is a border town on the bank of the Mekong River. This province
is a gateway to Vientiane, the capital of the Lao People’s Democratic
Republic (Lao PDR.), and a friendship bridge links the two countries.
It is also the site of the famous Naga Fireballs.
of modern Nong Khai dates back over 200 years. Initially however,
this riverside area was spotted with small towns and traces of ancient
places have been found in temples along the Mekong River. During
the reign of King Rama III of the Rattanakosin era, Chao Anuwong,
the ruler of Vientiane, staged a rebellion. King Rama III appointed
Chao Phraya Ratchathewi to lead an army to attack Vientiane. The
army won with the support of forces led by Thao Suwothanma (Bunma),
ruler of Yasothon, and Phraya Chiangsa. The king consequently promoted
Thao Suwo to be ruler of a large town to be established on the right
bank of the Mekong River. The location of Ban Phai was chosen for
the town called Nong Khai, which was named after a large pond that
lies just to its west. Nong Khai province contains the longest stretch
of the Mekong River: 320 km. The area is suitable for agriculture
and freshwater fishery. It is also a major tourist destination and
the major launching point for journeys into Laos or exploring greater
Isan (northeastern Thailand). Nong Khai features temples, traditional
culture, a beautiful countryside, and a rural folk lifestyle, the
most lively event of which centers on the Bung Fi Phaya Nak, the
naga fireballs: an annual event whereby mysterious glowing balls
of light rise up out of the river, believed to be sent by the naga
king in honor of the lord Buddha.
Khai is a border town on the bank of the Mekong River opposite the
Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR.). A friendship bridge
links the two countries and Nong Khai is a popular stop for travelers
headed to Vientiane and greater Laos. Nong Khai has a charming capital
city and the province features a number of beautiful natural attractions
and a fascinating culture. Mud Mee, a special style of silk that
is popular with the Thai royal family, is produced in Nong Khai
and the naga fireballs, a mysterious annual event, takes place in
the Mekong River not far from town.
naga fireball phenomenon occurs most often on Wan Awk Pansa, the
full moon night of the 11th month of the lunar year that signifies
the end of Buddhist rain retreat, usually in October.
rooms fill quickly before the Naga Fireballs; book a room in advance!
TO NONG KHAI
in Nong Khai, Thailand
As a major northern hub
for travel around northeastern Thailand and neighboring Laos, Nong
Khai can be reached via private car, bus, train, or airplane. There
are numerous ways of getting across the border to and from Laos,
including bus and train. In Nong Khai town there are standard forms
of local transport available for visitors: i.e. songtaew, motorbike
taxi, and tuk tuk for local and regional transportation.
to and from Nong Khai
The State Railway of Thailand has daily train service from Bangkok
to Nong Khai that takes around 10 ? hours. For further information,
contact the travel service unit, Tel. 1690, 0 2220 4334, 0 2220
4444, or visit www.railway.co.th.
also now travel between Bangkok and Vientiane by train, as a new
rail link opened in March 2009 that crosses the Friendship Bridge
connecting Nong Khai to a new international rail terminal at Tha
Naleng, about 13km from central Vientiane.
From Bangkok, drive along Highway No.1(Phahonyothin Road), past
Saraburi and switch to Highway No.2 (Mittraphap Road) passing through
Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, and Udon Thani to Nong Khai, a total
distance of 615 km and a 9-10 hour drive.
The Transport Company Limited has a regular service of ordinary
and air-conditioned busses from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal
(Mo Chit 2/Chatuchak) to Nong Khai every day. For further information,
contact the Mo Chit 2 Bus Terminal, Tel. 0 2936 2852-66, or visit
the website www.transport.co.th.
there are private bus services that also connect Bangkok to Nong
Khai: 407 Phatthana, Tel. 0 2992 3475-8, 0 4241 1261; Chan Tour
Limited, Tel. 0 2618 7418, 0 4241 2195; Barami Tour, Tel. 0 2537
8249, 0 4246 0345; and Cherdchai Tour, Tel. 0 2936 0253, 0 4246
the Nong Khai Bus Terminal, there is a bus service from Nong Khai
to Loei, passing through Amphoe Tha Bo, Amphoe Si Chiang Mai and
Amphoe Sangkhom in Nong Khai, and Amphoe Chiang Khan in Loei. The
route runs along the Mekong River and there are guesthouses available
for visitors who wish to stop along the way.
Vientiane to Nong Khai, one can take a short bus across the border
and the friendship bridge. The bus station to Nong Khai is near
the Thai embassy in the east of Vientiane, opposite the Morning
market on Mahosot Road. You must show your passport and visitors
of many nations may enter Thailand without a visa on a visa waiver.
