Day 1 : Nong Khai
– Wat Pho Chai
– Lan Phaya Nak on a cultural promenade, in front of Wat Lamduan
– Wat Pha Tak Suea
– Pan Khot Saen Khrai
Day 2 : Udon Thani
– Phu Phra Bat Historical Park
– Ban Chiang National Museum
– Ban Chiang Street Art
– Wat Santi Vanaram
– Na Kha Fabric Market
Wat Pho Chai
Let’s start by worshipping the invaluable Buddha statue of Nong Khai.
Wat Pho Chai is a well-known and ancient temple of Nong Khai. In the beginning, this was an abandoned temple named ‘Wat Phi Phio’. Next, in the Rattanakosin period, the temple was renovated, and elevated to be a royal temple and renamed ‘Wat Pho Chai’ like nowadays.
In front of the Ubosot (chapel), there is a pagoda of the arahants’ relics. The relic hall of the pagoda is decorated by a giant sculpture, so the Nong Khai people call it the ‘Giant Pagoda’.
Phra Sai, a gorgeous and bronze Buddha statue in the posture of Subduing Mara, is placed in the Ubosot. It’s highly respected by the Nong Khai people.
In addition, there are a number of murals related to the Buddha’s biography, Thep Chumnum, folk legend, History of Phra Suk, Phra Soem and Phra Sai, and twelve-month traditions of Isan.
Prachak Road, Nai Mueang sub-district, Mueang Nong Khai district, Nong Khai
Tel. 0 4246 1123, 0 4241 1128
Open daily 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Lan Phaya Nak on a cultural promenade, in front of Wat Lamduan
Not far from the temple, I’ll guide you to invite a large Phaya Nak, which is one of the important landmarks of Nong Khai, on the bank of the Mekong River and in front of Wat Lamduan.
In the evening, many people usually take a walk, relax, and do exercise there.
Soi Rim Khong, Nai Mueang sub-district, Mueang Nong Khai district, Nong Khai
After taking a walk along the bank of the Mekong River, let’s enjoy a high-angle view.
Wat Pha Tak Suea
In the beginning, the name of the temple was called ‘Tham Phra (cave of the monk)’ built for dharma and the ascetic practice of monks. Then, the Buddha’s relics were brought in 2007 for people to pay respect.
At the top of the temple, there is a tetrahedron Ubosot and Phaya Nak stairs stretching to the Ubosot.
The highlight of this temple is the horseshoe shaped ‘Sky Walk’, sticking out on the cliff. The distance of the Sky Walk is 16 metres long. It can also support no more than 20 tourists or around 2,500 kilogrammes.
At the viewpoint, you will see the tremendous Mekong River, which divides Thai-Lao boundary.
Ban Dong Tong, Pha Tang sub-district, Sang Khom district, Nong Khai
Tel. 0 4290 1013
Open daily 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Pan Khot Saen Khrai
Just viewing the Mekong River is not enough. Let me take you all to go sightseeing on the boat to see the beauty of nature along the Mekong River.
Pan Khot Saen Khrai is a destination in the Mekong River consisting of various shaped rocks showing up over the water’s surface.
Moreover, you can see the way of the villagers’ life, which is gold panning in the Mekong River. They always do that during low tide.
When would be the best time to visit Pan Khot Saen Khrai? The suitable season should be summer because you can clearly see various shaped rocks in the middle of the river.
Ban Muang sub-district, Sang Khom district, Nong Khai
Boat service, Tel. 09 6802 3339 (Lung Ngoen)
Fee: 350 Baht/ boat, 3-4 people
Board the boat before 4 p.m.
Day 2: Let’s journey to tourist attractions in Udon Thani, which is one of the most ancient civilisations in the world.
Phu Phra Bat Historical Park
Phu Phra Bat Historical Park displays human civilisation and landscape changes. Most of its structures are sandstone naturally eroded to be various shapes of rock. According to archaeological evidence, it was found that this historical park is older than 3,000 years.
This park also has a folk legend named ‘Nang Usa – Tao Barot’, a made up tragic love story of Nang Usa related to many places in the Park.
‘Bua Bok Buddha’s Footprint’ in Wat Phra Phutthabat Bua Bok is on the left of the intersection before getting to the historical park office. This temple is the place where the Buddha’s Footprint was discovered. Plenty of Bua Bok (Gotu kola) grow around here. That is the origin of the name of the ‘Bua Bok Buddha’s Footprint’. Besides, the Footprint is covered by pagoda. There are Buddha’s relics in there as well.
