Things to Do in Nakhon Phanom: The mighty Mekong River runs past the Thai city of Nakhon Phanom, and it is safe to say that the river contributes greatly to the magic of this city.
Tourists from Thailand looking to get away from its overcrowded beaches and crowded cities only head north into the Isan region, a short plane hop from the capital, to this riverside settlement bordering Thakhek in Laos is required.
Don’t be fooled by the provincial wind, Nakhon is going to Phanom. It is a meeting place for the Tai minority communities of Isan; a crossroads for Thai, Lao, and Vietnamese cultures (helped by the brand-spanking-new bridge linking Thailand and Laos); and a low-key but increasingly popular stop for culture and history-seekers.
Check out the activities in the list below to see what a perfect Nakhon Phanom trip would look like.
The Top 8 Things to Do in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand
- Explore Thailand’s Longest Urban Bike Path
Away from the riverside resort of Nakhon Phanom – a stall right in front of the Naga statue rents bicycles for around THB 20-40 per hour – and a smoothly paved, 7.5-mile (12 km) bike trail There are rides that allow you to take in the views of the river on one side and the low-slung infrastructure of the city on the other.
The dedicated cycle paths, which opened in 2016, are as modern as they come with skid-resistant surfaces, signage in both English and Thai, and a 1,200-foot-tall covered bridge. (The covering is a cage for security purposes, as this section of the trail goes right under an immigration building.)
Set aside time to take some detours, as the bike path leads right past some of Nakhon Phanom’s top tourist destinations – the Vietnamese Clock Tower, the Governor’s House Museum, and a cultural center for the Tai Sak minority. The trail ends in a park in front of the third Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge that crosses the Mekong into Thakhek, Laos.
- Get Hands-On in a Traditional Village
Nakhon Phanom’s location in Thailand’s northeast Isan region places its visitors in close proximity to the country’s minority Tai people. Nine different Tai ethnic communities live in the villages surrounding the countryside of Nakhon Phanom, and they are all happy to offer tourists a practical community experience.
For example, the Tai Guan of Ban Na Thon Village offers a traditional blacksmith’s tram ride, where tourists can test their strength by hammering red-hot steel. Blacksmiths recycle the leaf springs into traditional knives such as mache, which then sell for around THB 200 in the market.
The villages offer other experiences – a turmeric-and-coffee foot rub, a traditional meal made with delicious curries and locally grown vegetables, and traditional dance performances for tai guan – that reflect ancient traditions that were known in Thai. could not be suppressed during integration. Nation.
- Get to Know Thailand’s Vibrant Vietnamese Minority
Nakhon Phanom has a long (and complicated) relationship with neighboring countries. On the one hand, the city hosted an airbase for US Air Force bombers on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos during the Vietnam War; Nakhon Phanom, on the other hand, has long welcomed a Vietnamese community that began in the 1840s with 150 families invited by King Rama III.
Ban Na Choc, a Vietnamese village in Nakhon Phanom, welcomes tourists to its colorful Buddhist temple, but its main attraction looks a little further down.
Ho Chi Minh himself lived in Ban Na Choc from 1925 to 1930, while fleeing the French colonial authorities. The two-bedroom house he called home still welcomes bus-loads of Vietnamese tourists who come to see where Uncle Ho dreamed up the revolution so far from home.
- Shop Ethically at the Suntree Organic Market
The Suntree Organic Market in Nakhon Phanom (Google Maps) shows the full flower of King’s inspiration – an open space next to the Mekong organized into a showcase for Thai organic farming, including an earthworm farm, a fertilizer processing plant, a Performance is included. A place for traditional Thai crafts, and a market for local textiles, foods, and handicrafts.
Suntree Organic Market was officially launched in September 2018 and aims to be Nakhon Phanom’s main venue for events revolving around the organic/traditional space. One day you may find organic farmers talking about making compost from charcoal; On the other, you’ll find workshops on making palm leaf offerings. Watch this video to see the live-action in the market.
- Pray for Good Luck at Wat Phra That Phanom Temple
One of the many Buddhist temples in this devout corner of Thailand stands out. Wat Phra That Thanom is particularly dear to the locals (they believe it contains the Buddha’s chest). Crowds of devotees throng the plazas surrounding the 57-meter-high stupa, offering lotus flowers and burning incense and candles at all hours of the day.
The square-based stupas reflect the heavy Isan/Lao influence of the area, which is more similar to the temples in neighboring Laos than to Bangkok. About 110 kg of gold leaf and depictions of Buddhist morality tales surround the base. Visitors are required to leave their shoes at the outer door and leave their offerings at the base of the stupa after walking clockwise around the stupa.
Even visitors who lack reverence will appreciate the festive atmosphere; traveling vendors selling snacks and offerings beyond the outer wall; and the humble two-story museum that displays artifacts and artwork particularly related to the reconstruction of Wat Phra That Thanom after a severe earthquake.
- Plant Rice like a Local at Khao Khun Mae
For the people of Khao Khun Mae, organic rice is more than a product, it is a lifestyle. No rice farm in Nakhon Phanom has adopted an organic mindset, producing rice and byproducts such as skin serums and puffed rice.
This award-winning rice farm wants visitors to understand where their miraculous harvest comes from, inviting tourists to transform into indigo-blue worker smocks and dip their bare feet into its rice paddies. Tourists take rice seedlings and plant them in the deepwater of the calf, allowing them to experience the rice-planting process for themselves.
After washing and changing back into their regular clothes, tourists can purchase Khao Khun Mai products, allowing them to take home this unique organic rice experience with them.
- Take a Cruise to Nowhere down the Mekong River
What’s better than watching the sunset from Nakhon Phanom Resort? Viewing it from a cruise boat strapped down on the Mekong. at 5 o’clock. Every day, a boat departs from a pier at the resort, giving its paying customers a glimpse of both the Thailand and Laos rivers.
Thailand’s soaring infrastructure and flat landscape are in stark contrast to the karst mountains on the Laos side. The cruise experience itself is relaxed and relaxing – the boat takes a leisurely pace, circling the Mekong for an hour before returning to port.
Individual cruise passengers pay THB 100 (adult rate), THB 50 for passengers aged 4-11 years. Snacks and drinks can be purchased on the boat.
- Take in the Food and Atmosphere of the Night Market
After watching the sunset over the Mekong River from a walk, join the crowd at the Night Market by walking up to the Vietnamese Clock Tower, which is rising at its base.
The night market is held from 5 pm to 9 pm; Its stalls offer a diverse selection of cultural products from Isan sausage to grilled sticky rice to ice cream to deep-fried cicada. Unfortunately, the plethora of Chinese-made GyuGov dampens the market’s appeal somewhat—the usual collection of cheap blouses, underwear, electronics, and home appliances—but that’s no big deal for visitors looking for local colour.
Luckily, the Night Market takes place in the retail district of Nakhon Phanom, so you’ll have no problem retreating to the air-conditioned comfort of any of the local restaurants along the road where you can have a Singha beer while chilling.