Touring Upper Isan Udon Thani and Nong Khai

| March 10, 2016

If asked to name the most livable town in Thailand. not many people think of a northeastern town. on the Mekong. that is Nong Khai. the town of Naga Rocket fame. Also situated along this route are Udon Thani and Nong Bua Lamphu. the two adjoining provinces. with Udon Thani as the center. Thus. a tour around Udon Thani. Nang Khai and Nong Bua Lamphu should always be on your itinerary of a visit to Isan.
From Bangkok, the first destination on this route is Udon Thani, 564 kilometers in distance, taking about 7 hours. Traveling further from Khan Kaen, however, Udon Thani is only, 115 kilometers away. Udon Thani is among the most significant and major provinces in the Northeast, unique with its prehistoric settlement is known for the Ban Chiang colored pottery dating back almost 5,000 years.
From Udon Thani take Highway 22 passing Nong Han District and the junction to Ban Dung District, up to Ban Pulu, about 50 kilometers in total distance and turn left onto Highway 2225. Continue for another 6 kilometers to the archeological site of Ban Chiang, the most important attraction of Udon Thani, now established as Ban Chiang Historical Park. Excavation has been carried out since 1974.A large number of ancient pottery was found. Studies showed that they dated back to between 1 ,822 and 4,600 years. The site was inscribed as the World Heritage Cultural Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO in December 1992.
At the historical park, the Excavation Site of Wat Pho Si Nai is open to visitors, with all the finds left to be seen in their original stage. However, water seepage problem has necessitated temporary removal of the objects. Another part is the Ban Chiang National Museum, with exhibits and storyboards put up. Ban Chiang is considered the most significant pre-historic settlement discovered in Southeast Asia. The present-day Ban Chiang Community, meanwhile, has turned to make imitation pottery in traditional patterns, recognized as a cottage industry village for tourism, with a demonstration center set up opposite to the parking lot of the museum, where newly-made Ban Chiang pottery can be bought as souvenirs.
Another site to visit in Udon Thani is Phu Phra Bat Historical Park. Turn back to the city area and take Highway No.2 towards Nong Khai Province, up to kilometer 13. Turn left into Highway 2021 heading for Ban Phue District for 42 kilometers, followed by Highway 2348 for about 14 kilometers to reach Phu Phra Bat Historical Park. The park features mixed deciduous forests and rock formations in odd shapes and forms, giving rise to the legend of Lady USA and Thao Barot. The area is in fact part of Phu Phan Mountain Range with evidences of prehistoric settlements including colored cliff paintings. Peculiar rock formations were results from geological change, as igneous rocks weathered throughout the past 135 million years.

A trekking trail takes visitors through attractions in the park, as short and long trails to choose from. The highlights of the park are Lady USA’s Tower, Temple of Father and Son-In-Law, the Coffins of the Father, Lady USA and Thao Barot, the Buddha Cave, and the Pagoda for Lady USA. Moreover, colored paintings can be found at Wua and Khan Caves, with Wat Phra Phutthabat Bua Bok, the temple of the Lord Buddha’s Footprint of Bua Bok, about 2 kilometers further from the entrance to the historical park.
From Ban Phue District, you can choose the loop to reach- Nong Khai Province through Highways 2348 and 2376 towards Sangkhom District, a small town on the Mekong River. On the way, in Na Yung District, you will find Na Yung Nam Som Park on the right, with Yung Thong Waterfall as the highlight.The fall is wholesome in the rainy season only.
Sangkhom District is peaceful and charming as a riverside community. The route runs along the Mekong up to Si Chiang Mai District, on Highway 211. Along the way, at kilometer 74, about 11 kilometers before reaching the district, Than Thong Waterfall is on the left, with delightful pool to take dips. The waterfall cascades down the cliff in double rungs before shooting into the Mekong River. And at Ban Pha Tang, at kilometer 65. there is a fine Mekong viewpoint, known as the Narrowest Span of the Mekong, from where the river appears winding its way down to the hills on the other side in Laos. Ban Pha Tang also offers home-stay service at Wat Ang Pia Buek. Also on this route, devotees can pay respect to the ashes of the revered meditation monk, Luang Pu Thet Thetrangsi at Wat Hin Mak Peng; and the remains of Luang Pu Rian, at Wat Aranya Banphot.
The route from Si Chiang Mai District to Nong Khai Province continues along the Mekong River, passing Tha Bo District. It is a scenic route, perfect for a pleasure ride, especially at kilometer 39, about 18 kilometers from Si Chiang Mai District, the road is tined on both sides by rain trees which form a thick green canopy like a tunnel of rain trees. At Tha Bo District, an interesting object to see is the Buddha image called Phra Chao Ong Tue at Wat Sl Chomphu Ong Tue, by turning right at kilometer 31, continuing for another kilometer. The Buddha is in subduing the Mara posture, in the alloy of gold, silver and bronze, with fine features, the work of top craftspeople of the North and Lan Chang. It was built in 1562 at the command of King Chaiyachettha of Vientiane.

