procession, long-boat races, Ruea Kap races, illuminated boat contest, Tak Bat Devo, and various local cultural shows and entertainment in the festival.

Sea of Fog and Beautiful Flower Blossom on Phu Ruea (Winter Flowers Fair, Phu Ruea District) (เทศกาลหมอก ดอกไม้งาม บานสะพรั่งภูเรือ) is held on the grounds in front of Phu Ruea District Office during the New Year’s Festival, around 31 December–3 January every year. Activities in the festival include a temperate plant fair, floral float parade, temperate flowers and decorative plants contests, Mae Khaning evening party, dances in the winter breeze.

Buy

There are various kinds of local products of Loei such as sweet tamarind, kunchiang (Chinese pork sausage), mu phaen (dried pork slices), glacéd coconut, souvenirs related to the Phi Ta Khon Festival, quilts, silk and cotton fabric. For local fabrics, visit Ban Kang Pla, which offers Loei fabric, a product unique to the province. For rattan furniture and utensils, visit Ban Na Kraseng, Tha Li District.

Eat

There are any number of restaurants within the city, which is easy to walk around. Many ethnic Chinese provide a good variety, and all are reasonably priced.

  • 17.4936989393101.7243006731 Loei’s American Burger (Junction of Khirirat Road and Khirirat Soi 3). Daily, 11:00-20:30. Good Western and Thai food by Doug and his Thai wife. (updated Sep 2015)

Drink

Where to stay in Loei

  • Phuluang Hotel, 55 Charoenrat Road (About 1-2km from the bus station on the edge of town). Shower water is hot, but not much pressure. In the hotel restaurant fried rice with a large bottle of beer for 135 Thai Baht in the evening, and a Western breakfast for 90 Thai Baht. Has free Wi-Fi and the Internet computer is 40 Thai Baht per hour. There are plenty of restaurants nearby. Little English spoken, depending who is on the counter, but you can muddle through easily enough. Tuk-tuk from the bus station is 40 Thai Baht. 350-900 Thai Baht.
  • Sugar Guest House (Pronounced su-gar, not shu-gar), 4/1 Wisutitep Road, Soi 2. Run by friendly, English-speaking Pat. The rooms are plush by backpacker standards and very good value for money. Breakfast and bike hire services available. 180-380 Thai Baht.
  • Country HouseKhokngam, 203 Moo 1. Khokngam Village, Dansai. 42120. Thailand. (From Loei Airport or Loei City Center, using highway route no 201 onward to the nor th and turn right into a highway route no 2013 21 enroute to Phuruea District and continue to Khokngam village for 15 km. The house is on the main road no) , ✉ countryhouse.khokngam@outlook.com. Homestay in a nice contryside for rent, short or long term. Ideally good for long stay vacations in Loei or retirement guests who want to have a simple and a slow life in Loei. 1,500 THB per day. (updated Feb 2019)

Go next

  • Chiang Khan – Thirty minutes from Loei bus station if you time it right via the overnight bus from Bangkok’s Mo Chit bus station, or 60-90 mins by songthaew. The guesthouses of Chiang Khan look across the Mekong at Laos. The wooden town, replete with wats, is backed by a mountain topped by a Thai navy lookout surrounded by tamarind trees. A teak plantation on another mountain shades the home of forest monks caring for a temple in a cave. The cafe in the main street sells coffee made with milk from a dairy hidden in the hills. Nearby cotton is teased and netted into quilts. On a beach of coloured pebbles, children run into the river where they float around in tubes from old tyres. It’s a place to stay and watch the river world go by.
  • Phitsanulok – gateway to Sukhothai, Chiang Mai and the rest of northern Thailand.

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