Furthermore, the Bua Bok Buddha’s Footprint celebration event will be held yearly on the 13th day of the waxing moon to full moon of the 3rd month. (February)
‘Nang Usa Tower’ is characterised by a large natural stone shed. It is caused by natural processes. This occurred from the 12th to 16th centuries, like a mushroom shape. It is located in the middle of a wide stone courtyard, it is a beautiful point and symbol of the Park.
According to legend, when Nang Usa grew up, she became a beautiful girl. She was surrounded by a young man. Tao Kongphan was jealous of her, so he went to build a high-rise palace on the mountain, so that she could live and study the subjects from the Chanta hermit. It is believed that this place is Usa’s Tower.
The next stop is “Phra Cave”, a low stone shed converted into a Buddhist religious site. On the wall beneath the stone shed there is a carved Buddha. There is a mixture of fine art that is a combination of Dvaravati and Khmer (Lop Buri) Art. It is assumed that this place should be aged in the 16th – 18th centuries.
‘Ku Nang Usa’ is a stone shed. It is assumed that, this may have been a place for Buddhist ceremonies or a sacred place in the Dvaravati era.
According to legend, Nang Usa was bullied by the other wives of Thao Baros, so she came back to Phan and missed Thao Baros so much she almost died. When Thao Baros returned from a long trip, he rushed to find Usa. She died in her husband’s arms. Therefore, Thao Baros used this place for the ashes of Nang Usa.
‘Tham Wua – Tham Khon’ is a historical painting site. The stone shed is a large shack. The paintings are combined with the red and white. Original colors with more added later. It is divided into two sides. On the first side, is a portrait of 7 people. According to legend, it is the image of the king whose babysitter painted for Nang Usa, so that she would point out who would be her suitable husband-to-be. On the other side, there is a painting of animals like mouse-deer and cow.
At the foot of Mount Phu Phan, Ban Thio, Mueang Phan sub-district, Ban Phue district, Udon Thani
Tel. 08 8160 8956
Admission fee 100 Baht
Open daily 8 a.m. – 4.30 p.m.
Wat Santi Wanaram
Wat Santi Wanaram, also known as “Wat Pa Dong Rai”, is a Buddhist park with an area of approximately 1,100 rai, surrounded by nature.
The highlight is the 19-metre-high lotus temple, and there are also twin naga statues in front of the walkway to the temple.
A white Buddha statue is enshrined inside the temple, and there are some murals of Buddhist history.
Wat Santi Wanaram is also a place for meditation.
Moo 11, Ban Chiang sub-district, Nong Han district, Udon Thani
Tel. 08 6229 7739
Open daily 7 a.m. – 6.30 p.m.
Ban Chiang National Museum
The 5,600-1,800 year pre-historic archaeological site is an important historical site of Thailand and also registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Pre-historic and 5,000-year-ago human lives are exhibited inside the Museum.
‘Kanlayani Wattana Building’ is the main building in the exhibition, including visiting the excavation pit of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great, antiques, as well as archaeological and historical works of Ban Chiang.
‘Wat Pho Si Nai excavation pit’ is Thailand’s first outdoor museum. It is located in Wat Pho Si Nai, and is an archaeological site. There is a large excavation pit, which contains various antiques, some ancient human skeletons and some good pottery. This is 500 metres from the Ban Chiang National Museum.
Wat Pho Si Nai excavation pits have been closed for renovation since June, for 6 months.
Sutthipong Road, Ban Chiang sub-district, Nong Han district, Udon Thani
Tel. 0 4223 5040
Entrance fee 150 Baht
**Except students in uniform, people with disabilities, the elderly (Thais), monks, novices and priests of various religions.
Open Tuesday-Sunday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Apart from the museum, there are also some cool places for art visitors to take photos.
Ban Chiang Street Art
Ban Chiang Street Art is a street that has the uniqueness of Ban Chiang through cute cartoon paintings and clearly reflects the culture of Ban Chiang. For those who love photography, they shouldn’t miss it.
Ban Chiang sub-district, Nong Han district, Udon Thani
Nakha Fabric Market
Before returning, you need to have some souvenirs at Nakha Fabric Market, which is the centre of traditional fabric handicrafts.
Most of the products are Mi Khit or a silk-Khit pattern, which is unique fabric of Northeast Thailand
In addition, each store sells other fabric products, such as, cotton shirts and traditional patterned scarves, cushions and bags.
Ban Khao sub-district, Mueang Udon Thani district, Udon Thani
Tel. 08 5013 1060, 08 7230 0300
Open daily 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.