Udon Thani Travel Information
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Udon Thani Udon Thani
Udon Thani Udon Thani

Udon Thani is one of the north-eastern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from north clockwise) Nong Khai, Sakon Nakhon, Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Nong Bua Lamphu and Loei. Udon Thani (know simply as Udon) is approximately 348 miles from Bangkok, the province covers an area of 11,730 sq. km., with its boundary stretching to Nong Khai in the north, Khon Kaen in the south, Sakon Nakhon in the east, and Nong Bua Lam Phu in the west. Udon Thani is situated on a plateau with mountains and forested area in the west.

Udon Thani, a northeastern province covering an area of 11,730 square kilometers, is a prime business center of I-San. Located 564 kilometers from Bangkok, it the world heritage site for the prehistoric culture of Ban Chiang. Udon Thani is probably best known for its archaeological wonders, paramount among them the hamlet of Ban Chiang where the world's first Bronze Age civilization is believed to have flourished more than 5,000 years ago.

Udon Thani borders Nong Khai to the north, Khon Kaen to the south, Sakon Nakhon to the east and Nongbualamphu and Loei to the west. The province is located on a plateau which is approximately 187 metres above sea level. Most of its areas are covered with rice fields, forests and hills, with the Phu Pan mountain ranges and the Songkhram River are the provinces 2 main natural resources.

The locals are mainly engaged in agricultural activities, with particular rising in wholesale and retail trading activities. That is why Udon Thani is an agricultural market hub or neighboring provinces. Udon Thani's provincial seal depicts God Wetsuwan, King of the giants and keeper of the Northern Heavenly Gate.

The Vietnam War transformed the sleepy provincial city of Udon Thani into a booming support center for a nearby American airbase. Since the withdrawal of American troops in 1976, it has continued to grow as an industrial and commercial center within the region.

Today, Udon Thani is the transportation and communications hub of the upper Northeast with several tourist destinations and facilities. Administratively, Udon Thani is divided into the following districts: Muang, Kumphawapi, Nong Han, Phen, Ban Phue, Ban Dung, Si That, Nam Som, Nong Wua So, Kut Chap, Non Sa-at, Wang Sam Mo, Chai Wan, Nong Saeng, Sang Khom, Thung Fon, Na Yung, Phibun Rak, Ku Kaeo and, Prachaksinlapakhom.

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Udon Thani first marked its name in the Bangkok era's history when Anuwong staged an uprising and marched the Laotians' troops to Nakhon Ratchasrima during 1826 to 1828. Met with fierce resistance from the local troops led by Lady Mo, wife to Nakhon Ratchasrima Governor, Anuwong was forced to move the troops back to Nongbua Lampoo, the city close to the present-day Udon Thani, and the Laotians eventually lost to Siam’s troops and the local Nongbua Lampoo’s militia.

Formerly known as Ban Mak-kaeng, Udon Thani was first settled as a military base led by Prince Prachak to crack down on minority uprising in then north eastern state of Lao Puan. Ban Mak-kaeng has evolved from a rural city eventually into what is known as the present-day Udon Thani, literally the northern city.

The province is most famous for the archeological site Ban Chiang with its remains of the Bronze age, located in what is now a hamlet about 85 miles east of Udon. Udon is one of the more bustling markets for agricultural goods in the relatively dry northeast of Thailand, and received its biggest economic boost in the 1960s when the US built the Udon Royal Thai Air Force Base as a joint-force military base during the Vietnam War. (the Mel Gibson film Air America refers to Udon and includes shots from the Udon military base.) Udon Thani was also the largest base in the region for CIA's anti-communism campaign.

The U.S. turned the base over to the Thai military in 1976, but there were three significant after effects of the base's US presence. First, a number of the natives in the area were paid well and learned English, which helped them become more marketable to the outside world (a significant percentage of the more educated group now work in the Middle East oilfields). Second, the base created ties, including a US Consulate in Udon which was closed in 1995, and a VFW (veterans of foreign wars) Post. Finally, the base and the consulate caused the city to be viewed as a regional hub, and this impression has continued.

