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Nong Khai

Attractions > Northeast > Nong Khai

Attractions in Nong Khai province in Thailand

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Immediately north of Udon Thani and 615 km. from Bangkok, Nong Khai is an attractive tourist destination, both in its scenery and its cultural sights. The province of some 7,332 sq. km. forms a narrow strip strung out along the banks of the Mekong River for 330 km., which here forms the border with Lao P.D.R. This makes the provincial capital, located 51 km. north of Udon Thani, a major gateway to the Lao capital of Vientiane, a mere 24 km. away beyond the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge that spans the river. A small leafy town of considerable charm, Nong Khai draws much of its fascination from its riverside location and its role as a frontier post. However, interest is not limited to a simple matter of geography; there are several venerable temples and other sights, along with a tranquil, almost rural atmosphere, which make Nong Khai a satisfying destination in its own right as well as being a hopping off point for visits to Lao P.D.R.

Luang Pho Phra Sai, Wat Pho Chai



Illuminated boat



The Sadet Market



Illuminated boat



Wat Phu Thok



Phu Wua Wildlife Reserve



Illuminated Boat, Naga Fireball Festival



Vientiane, Lao P.D.R.



Pha That Luang, Vientiane



Khon kaen


City attractions
in Nong Khai

Wat Pho Chai

Situated off Prachak Road, in the southeastern part of town, the temple is renowned for enshrining the province's most revered Buddha image, Luang Pho Phra Sai, a smallish but stunning statue with a head of gold and a bronze body set on an elaborate altar. The image is believed to have come from Lao P.D.R. and murals in the temple illustrate the story of its being taken across the Mekong River on a raft, capsizing during a storm but miraculously floating ashore. During the Songkran Festival (13-15 April), the statue is taken in a procession around the town.

Prap Ho Monument

Located in front of the Provincial Hall, the Monument honours soldiers who died suppressing the Ho rebellion in 1886.

The Sadet Market

This is the landing stage for local people crossing the Mekong River to Tha Duea in Lao P.D.R. and is intriguing for its market selling Indochinese products as well as the province's local goods.

Phrathat Nong Khai

This temple collapsed into the Mekong River in 1847 and over the years, its chedi drifted to the centre or the river where it can be seen today when the water is low during the dry season.

Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge

This was the first international bridge to span the Mekong River. Opened on 8 April 1994, it was built as a joint venture by the governments of Australia, Thailand and Lao P.D.R. This bridge, l.2-km. long and 15-metres wide, is one of the best places to enjoy the beautiful sunsets over the Mekong River.

Sala Kaeo Ku

Located just outside town on the way to Amphoe Phon Phisai, Sala Kaeo Ku (also known as Wat Khaek or Indian Temple) comprises a religious park dotted with weird and wonderful statuary depicting Buddhist and Hindu gods, goddesses, saints, devils, and demons, as well as some secular sculptures. The park was established in 1978 by Luang Pu Luea, an old man who believed all religions should be integrated together and reputedly employed unskilled craftsmen to give his vision graphic realism.


Out of city attractions
in Nong Khai

Phrathat Bang Phuan

This venerable Indian-style chedi, located at Ban Don Mu, 11 km. from town on Highway No. 2 (Nong Khai-Udon Thani), and then 10 km. along Highway No. 211 (Nong Khai-Tha Bo), is 34-metres high and houses holy relics of the Lord Buddha. It underwent major renovations in 1976 after it collapsed due to rain, although original structures can be seen in the ruins of the temple hall, the temple boundary markers and an ancient stone inscription. There is also a small museum.

Luang Pho Phra Chao Ong Tue

Located at Wat Si Chom Phu Ong Tue, Ban Nam Mong on Highway No. 211, about 43 km. from town, this 4-metre high Buddha image is made of gold, bronze and silver. Built by Phra Chaiyachettha of Vientiane in 1562, the image is revered by both Thais and Laos.

