Nong Khai is a destination blessed with natural beauty and rich historical heritage. It is the site of the first Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, which connects the two countries, with Vientiane some 25 kilometres away.
Travelling to Nong Khai during the cool season is ideal, as you can take advantage of the pleasant weather, especially if you’re looking to experience “the sea of mist” in the morning.
- Day 1
- Take a boat ride to pay homage to Phrathat Lanong, the remains of an ancient chedi submerged in the Mekong River.
- Get close to the fish from the Mekong at the Nong Khai Aquarium.
- Savour Vietnamese dishes at the original branch of the Daeng Nam Nuang Restaurant.
- Walk along the glass deck overlooking the Mekong at Wat Pha Tak Sua, Sangkhom district.
- Day 2
- Enjoy the pleasantly cool weather and views of the Mekong from Phu Huai Isan.
- Drop by Chatrdanai Farm for refreshments.
Phrathat Lanong – the submerged pagoda
Taking a boat ride is the only way to get close to and pay homage to the remains of Phrathat Lanong, which is thought to have been built around the 15th-17th centuries. This ancient stupa was originally located on the bank of the Mekong before it fell into ruin and was washed away by the strong currents to the middle of the Mekong during the rainy season of 1847.
The stupa is highly revered by the locals, and a celebration is held annually.
A replica of the chedi was built using parts of the original structure on the shore for the public to pay respect.
- Tambon Nai Mueang, Amphoe Mueang, Nong Khai
Nong Khai Aquarium (Sirindhorn Aquarium)
This is Isan’s largest aquarium showcasing freshwater fish from the Mekong Basin. It is part of the Nong Khai Campus of Khon Kaen University, and also features many marine animals. Walking through its 34-metre-long tunnel is a fun activity for all the family members.
- Admission fee
- Student 30 Baht
- Adult 50 Baht
- 112 Mu 7, Tambon Nong Kom Ko, Amphoe Mueang, Nong Khai
- Open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Closed Monday)
- 0 4241 4901, 08 3459 4466
Daeng Nam Nuang – Vietnamese restaurant
For fans of Vietnamese food, we recommend giving this famed restaurant of Nong Khai a try. Located near the bank of the Mekong, the restaurant belongs to descendants of Vietnamese immigrants from Lao PDR.
Don’t forget to buy its signature pre-packaged Nam Nuang (Nem Nuong), Vietnamese pork sausages to take home.
- 526-527 Tambon Nai Mueang, Amphoe Mueang, Nong Khai
- 0 4241 1961, 0 4242 1202, 0 4241 1234, 0 4241 3999
Wat Pha Tak Sua – a mountaintop temple
This must-visit temple is in Sangkhom district, about 78 kilometres from Nong Khai town.
You will be in awe of the spectacular view of the Mekong River from this monastic retreat that is located on the mountaintop.
The most famous spot to take in the view is the glass skywalk. We promise you will have the most breathtaking view of the Mekong on the horseshoe shaped, 16-metre-long walkway! The structure was built by the provincial authorities and can accommodate up to 20 people, or about a 2,500-kilogram load. To protect the glass surface, each visitor is required to buy and put on a pair of shoe covers (20 Baht).
- Ban Dong Tong, Tambon Pha Tang, Amphoe Sangkhom, Nong Khai
- 0 4290 1013, 08 2261 4564
- Open daily from 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Phu Huai Isan – the hill with the views and the mist
It’s a case of the more the merrier when it comes to views of the mighty Mekong River. Yes, you can see the Mekong from Phu Huai Isan, which is also a good spot to watch the sunrise.
When you’re here in the cool season, there’s a good chance you will be able to marvel at the picturesque valleys that are filled with morning mist.
Phu Huai Isan has 2 spots from where visitors can catch a good view of the Mekong. The first point is where the I-tak cart parks. For the second, you have to walk uphill for about 200 metres. You will find a wooden bridge and can watch the sunrise from the higher level.
You need to use the service of the I-tak cart to reach Phu Huai Isan, as the route is very steep for regular vehicles. Staying overnight on the hilltop area is not permitted.
You can find a simple homestay in Tambon Ban Muang and take the cart service that is stationed at the office of the Ban Muang Subdistrict Administrative Organization (O Bo Tho).
Alternatively, stay in Sangkhom district. The fare for the ride of 45-50 minutes is 80 Baht per person.
Try the swing here if you want a little excitement in addition to the beautiful view!
- Tambon Ban Muang, Amphoe Sangkhom , Nong Khai
- 0 4241 4871, 09 6068 2362, 08 7219 5500
Chatrdanai Farm – an attraction with a scenic cafe
Chatrdanai Farm is a favourite stop to chill out among visitors to Sangkhom district thanks to its small rustic café by a beautiful creek. You’ll see the mountains in the distance while enjoying food and drinks amidst the greenery in this pretty farm.
- Chatrdanai Farm
- Ban Muang, Amphoe Sangkhom, Nong Khai
- 09 8139 9869
- Open daily 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.