Nong Khai Sights and POI

Nong Khai is bursting at the seams with culture. Known for their friendliness and smiles, the residents of this northeastern city are also amazing to interact with. Because of its close proximity to Laos, the area exudes a vibe that’s different than most Thai cities. For culture lovers, wanderers, and travellers with an easy going mind-set, Nong Khai might just be your haven.

Wat Sala Kaew Ku

One of the most spectacular sights here is Wat Sala Kaew Ku, or the sculpture park, as most people know it. This unique park was created by a Lao resident who initially began his project in his home country, but was forced to move it across the border. Over one hundred sculptures reside here, some standing nearly thirty metres tall. Explore unbelievable Hindu-Buddhist depictions as you wander through the gardens. (8am-6pm; THB30)

Tha Sadet market

While it can get a bit crowded and touristy, the Tha Sadet Market is well worth an hour or two of your time. If you’re not up for cheap souvenir shopping, there are also a decent amount of food vendors in and around the area. Set right alongside the river, it makes a nice stroll no matter what your interests. Even though we didn’t buy anything at this market, the combination of Thai and Lao culture and food were interesting to experience. (9am-6pm; free)

Isaan Rum Distillery

One of our favourite stop offs from Nong Khai was the Isaan Rum Distillery, which is run by two men with an evident passion for their craft. This laid back distillery allows you to see the process of rum being made - even involving the sugar cane - which is interesting to see, regardless of your taste for rum. We spent about two hours being shown around by the owners and tasting their favourite bottles of rum. You’ll definitely want to leave with a bottle of your own. (8.30am-6pm; prices vary)

Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge

For a bit of history, have a look at the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge. There are multiple connections across the Mekong these days, but this bridge happened to be the first one built. While you’ll have to go through customs in order to travel all the way across, it’s a simple stroll from the Thai side to the middle of the bridge, where you can look out over both countries and snap some great photos – and not many travellers know about this option! We recommend going at sunset for some great views.

Temples in Nong Khai

If you’re in Thailand, you’ve probably seen your fair share of temples already. However, Wat Pho Chai is still worth a visit, as it’s Nong Khai’s most revered. Step inside to witness monks going about their daily life, visitors and locals praying, and an impressive collection of wall murals. For a lesson in history and spirituality, Wat Pho Chai should absolutely be a stop on your itinerary. (8.30am-5.30pm daily; free, donations accepted)

One very different pagoda to visit in Nong Khai is the Sunken Chedi. This structure sunk into the river over one hundred years ago, and still remains there to this day. While you’ll only see bright flags sticking off of one emerged corner, it’s still an interesting sight to visit. A new pagoda has taken its place along the shore, and visitors still come here to pray. You don’t need much time to peer out over the remains, but it does make for an unusual sight to see. (open year round; free)

Festivals in Nong Khai

If you’re headed to Nong Khai in October, you absolutely can’t miss the Naga Fireball Festival. The banks of the Mekong become packed with domestic and international tourists alike, as mysterious orbs of light rise up from the river and ascend into the sky. Locals believe these “fireballs” come from the Naga, or serpents, that are highly revered. However, the scientific explanation is that gases form at temperatures common in that time of year and appear when they meet oxygen above the river’s surface. Well, though it is yet unknown why the fireballs appear exactly on the day of Wan Ok Phansa, the last day of the three-month Buddhist Lent. (October during the full moon; free)

News

Cliffside pedestrian platform opens in Nong Khai Province

What has been billed as Thailand’s first glass skywalk officially opened last week. The viewing platform occupies a stunning cliffside location in the Nong Khai region of Thailand and offers panoramic views over the mighty Mekong River and across to Laos.

13 April 2016

Nong Khai adds futuristic viewing platform to attractions

A Mekong riverside district in northeastern Thailand is in the final stages of building a state-of-the-art viewing platform. Workers are putting the finishing touches on the glass skywalk at a temple in the Sangkhom District of Nong Khai Province.

10 March 2016

Prime Minister of Thailand checked the railway to Nong Khai

Last Sunday morning the Caretaker Prime Minister of Thailand Yingluck Shinawatra with a number of ministers traveled by train to inspect the work of railway from Udon Thani to Nong Khai.

23 December 2013