Reaching the final stretch along the Mekong before reaching Nong Khai Province. the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge comes into full view. There are several comfortable resorts, the one with a clear view of the river and the bridge is Phanthawi Resort and several others lying back to back such along the Mekong, such as Mekong Royal Nang Khai and Mekong River. In town, on Michai Road, several old houses have been turned into charming guesthouses. Recommended is Sawasdee Guesthouse, decorated with antiques, clean, safe, and inexpensive.
Nang Khai is splendid with fine architecture, peaceful atmosphere, light traffic, balmy weather, glorious temples along the Mekong, good food, comfortable cost of living, and safety. Therefore, Modern Maturity magazine for retirees of the United States has voted for 40 livable cities in the world, and Nang Khai was rated 7th in 2001. The top three cities were in Spain, Italy, and France. As for food, diverse delicious dishes are offered, as Nang Khai is a melting pot for Thai, Chinese, Lao and Vietnamese cultures. Popular breakfast comprises coffee, bread, and pan egg. Recommended are Than Tawan Shop on Prachak Road, and Kanyarat Shop next to Phanthawi Hotel. For lunch, you can go for a Vietnamese meal at Daeng Naem Nueang Shop on Banthoengchit Road, or a Lao meal at Pan Thong Shop on Keao Warawut Road. For dinner on the Mekong Ruean Phae Hai Sok operates both a riverside restaurant and dinner cruise. For porridge, Dee Dee Photchana on Prachak Road is well – known in Nang Khai.

And not to be missed is to pay respect to Phra Sai at Wat Pho Chai, the most revered Buddha image in the city. Just outside the city one finds Wat Khaek or Sala Kaeo Ku, 4 kilometers from the city on the road to Phonphisai District. The temple is in combined Buddhist and Hindu style, decorated by fine cement carvings.Then, there is Tha Sadet Market, the center of goods from Indochinese countries
On the way back through Highway No.2 to Udon Thani Province, you can yet call at Phra Thai Bang Phuan at Wat Phra That Bang Phuan, Ban Don Mu, about 23 kilometers from the city. And with time to spare, attractions on the route within Nang Bua Lamphu Province can be added, by traveling just 46 kilometers from Udon Thani on Highway 210, as passing visits on the trip back to Bangkok on the route passing Ubol Ratana Dam to Khan Kaen Province, on Highways 2146 and 2109 Sites to visit include Craft Village for Pottery at Ban Khong Sawan the well-known Wat Tham Klang Phen, and the new attraction, 150-Million -Year Shell Cemetery at Ban Huai Duea in Non Than Sub-District, about 11 kilometers before reaching Nong Bua Lamphu Province. The shell cemetery is found on a cliff, 50 meters high, filled with fossils of freshwater shells of the Jurassic Period, including fossils of ancient crocodiles, put up as an open museum for visitors, free of charge.

Udon Thani – Nong Khai Map Thailand

Category: Nong Khai, Udon Thani