Check with the Thai embassy if you are uncertain if you qualify.
to Nong Khai services the Nong Khai Bus Station. Those who wish
to go to the train station should get a tuk tuk immediately after
clearing the Thai immigration checkpoint.
from Nong Khai to Vientiane, visitors from outside of ASEAN nations
can apply for visas at the border. From the Thai Border at Nong
Khai it is 22km to Vientiane. For trips in either direction, the
Friendship Bridge closes at 10pm.
Although there are no regular commercial flights to Nong Khai, AirAsia,
Nok Air, and Thai Airways all have daily service to Udon Thani,
a 51 km bus ride away from Nong Khai that takes about one hour.
one can fly internationally into Vientiane Airport on Laos Airlines
or on Thai Airways from Chiang Mai and take a short trip to the
border crossing and onto Nong Khai.
Around Nong Khai
in most rural Thai provinces there are typically songtaews that
follow established routes around the provincial capital and between
towns within the province. Songtaews, motorbike taxis, and a form
of tuk tuk, called a “skylab” are usually available for private
charter as well. Visitors can also use car rental services operated
by many tour companies in town.
As a principally rural and agricultural area, Nong Khai has limited
activities other than appreciating its beautiful geography and fascinating
culture. Those who enjoy the outdoors, however, have a number of
activities they can participate in, such as fishing and trekking.
As one of the premier tourist destinations in Thailand, Nong Khai
has a variety of attractions, ensuring that visitors with any interest
will find something to keep them entertained on their Nong Khai
holiday. The following are some of the most popular attractions
in Nong Khai:
Culture & Heritage
– Lao Friendship Bridge
Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge is the first international bridge spanning
the Mekong. The bridge was built jointly by the governments of
Australia, Thailand and Laos. It was opened in April 8, 1994.
Located in front of the old city hall. The cremated bones of those
who lost their lives in the suppression of the Ho in 1886 have
been contained inside the monument which was built by an order
of Luang Prachaksinlapakhom, the suppression commander, to honour
the good deeds of those who sacrificed their own lives for the
nation. There are inscriptions in Chinese, English, Laotian and
Thai on all four directions of the monument. A worshipping ceremony
and a fair to celebrate the monument are held every year on 5
Pho Phra Chao Ong Tue
Housed in Wat Si Chomphu Ong Tue, Ban Nam Mong. This large Buddha
image was cast from bronze by the royal artisans of the northern
city and Lan Chang. Having graceful features, the 4 metre-high
image is sitting cross-legged in the attitude of subduing Mara
with a lap width of 3.29 m. It is a holy image which has gained
much respect from the peoples on both of the banks of the Mekong
River. According to a stone inscription, this image was built
in 1562 by the royal command of Phra Chaiyachettha, King of Nakhon
Wiang. The metals used included gold, brass, and silver, weighing
a total of one Tue (an ancient scale of Isan) and it took seven
years and seven months to finish the cast. The province has a
fair to pay homage to Luangpho Phrachao Ong Tue every year on
the full moon day in the fourth lunar month.
get there : From the town of Nong Khai, take Highway 2 to Udon
Thani and switch to Highway 211 (Nong Khai – Tha Bo). At Km 31,
follow a road sign on the left to the temple for around 1 km.
Kaeo Ku or Wat Khaek
Located 3 km. from the town of Nong Khai on the right side of
the route to Phon Phisai. Presently, it is under the care of the
Nong Khai Buddhist Association. This place which looks like an
open museum of religious statues was created with an inspiration
of Luangpu Bunluea Surirat who built it around 1978, out of his
own belief that the teachings of all regions could be mixed together.
Therefore, there are Buddha images in different attitudes, Hindu
gods, Christian religious icons, as well as character figures
from the Ramayana epic and folk legends. It is open daily during
07.00 - 17.00 hrs. Admission fee is 10 Baht per person.
