Udon Thani is on the main rail
line to Nong Khai and an important commercial centre on Highway
2. This arterial road cuts through the centre of Isan and
links Nong Khai on the northern border with Laos, Khon Kaen,
the gateway city in the heart of Isan, the southern gateway
Nakhon Ratchasima and Bangkok 560 km due south. The city also
has modern airport capable of handling wide-bodied aircraft.
Considered one of the more prosperous provinces in the Northeast,
Udon has thrived as a transport hub and agricultural market
centre for northern Isan. As overland travel to Laos expands
in combination with trips of northern Isan, Udon's airport
will play a more significant role. Udon is just 56 km south
of Nong Khai and the Friendship Bridge that spans the Mekong
Most of the tourist attractions are out of the city itself
which has a modern bustling ambience. Without doubt, the most
important site is Ban Chiang where excavations revealed a
civilization dating back 7,000 years.
Udon Thani Attractions: Nong Prachak is a sprawling
park in the north-west suburb of Udon. A gently rolling landscape,
large ponds and picturesque footbridges make this park a delightful
retreat from the surrounding bustle.
Udon Sunshine Fragrant Orchid Garden was established
as horticultural centre for orchid-raising 10 years ago. One
of its success is a new species called "Miss Udon Sunshine"
Ban Na Kha village in Muang district is well known
for "kid", an intricate cloth-weaving technique used to make
cotton fabrics and decorative items. Reasonably priced products
are on sale. Another village, Ban Thon, also specialists in
Ban Chiang, a village 56 km east of Udon, is the site
of an ancient culture in Thailand. Theagrarian people who
inhabited Ban Chiang 5,000 to 7,000 years ago were adept at
making bronze tools, but their clay pottery has attracted
the most attention. The vases, urns and assorted pots are
characterised by distinctive burnt orange swirl patterns.
A museum was established at the site near Wat Po Sri Nai
and is open daily from 0900 to 1600. Admission is Bt 10. An
exhibition hall displays an extensive collection of Ban Chiang
artifacts. An outdoor section was set up adjacent to where
the Fine Arts Department continues the excavations. In December
1992, Ban Chiang was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Both genuine Ban Chiang and fake pottery can be found at small
road side stalls. Note: It is illegal to export genuine Ban
Chiang artifacts. Even fake pottery could be confiscated. Even
fake pottery could be confiscated at the airport too, so it
not advisable to buy either.
Phu Phra Bat Historical Park is on the foothills of
the Phu Phan Mountains in Ban Phu district, 68 km north-west
of Udon. The park is full of bizarre rock formations and shrines
built around the boulders. A rocky plain called Non Sao Eh
stone was the inspiration for a local tale "Nang Usa
and Tao Baros"
Several temples and Buddhist shrines are located in the park.
Sema stone markers and high relief sandstone Dvaravati-era
Buddha images can also be seen. Evidence of prehistoric cultures
can be found in a number of caves where there are wall paintings
of humans and animals.
A shrine at Wat Phra Buddha Bat Bua Bok, near the entrance
of the park, contains the Bua Bok Buddha footprint. Two caves
south-east of the monastery- Tham Lai Meu and tham Non Sao
Eh - and another two to the west - Tham Khon and Tham Wua
are important places to visit for Isan residents. The wall
paintings and the nearby art of monastery illustrate the progression
of art forms over centuries.
Yung Thong Waterfall, in Nam Som district 105 km from
Udon Thani, is a picturesque triple-level cascade in the Phu