Nong Khai is the capital of Nong Khai province in the Isan, the North-Eastern region of Thailand. The city, at 615 kilometers from Bangkok, is located on the western bank of the Mae Nam Kong (Mekong River); only 25 kilometers from Vientiane, the capital of Laos, in fact is the main access to Laos
Nong Khai is a very quiet Thai town, most locals are very friendly and helpful and many of them speak a little bit of English. The town has strong Lao influences, is home also to small Chinese and Vietnamese population as well.
The scenery around Nong Khai and along the Mekong River comprises forests and sweeping landscapes, the area kept the feeling of a local Thai town. There are many guesthouses and restaurants offering not only Thai food, but also yummy Vietnamese, Lao and western food. Visitors can cross the river into neighboring Laos by using the Friendship Bridge; visitors can also buy handicrafts of the region and neighboring Laos. A visit to this relaxing town is an excellent idea.
Nong Khai features a variety of attractions for visitors which includes:
- Wat Pho Chai, the home of Luangpho Phra Sai, a large seated Buddha believed to have been cast in Lan Xang (Lan Chang) Empire.
- Sala Keoku, also spelled Sala Kaew Koo, Salakaewkoo, etc, also known as Wat Khaek and located 6 km east of Nong Khai, is a peculiar sculpture garden packed with fantastic statues of Shiva, Vishnu, Buddha, human-animal hybrids as well as many other figures from Hindu and Buddhist culture.
- Phu Wua Wildlife Sanctuary near the Mekong River contains forested hills, beautiful waterfalls and wildlife such as elephants, tigers, bears and gibbons.
- Tha Sadet market town is the point for local trade between Nong Khai and neighboring Laos, the market is often called the “Indochina Market”.
- Phu Thok (“isolated mountain” in Isan dialect), located in Amphoe Buang Kan, is a huge outcropping of rock, because of its tranquility is a Meditation Centre.
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