Phrathat Bang Phuan is at Ban Don Mu, 11 kilometres from town
on the Nong Khai-Udon Thani road, then a road on the right onto
Highway No. 211 to Tha Bo for 10 kilometres. This old pagoda is
34 metres high and houses the holy relics of Lord Buddha. It underwent
major renovation in 1976 because the original fired brick pagoda
collapsed. The temple still has the old pagoda, temple boundary
markers and an ancient stone inscription. Furthermore, there is
an ancient pool from which water was once used in blessing past
Phrathat Nong Khai collapsed into the Mekong in 1847. Over the
years the pagoda drifted to the centre of the river where it is
A royal temple, located on Pho Chai Road in the Mueang Nong Khai
Municipality. Luangpho Phra Sai, a sacred Buddha image of the
town which is respected by the people of Nong Khai, is housed
here. This Buddha image sitting cross-legged, which was cast from
bright yellow gold in the posture of subduing Mara, has graceful
features. According to legend, three daughters of the King of
Lan Chang had three Buddha images cast and named each to associate
with their names: Phra Soem, Phra Suk, and Phra Sai to the eldest,
middle, and youngest siblings, respectively. Originally, the three
images were housed in Vientiane. In the reign of King Rama III,
they were invited to Nong Khai by boat. On the way to Nong Khai,
Phra Suk was drowned by a storm. Phra Soem and Phra Sai were invited
to house in Nong Khai. Later on, in the reign of King Rama IV,
Phra Soem was taken to Bangkok. Phra Sai is still housed at Wat
Pho Chai in Nong Khai. Every year on the full moon day in the
seventh lunar month, the people of Nong Khai always hold a rocket
merit-making fair or Bun Bang Fai to worship Phra Sai at Wat Pho
Hin Mak Peng
Located at Ban Thai Charoen, Tambon Phra Phutthabat. The temple
compound is spacious, clean and shady with various species of
plants amidst tranquility. Its area on one side borders the Mekong
River where a scenic view can be seen. Originally, this place
was a Dharma practice place of Luangpu Thet Thetrangsi, a famous
meditation master of Isan, who initiated it as a Dharma practice
centre for Buddhist monks, nuns and pilgrims. After his death,
a Chedi was built to enshrine his remains. Inside the temple,
there is a statue of Luangpu Thet on display with the eight requisites
(the three robes, the bowl, a razor, a needle, the girdle and
a water-strainer) and his biography.
To get there : Wat Hin Mak Peng is 75 km. from town. Take Highway
211 (Nong Khai – Si Chiang Mai) and switch to Highway 2186. The
temple is on your right.
Namtok Than Thong is in Ban Pha Tang at Km. 74 of Highway No.
211, 11 kilometres before arriving in Sangkhom district office
and 83 kilometres from Amphoe Muang. The waterfall is 30 metres
high and falls down to the Mekong. Below is a large pool suitable
for swimming. There is water only in the rainy season.
Namtok Than Thip is at Ban Tat Som in Tambon Ban Muang at Km.
97 on Highway No. 211, then take a left for 2 kilometres. This
three-level waterfall is 30 metre-high, 100 metre-high and 70
metre-high, respectively. It is at its most beautiful in the rainy
Hat Chom Mani is a sandy beach on the Mekong River, 2 kilometres
from town. The beach occurs during the dry season in April. The
locals and tourists enjoy a day out here.
Phu Thok means an isolated mountain in Isan dialect. Located in
Ban Na Kham Khaen, Tambon Na Sabaeng, this sandstone range stands
out and can be seen from a distance. It consists of two hills:
Phu Thok Yai and Phu Thok Noi. Previously, this area was dense
woods with many wild animals. Because of its tranquility, Phra
Achan Chuan Kunlachettho, a meditation master, initially established
a meditation place here for Buddhists to practise the Buddha’s
teachings.Phu Thok Noi is where Wat Chetiya Khiri Wihan (Wat Phu
Thok) is situated. This temple is the starting point of a walk
up to the top of Phu Thok, via a wooden bridge winding around
the steep mountain. The bridge was built with faith from monks,
novices and villagers. The construction began in 1969 and took
five years to complete. This bridge is compared to a path of virtue
that leads a righteous man to leave a world and enter into emancipation
by their own efforts and determination. Phu Thok is still a meditation
practice centre and a place for the community’s religious affairs.
Visitors shall be calm in manner and pay respect to the place.
The bridge’s stairs to the mountain top are divided into seven
sections.The first and second sections leading to the third section
wind around the mountain which is covered by a dense dark forest
with boulders and rocky grounds. At the end of the third section,
a left turn is a very steep shortcut through the channel-like
rock formation straight to the fifth section, but a right turn
provides a path up to the fourth section.The fourth section climbs
around the mountain and overlooks small hills dotting the ground
below called “Dong Chomphu” whose area to the west borders Phu
Langka which is a rain forest in Amphoe Seka. Here, it is a residence
for nuns. The section is around 400 m in circumference and is
provided with rest areas here and there along the path.The fifth
section has pavilions and monk’s residences. There are several
caves along the route to the sixth section. Many spacious rest
areas are available on the sixth section, including cliffs, such
as Pha Thep Nimit, Pha Hua Chang, Pha Thep Sathit, etc. To the
north, visitors can see a natural stone bridge to Phra Wihan (hall)
where the Lord Buddha’s relics are enshrined. Here, a mountainous
line of Phu Thok Yai can be seen clearly. Most visitors often
end their walk here. Since a further move to the seventh section
goes along the winding bridge which clings to an edge of the high
steep cliff, for around 400 m before reaching the shady forested
hilltop destination. To visitors, this may seem horrifying and
too dangerous.To get there Phu Thok is around 185 km. from the
town of Nong Khai. Take Highway 212, past Pho Chai, Pak Khat and
Bueng Kan districts. Then, turn left to take Highway 222 and head
for Si Wilai district. From Si Wilai, take a left turn and go
on for another 30 km., past Ban Na Sing, Ban Sai Ngam, to Ban
Na Kham Khaen and Phu Thok.
