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Travel Thailand, Nongkhai

Perched high above the southern bank, residents of Nong Khai have a panoramic view of the Mekong River and Laos on the opposite shore. Opened 1994, the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge shifted the focus to Nong Khai and its potential as a gateway for overland trips to Laos. Trade too shifted from markets in the town centre to the vicinity near the bridge, justoutside of town.

Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is just 25 km away. Nong Khai is 615 km from Bangkok and 56 km from Udon where there is an airport. Nong Khai is at the end of Highway 2 and the northern rail line of Isan. Ferries still ply the Mekong, although the bridge has taken over as the main conduit for trade and travel. The province is narrow and long with a 300 km border with Laos and the Mekong River in the north while it is just 50 km at its widest point.

Nongkhai Attractions:
Luang Pho Phra Sai the main Buddha image of the province, is enshrined at Wat Pho Chai. It is believed to have been cast in the Lan Chang period. Every year on the fullmoon day of the seventh lunar month (June), the Bang Fai Festival is held to pay homage.

Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge The first bridge across the Khong River linking Nong Khai with Tha Na Laeng in Laos, 20 kilometers from Vientiane. The bridge measures 1.2 kms. long. Foreigners wishing to visit Laos are required to have a passport and visa and travel with an authorized agency only. Traveling on one's own is not allowed in Laos.

Prap Ho Monument in front of the city hall was erected in 1876 to commemorate the suppression of a rebellion by Ho Chinese tribesmen.
It contains the remains of officials who lost their life in the conflict.

Phra That Bang Phuan, built in the reign of King Chaichetha of Satchanalai (mid 16th century), is an Indian-style pagoda. A large collection of Buddha relics is enshrined there. A ceremony is held in January every year.

Phra Chao Ong Tu at Wat Nam Mong in Tha Bo district is one of the most important Buddha images in Nong Khai. It is believed to have been built by King Chai Chetha in 1562.

Than Thong Waterfall in Sangkhom district, 83 km from Nong Khai, affords an excellent view of the Mekong River from a nearby hill. Further down the road just outside Sangkhom is Than Thip Waterfall, a narrow beautiful cascade comprised of three levels.

Phu Thok is a huge rock outcrop rising abruptly from a plain in Bung Kan district. A winding network of wooden staircases and walkways leads to the top, where there is a magnificent view of the surrounding area. Near the top is Wat Chetiya Khiri Viharn, a meditation temple. The climb involves stretches of walkway that cling to sheer cliffs, making it unsuitable for elderly visitors.

Wat Hin Mak Peng in Si Chiang Mai district is another well-known centre for meditation. The grounds of the sanctuary are tended to by Buddhist nuns who live in small chalet-like houses along the river bank.

One of Nong Khai's most popular attractions is Sala Kaew Ku or Wat Khaek. The grounds of this unusual temple are filled with strange statues depiction scenes and characters from Buddhist and Hindo lore. In an exhibition hall there are pictures of the founder of the temple, Luang Pho Bunleua, and a large collection of wooden and bronze images of Hindu and other deities. The temple is 5 km east of town on the Nong Khai-Phone Phisai highway.

 
 


 

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