Nong Khai and the southern Mekong route

The last stop before the Friendship Bridge and communist Laos, Nong Khai is a charming laid-back riverside town: the sort of place where jaded travellers get 'stuck' for several days, doing nothing but enjoying the romantic atmosphere of the place. There are a number of wats to visit and from here, while supping on a cold beer, you can look across to Tha Dua in Laos and imagine the enormous and rare pla buk catfish - weighing up to 340 kg - foraging on the riverbed.

From Nong Khai, Route 212 follows the Mekong River 137 km to the riverside town of Beung Kan and from there another 175 km to the provincial capital, Nakhon Phanom. Swing 75 km westwards away from Nakhon Phanom and the Mekong and you'll reach Sakhon Nakhon and the sacred stupa, Phrathat Cheong Chum. Continuing southwards from Nakhon Phanom on the river road for another 50 km, Route 212 reaches That Phanom, the site of one of the most revered chedis in Thailand: Wat That Phanom. This area is also a centre of traditional textile production, particularly around the town of Renu Nakhon. From That Phanom, Route 212 heads 50 km south to the newly created provincial capital of Mukdahan finishing its journey 170 km away at Ubon Ratchathani.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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