Loei province is one of the most popular destinations in Northeast Thailand. There are many natural tourist destinations and local sights. You have probably heard about Chiang Khan, which is very famous for its slow-paced lifestyle.
Chiang Khan not only lets you experience the lifestyle of the local people, but you will also get the chance to see how to produce their famous snack foods; such as, deep-fried bananas and famous sweet coconut chips. In the Kaeng Khutkhu area, you will find a lot of shops where they are willing to explain how to make their snacks and will let you sample them.
After you have visited the snack shops, you can ride on a boat to experience the local life along the Mekong River, which is the border between Thailand and Lao PDR. Watching the sunset from the boat is also very stunning and relaxing. If you want to clear your mind and thoughts, here is the place that you have to visit.
In the evening, I would recommend going to the Chiang Khan Walking Street. There you will find a lot of homestay accommodation, cute cafés, souvenir shops, and a lot of cheap local street food. My favourite street food is small Mekong River grilled shrimp only 10 Baht per skewer in which with your first bite, you will experience the amazing natural shrimp flavour.
After eating dinner and if you want to relax, you can either wander around the Walking Street. (Please note it is recommended that you do not go for a massage after eating.)
If you would like to go shopping, the most famous blanket shop in Chiang Khan is Dai Heng that makes its blankets from 100% cotton with unique traditional designs. The secret to making these high-quality blankets are passed down from generation to generation. If you do not want to carry a heavy full-size cotton blanket, they also have small pieces to buy as a souvenir.
Traditional massage in Chiang Khan is called Yongsen massage, which is quite similar to Thai massage but the masseuse will use his or her feet to massage not only with the hands. To be honest, it is somewhat painful, but worth trying. I know you may hesitate a bit, but if I can do it, everybody can. It will help you relax and relieve all your pain. If it is too painful, you can always tell them to be gentler. They offer a very reasonable price at only 200 Baht per hour. After your massage, you can go to bed in a relaxing good mood and get ready for your next day's adventure.
The next day, it is traditional for Buddhists to offer food to monks in the morning. It is recommended to wake up early in the morning to see the locals and take some photos for your memories. You can take the opportunity to appreciate life’s small moments.
Later, you can grab some great local street food in the morning market before heading to Phu Tok to see the mist, which is not far from the walking street. You can also hire a local taxi to take you there. Visitors are not allowed to take their own vehicles due to the fact that the area is small and transportation is difficult. This allows you to help support the local community. Afterwards, I recommend visiting a small local ancient village called the Ban Kao community.
This village is full of history and interesting stories. The villagers are immigrants from Vietnam and have lived in this area for a hundred years. The villagers still remain true to their culture. The most important thing to them is to not forget who they are and try to blend into the new era of global socialisation while not forgetting their roots. You can dress up like the unique local people. There is a box to donate to the community, and of course it is up to you because what is important to them is they would like to show you how they live and to share their culture to the new generations in order to help preserve their culture for the future.
From Chiang Khan, you can head to another district called Nong Hin. There are many places that will amaze you with their natural beauty.
Phu Pha Po is also known as the Mount Fuji of Loei because the mountain looks like Mount Fuji in Japan. If you visit there for the sunrise, you will see the sea of mist; however, the sunset is also very beautiful. Once you travel to see the top of Fuji of Loei you will get a chance to hop on and off a small cute tractor that is only for visitors. It is great fun to take the tractor up the hill. Moreover, all the income earned will be divided fairly among the villagers and is used to support local sustainable tourism.
The village scenery with the, flowering plants, big mountains and amazing panoramic views from the top of the mountains were quite amazing.
Close to Phu Pa Po, there is Pa Hin Ngam National Park. This park is full of big beautiful rocks in a variety of shapes; such as, dinosaurs and turtles. I suggest you choose the walking trail. You will get a lot of knowledge from the local tour guides, who are experienced in the area. From the rock park, you can go to Piang Din Waterfall and refresh your body after the long journey.
Loei has many wonderful tourism destinations. No matter if you are a solo traveller, traveling couple, or a large family group, you can experience the local life and enjoy the natural resources. You will find everything in this province reasonably priced and full of friendly hosts. The hosts are willing to help you and show you their culture and their lives.
Once you visit Loei you will definitely say “I love Loei”.