Wua Wildlife Reserve
Phu Wua Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Ban Don Chik; 3 km from
Bung Khla district and take a right turn for a further trip of
around 6 km. It has an area of around 186 sq. km. or 116,562 rai,
covering some part of Bueng Kan, Bung Khla, Seka and Bueng Khong
Long districts, and nearly bordering Laos. This sanctuary is around
150-300 m above sea level. Types of forest here are mostly Deciduous
Dipterocarp Forest, Dry Evergreen Forest and Moist Evergreen Forest.
Some parts of the area are sandstone mountain ridges, rocky grounds
and grass fields.
Tham Fun is located in Ban Phu Sawat, Tambon Nong Doen. Drive
on Highway 212, and 7 km. before reaching Bung Khla district,
turn right to go on for around 4 km. The waterfall is encompassed
by a timber forest with a scenic view of the northern Phu Wua.
A walking trail passes a rocky ground to the cascade which is
seen along the long narrow channel on the sandstone cliff. There
is water only in the rainy season.
Chet Si is located in Ban Don Siat, Tambon Ban Tong, Amphoe
Seka. This very beautiful waterfall, especially during the rainy
season, originates from a stream of Huai Ka-am and flows along
a high sandstone cliff to spread over a long line. The falling
water that hits the rocks below causes a spray of water which
gives rainbow colours when seen in sunlight. So came the name
“Namtok Chet Si,” which means a waterfall of seven colours.
get there Drive on Highway 212, and 12 km. before reaching Bung
Khla district, turn right at Ban Chai Phon. Head for the waterfall,
past Ban Phu Ngoen and Ban Don Siat, for 28 km. Or from Phu Thok,
take the route via Ban Na Tong and Ban Don Siat, totalling 14
Phu Tham Phra is located in Ban Tham Phra, Tambon Sok Kam,
Amphoe Seka. It is around 34 km. from Seka district. Like other
waterfalls at Phu Wua, it has water only in the rainy season.
A monastic residence or Samnak Song here is tranquil and shady.
Walking down to the rocky ground at the back, visitors will find
a valley with a deep bottom of around 200 sq. m. where a waterfall
flows down the valley. The waterfall is on a cliff of around 100
m wide and 50 m high. Visitors can play in the pool.
get there It is rather a difficult trip. From Bung Khla district,
drive on Highway 212 for 24 km. to Ban Tha Dok Kham. Turn right
to take a dirt road to Huai Bang Bat and go further by boat to
Chanaen is located in Ban Phu Ngoen, Amphoe Seka. Originally,
it was called “Namtok Tat Sanaen.” “Tat” literally means a place
where water flows. “Sanaen” refers to “summit” or “excellence.”
This waterfall has its origin from Lam Huai Sanaen. It is 100
m wide and has two tiers with an interval of 300 m. This is a
large and beautiful waterfall which has water only in the rainy
season. The path to the waterfall passes Khua Hin or a natural
stone bridge of around 100 m long, where a phenomenon of water
disappearing under the bridge can be witnessed. A walk up to the
second tier passes along a stream dotted with boulders. Following
the stream on its left bank, visitors will find a broad ground
by a large pool. There is another small waterfall called Namtok
Bueng Chorakhe, rushing down to the pool.
get there Use the same route to Namtok Chet Si. Take the Ban Chai
Phon – Ban Phu Ngoen route for 13 km. Follow a small road off
the route for another 5 km. Go further for the final distance
on a bumpy narrow dirt road accessible by only motorcycle.
Located on the route from Nong Song Hong to Amphoe Tha Bo. Here,
bamboo trays are seen with Krayo pastry being sun-dried along
the roadsides. Krayo pastry is used for Vietnamese food such as
Popia (spring rolls) and Naem Nueang (wrap of pork and vegetables
with spicy sauce). Krayo pastry is an export product as well.
Tobacco-making Village is along the route from Amphoe Mueang to
Amphoe Tha Bo on Highway 211. The villagers grow tobacco plantations
along the area parallel to the Mekong River. Here, there are picturesque
views of nature.
Tha Sadet is the port for local people crossing the Mekong River
to Tha Duea in Laos. There is a market for Indo-Chinese and eastern
European products, as well as the provinces local goods.
Located in Tambon Kong Nang on the Tha Bo – Si Chiang Mai route.
The villagers here have freshwater fishery as a profession. Freshwater
species of fish raised in their farms are Pla Taphian, Pla Nai,
Pla Nuan Chan, Pla Yisok Thet, Pla Klet Ngoen, Pla Hua To, Pla
Duk Thet, etc. Their produce is delivered for sale in Bangkok,
the North and Isan regions.