Nong Khai is a long thin province running along
the Mekong River, providing the main access to
Laos. Originally people went by boat from Tha Sadet, but the building of the Friendship Bridge across the Mekong has made Nong Khai a major centre for transport and trade with Laos.
Attractions include Wat Pho Chai, renowned for its large seated Buddha believed to have been cast in Lan Chang, and Phra That Nong Khai, an old chedi that slipped into the river and can now only be seen completely in the dry season.
Sala Kaeo Ku is a bizarre sculpture garden packed with statres of Shiva, Vishnu and Buddha as well as many other figures from Hindu and Thai culture. Phu Wua Wildlife Sanctuary near the Mekong River contains a number of beautiful waterfalls.
Nong Khai is 615 kilometres from Bangkok and has an area of 7,739 square kilometres. It consists of the following districts: Mueang Nong Khai, Bueng Kan, Phon Phisai, Tha Bo, Sangkhom, Seka, So Phisai, Si Chiang Mai, Phon Charoen, Pak Khat, Bueng Khong Long, Si Wilai, Bung Khla, Sa Khrai, Rattana Wapi, Fao Rai and Pho Tak.
How To Get There
From Bangkok, take Highway No. 1 to Saraburi and Highway No. 2 to Nakhon Ratchasima, then use Highway No.226 to Surin via Buri Ram, a total distance of 457 kilometres.
Buses depart from Bangkok's Mochit 2 Bus Terminal to Surin every day. Contact Transport Co.Ltd at Tel: 0 2936 2852-66 or visit www.transport.co.th for more information
Regular trains depart from Bangkok's Hua Lamphong Railway Station to Surin every day. Call 1690, 0 2223 7010-20or visit www.railway.co.th for more information.
Phu Wua Wildlife Reserve
Phu Wua Wildlife Reserve covers an area of over 180 square kilometres near the Mekong and the Thai-Lao border. Most of attractions in the area are waterfalls which are best visited during late rainy season (from August to November).
Namtok Tham Fun can be reached by taking Highway No. 212. Turn right at the sign, 7 kilometres before Bung Khla district and go along an access road for 4 kilometres.
Namtok Chet Si is a beautiful waterfall which can be reached by road via Phu Thok. If travelling along Highway 212, turn right at the sign, 12 kilometres before Bung Khla district and continue for 28 kilometres.
Other waterfalls including Namtok Phu Tham Phra and Namtok Chanaen which are difficult to be reached by road during the rainy season.
Foreign tourists wishing to visit Laos from Nong Khai must apply for visas at least 3 working days in advance at
- Lao Embassy, 520/1-3 Soi Ramkhamhaeng 39, Bang Kapi, Bangkok, Tel: 0 2539 6667 or
They can use the services of a number of tour operators in Nong Khai. The visa is valid for 1 month and visitors can extend for additional 2 months.
Visitors to Laos may obtain visas on arrival at the Immigration Office in Laos and are permitted to remain in Laos for 15 days.
Shuttle bus services crossing the bridge cost 20 baht per person. From the checkpoint in Laos visitors can hire a taxi to Vientiane which is 20 kilometres away and costs 500 baht. The checkpoint is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Major attractions in Vientiane are temples, museums, monuments and a morning market. Package tours cost approximately 800-1,500 baht for one-day trip and 2,000-2,600 baht for two-day trip. The prices vary according to the number of people in a group. Details can be obtained from tour operators in Nong Khai.
Hat Chom Mani
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.
Phrathat Bang Phuan
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 city lords.
Phrathat Nong Khai
Phrathat Nong Khai collapsed into the Mekong in 1847. Over the years the pagoda drifted to the centre of the river where it is seen today.
Prap Ho Monument
Prap Ho Monument is in front of the provincial hall. It honours soldiers who died suppressing the Ho rebellion in 1886.
Sala Kaeo Ku
Sala Kaeo Ku is full of strange statues according to the belief of a defunct sect. It is 3 kilometres from town on the way to Phon Phisai. Luang Pu Luea, an old man who believes all religions should be integrated together, set up the park in 1978 by allegedly using unskilled craftsman to carry out fine details. Sala Kaeo Ku features a large garden of statues depicting Buddhist and Hindu gods, goddesses, saints, devils, and demons, as well as some secular sculptures.
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.
Thai-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.
Wat Pho Chai
Situated in Nong Khai town, this temple houses Luang Pho Phra Sai, a beautiful gold Buddha image most sacred in the province.
Namtok Than Thip
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 season.
Namtok Than Thong
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.
Wat Hin Mak Peng
Wat Hin Mak Peng on the bank of the Mekong is at Ban Thai Charoen at Km. 64 of Highway No. 211, around 75 kilometres from Amphoe Mueang. The temple used to be the residence of Luang Pu Thet Thetrangsi, a monk with followers nationwide. Many Buddhists come here to meditate.
Phu Thok is a sandstone mountain 200 metres high standing all alone in Ban Kham Khaen in Tambon Na Sabaeng. The monk Phra Achan Chuan Kunchettho established a meditation centre here by constructing wooden stairs from the foot of the mountain winding along the cliff face to the summit. It took more than 5 years to build. Along the way, visitors can see many interesting spots, like the rock formation that is like a tunnel, a cave and the cliff. In addition, they can enjoy the magnificent view from high up. To get to Phu Thok from Nong Khai, take Highway No. 212 past Pho Chai, Pak Khat and Bueng Kan, then take a right onto Highway No. 222 to Si Wilai and to Phu Thok, totaling 185 kilometres. A distance from Bueng Kan to Phu Thok is 46 kilometres.
Luang Pho Phra Chao Ong Tue
Luang Pho Phra Chao Ong Tue is at Ban Nam Mong at Km. 31 of Highway No. 211, 43 kilometres from Amphoe Mueang. This Buddha image is 4 metres high and is made of gold, bronze and silver. It is the work of craftsmen from northern Thailand and Lan Chang. Built by Phra Chaiyachettha of Vientiane in 1562, the image is revered by Thais and Laos.