Continuing articles on the provinces of the North-East:
Nong Khai province contains the longest stretch of the Mekong River: 320 km It is also a major tourist destination and the major launching point for journeys into Laos or exploring greater Isan (northeastern Thailand). Nong Khai features temples, traditional Culture, a beautiful countryside, and a rural folk lifestyle, the most lively EVENT of which centres on the Bung Fi Phaya Nak, the naga fireballs: an annual event whereby mysterious glowing balls of light rise up out of the river, believed to be sent by the naga king in honour of the Lord Buddha.
Nong Khai is a border town on the bank of the Mekong River opposite the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR.). A friendship bridge links the two countries and Nong Khai is a popular stop for travellers headed to Vientiane and greater Laos. Mud Mee, a special style of silk that is popular with the Thai royal family, is produced in Nong Khai and the naga fireballs, a mysterious annual event, takes place in the Mekong River not far from town.
Things to do In Nong Khai:
1. Luangpho Phra Sai at Wat Pho Chai
Luangpho Phra Sai at wat pho Chai is situated on PhrachakSinlapakhom Road in the townmunicipality’s area. Wat Pho Chai is a royal Temple enshrining LuangphoPhra Sai, a sacred Buddha image of the City, which is much revered by the NongKhai people. Every year, during the Songkran Festival, the image will be paraded around the town for people to pour water onto and pay homage.
2. ThaSadet Market (Indochina Market)
Located on the Mekong Riverside in the NongKhai Municipality, ThaSadet Market is a centre of products from Indochina and Eastern Europe; for example, dried Food, processed food, and consumer products like electrical appliances, clothes, watches, and kitchenware. Open daily between 7.00 a.m.-6.00 p.m. In addition, visitors can stop by to try the famous NaemNueang (Vietnamese wrapfood) at DaengNaemNueang.
3. PhrathatKlang Nam (PhrathatNongKhai or Phrathat La Nong)
Is a broken stupa located in the middle of the Mekong River, which houses the nine pieces of the Buddha’s foot bones according to the Urangkhathat (PhrathatPhanom) legend. The stupa with the base measuring 17.2 metres wide on each side and about 28.5 metres high was broken into 3 pieces. It was assumed to be have been built around the 15th-17th centuries,as its shape looks like Phrathat Bang Phuan. When the water level in the Mekong River decreases, we can clearly see the base of the stupa amid the river. Today, a replica stupa, known as Phrathat La Nongwas built and is located nearby.
4. Phrathat Bang Phuan
Situated in Wat Phrathat Bang Phuan, Ban Don Mu, Tambon Phrathat Bang Phuan, the ancient stupa enshrining the Buddha’s relics has been long revered by the people of NongKhai. The Temple’s compound also features many other interesting ancient monuments; for example,Satta Mahasathan or the seven important places in the History of the Lord Buddha after his enlightenment, as well asthe Mutchalin Pond orSa Pappharanakorthe Great Serpent Pond. In the past, when a new governor was appointed, the water from this pond would be used for bathing for auspiciousness.
It was assumed to be have been built around the 15th-17th centuries,as its shape looks like Phrathat Bang Phuan. When the water level in the Mekong River decreases, we can clearly see the base of the stupa amid the river. Today, a replica stupa, known as Phrathat La Nongwas built andis located nearby.
5. Wat Thai (PhayaNak Cave)/PhayaPhisaiSattanakharat/The End of Buddhist Lent and Rocket Festival
Located at 327Mu 1, Ban chumphon, Phisai Soradet Road, Soi Sukhaphiban 16,Tambon Chumphon, Amphoe PhonPhisai, NongKhai, the Temple covers an area of approximately 5 rai 1 ngan and 28 square wa (approximately 8,512 square metres). The History of the construction of the Serpent king, Naga Rachaiyan, and the inspiration of building the nine-headed Naga and the duplication of the underworld cave said that it was built in 2007, which was the centenary of the establishment of Amphoe PhonPhisai, Nong Khai province. Inside the temple is the 19-metre tall black great serpent statue as guardian at the entrance of the underworld, the figure of Nak Bat or Nak Kin Nak (Naga swallowing Naga) as a symbol of the town’s fertility, the triangular sacred City pillar of the underworld, the entrance gate to the underworld and the 7-chamber tunnel cave of the underworld. It is believed that anyone who goes under the cave will be fortunate and their wish will come true. Moreover, the provincial authority built the statue of Phraya Phisai Sattanakharat as the new Landmark close by, for people to pay respect. In addition, on the full moon day of the 11th lunar month or the End of the Buddhist Lent (October), many tourists and the public will come to witness the phenomenon of Naga Fireballs every year.