Tha Bo

Along the Mekong River and west of Nong Khai town are a number of villages where traditional rural pursuits remain the main source of livelihood. Of these, Tha Bo is an important market centre where visitors can see a wide array of local produce, including tobacco and the area's most famous export, tomatoes.

Si Chiang Mai

Standing on the banks or the Mekong River 57 km. west of Nong Khai, Si Chiang Mai is a pleasant little town notable for its fine views of Vientiane, directly across the river, and for its production of the rice paper used to wrap spring rolls. Nearby attractions include Wat Hin Mak Peng, a meditation temple.

Namtok Than Thip or Namtok Tat Soem

Located at Ban Tat Soem, off Highway No. 211 at the 97-km. marker, the waterfall tumbles over three impressive tiers that are 30, 70 and 100 metres high, respectively. It is at its most beautiful from June to October, during the rainy season.

Nong Khai HorticulturaI Research Centre

Situated at the 63-km. marker along Highway No. 212 (Nong Khai-Bueng Kan) in King Amphoe Rattanawapi, the Centre has a vast variety of native plants as well as herb and flower gardens. Open 8.30 a.m.-4.30 p.m. daily. Tel. 0 4242 1679-80

Wat Phu Thok

Occupying a 200-metre high sandstone mountain isolated in an arid plain, Wat Phu Thok has been established as a meditation centre by constructing wooden stairs from the foot of the mountain and winding along the cliff face to the summit. Along the way, visitors can see an amazing variety of rock formations and caves, as well as breathtaking views. To get to Wat Phu Thok from Nong Khai, take Highway No. 212 past Amphoe Phon Phisai, Amphoe Pak Khat and Amphoe Bueng Kan, and then take a right onto Highway No. 222 to Amphoe Si Wilai and to Wat Phu Thok, a total distance of 185 km.

Phu Wua Wildlife Reserve

Located in Amphoe Bung Khla and covering an area of more than over 180 sq. km. near the Mekong River and the Thai-Lao border, the reserve is known for several waterfalls, best visited during the late rainy season from August to November. These include Namtok Chet Si, Namtok Tham Phra and Namtok Chanaen, the latter two being difficult to reach by road during the late rainy season. Contact the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department for more information.
Tel. 0 2562 0760

Travel to Lao P.D.R.

Foreign tourists wishing to visit Lao P.D.R. from Nong Khai need a visa, which can be obtained from the Lao Embassy, 520, 502/1-3 Soi Sahakan Pramoon (at the end of Soi Ramkhamhaeng 39) Pracha Uthit Road, Bangkok. Tel. 0 2539 6667-8, website:, or the Lao Consulate General,  171/102-3 Prachasamoson Road, Amphoe Mueang, Khon Kaen, Tel. 0 4324 2856-8; Fax. 0 4324 4918. Visas are valid for one month and can be extended for an additional two months. Alternatively, visas allowing a stay of up to 15 days and extendable by paying 100 baht per day may be obtained on arrival at the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge Checkpoint Tel. 0 4242 0242-3; Fax. 0 4242 0244 or 0 4246 7164 for more information about visas. To reach Lao P.D.R. shuttle bus services from Nong Khai cross the Friendship Bridge, and then from the checkpoint on the Lao side of the bridge. Visitors can hire a taxi to Vientiane, which is 20 km. away. The checkpoint is open daily 6.00 a.m-10.00 p.m. More information and details of package tours may be obtained from any of the tour operators in Nong Khai.

Special event in Nong Khai

Bang Fai Phaya Nak or Naga Fireball Festival

This is a mysterious and unexplained phenomenon in which fireballs are seen rising up from the Mekong River on the night at the end of Buddhist Lent usually in October. What appear as strange floating lights are visible from various riverside districts in Nong Khai, and this presumably natural spectacle attracts a great number of people. The event has become a festive occasion, and a friendship boat race between Thailand and Lao P.D.R. is staged as part of the celebrations.


Shopping in Nong Khai

Local buys include hand-woven clothes, basketry, silverware, foodstuffs, and imports from Lao P.D.R.



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