Situated in Wat Pha search-result/tagword/Tak”>Tak Suea, the skywalk was built in a form of horseshoe floored with the strong and durable 4-centimetre thick clear tampered laminated glass, which is iron clamped and attached to the rock foundation of the cliff. The total walking distance is 16 metres,of which the clear glass walk way part is 15 metres long while the walkway part that was constructed to jut out from the cliffis 6 metres long. It is supported by a rustproof steel framework with a carrying capacity of about 20 tourists or approximately 2,500 kilogrammes. The sides are fenced by clear glasses as well. Wat Pha Tak Suea is surrounded with a breathtaking landscape located 550 metres high above sea level. This abundant Temple is one of the most beautiful viewpoints of the Mekong River. When the river’s water level has decreased, stripes of a sand dune looking like the scales of Naga can be obviously noticed. From the viewpoint of Wat Pha Tak Suea to the left is the panoramic scenery of the long curvy Mekong River bend with a large Island in the middle that separates the river into a Y shape where the view of the neighbouring country can be clearly seen.
Situated in Tambon Ban Muang, Amphoe Sangkhom, Phu Pha Dak features a high mountain with a stunning scenic point of the Mekong River. Particularly, from the end of rainy season to the Cool season, this area will be blanketed with a beautiful sea of mist. In the morning, the scenery is astonishing when the sunlight casts on the white cotton-like fog. Tourists can contact Local officers to access the scenic point.
8. LuangphoPhrachao Ong Tue
Enshrined at Wat Si Chomphu Ong Tue, Ban Nam Mong, Luangpho Phrachao Ong Tue is a large golden cast Buddha image built by the Northern and Lan Xang artisans. The beautiful characteristic image in the attitude of subduing Mara measuring 3.29 metres wide across the lap and 4 metres high is a sacred figure much revered by the people on both sides of the Mekong. According to the stone inscription, Phrachao Ong Tue was built in 1562 for 7 years and 7 months by Phra Chaiyachettha, King of nakhon Wiang. The image was cast with a combination of gold, brass and silver weighing 1 Tue (Tue is an ancient Isan measurement unit). The Phrachao Ong Tue Festival is annually held to pay homage to the Buddha image on the full moon day of the 4th lunar month (March).
9. Phan KhotSaenKhrai (Grand Canyon of the River Kong)
The attraction covers an area ofthe Mekong River parallel to Route 211 from the border of Amphoe Pak Chom, Loei province downstream passing Ban Huai Kho, Ban Nong, Ban Phukhao Thong and Ban Muang, Tambon Ban Muang. From December to May, the water in the Mekong will be lower and thousands of small and large islets and rocks will emerge where there are thousands of lush willow-leaved water croton or Thon Khrai in Thai growing on each rock alternating with the white sandy beaches. When looking over to the Lao PDR. side, we can see the mountain as a background that looks like a small park in the far distance. Visitors can search-result/tagword/Tak”>Take a Fishing Boat of the Locals to sight see the beauty of these rocks.
10. Mueang NongKhai Walking Street (KhaemKhong Market)
Is situated on the Mekong frontage road behind the Tha Sadet Market. Aside from generic goods, the Market offers community products including retrospective rare performances. The highlight of this market is the atmosphere along the Riverside with the Mekong scenery of more than a 500-metre distance. Open every Saturday from 4.00-10.00 p.m.
(Sources: – Touris Authority of Thailand/