In recent years the province has received international attention due to the discovery of a large potash deposit in the area and some anticipate that the region will become a major exporter of the mineral. Beginning the mining process of gaining licensure has been substantially delayed due to public opposition to the mine. Many of the villagers who live directly above the proposed mine site have expressed concern that the company and its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) have not adequately addressed concerns of salinization of groundwater and soil or land subsidence. Both would threaten the economic stability of local communities that rely primarily on income derived from rice farming.

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Huai Luang Reservoir Than Ngam Waterfall Phra Buddha Bat Bua Bok

Prachak Silpakhom Lake

Prajak Sillapakhom Lake, known as Nong Prajak Park, is a vast stretch of water within Udon Thani Municipality.It was fomerly called “Nong Na Klua” and later renamedPrajak Sillapakhom in memory of Prince Prajak Sillapa-khom.Nong Prajak was in 1987 given a face-lift to to celebrateHis Majesty the King Bhumibol’s 60th birthday anniversary.Colourful decorative and flowering plants add to thepleasant atmosphere of the lake.

Huai Luang Reservoir

Huai Luang Reservoir, a large reseivoir under the Royal Imigation Department's responsibility, covers and area of some 20,000 rais with the capacity of 113 milion cubic meters for water. It feeds 86,000 rais of agricultural area and also serves as a source of water animals for food and public water supply. Huai Luang is a scenic attraction idea for rafitng, fishing and cruising. A summer palace was constructed for the King's Mother who comes to stay here almost every year when she was a life. To get there, drive along the Udon Thani-Nong Bua Lamphu route, turn to a branch road at kilometer maker 15 and further on for another 10 kilometers

Na Yoong Nam Som Forest Park

Located some 100 kilometres northwest of the provincial capital, beyond Phu Phar Bat Historical Park, in Amphoe Nam Som, this park is best known for the 40-metre high, Yoong Thong Waterfall located at Ban Sawang, Moo 2, Tambon Na Yoong, King-Amphoe Na Yoong is a waterfall on the ridge of Phu Phan and Phu Ya Ou, where a stream flows through the steep rock cliff. Yoong Thong Waterfall is three metres high and composed of water beautifully cascading amongst the stones, especially during the rainy season when it thunders down in torrents among the lush, green flora. Located 103 kilometres from Amphoe Muang, the route to the waterfall passes through Amphoe Ban Phu and Amphoe Nam Som. Upon reaching Amphoe Nam Som, junction from Nam Suem Village leads to the Reserve Park junction, seventeen kilometres away. The route is part of the project of the Office of Accelerated Rural Development, aimed at speeding up the development in the rural area. It is in good condition and can be used all the year round.

Than Ngam Waterfall

Than Ngam Waterfall This falls is locates in the vicinity of Thab Kung Subdistrict, Nong Saeng District though Udon Thani- Nong Bua Lamphu route making left turn to reach Nong Saeng District being a distance of 45 km. and continuing by a foot trip of five kilomaters to the falls. Tham Nang is a medium sized waterfall whereone can swim is its resevoir and a foot trio can be made from the resevoir to reach the watershed.

Udon Sunshine Fragrant Orchid Farm

Udon Sunshine Fragrant Orchid FarmUdon Sunshine Fragrant Orchid Farm is located about 2 Kilometers from town along the bypass way, with a left turn to Nong Samrong. From early morning until about 1 PM, the air in the farm is filled with the sweet fragrance of Udon Sunshine orchids. The flowers and Udon Sumshine perfume are available at the farm and local product shops in Udon Thani. Mr.Pradit Khamphoemphum, the owner of the farm, also initiates several other advantageoue natural and agriculural projects.

Ban Na Kha and Ban Men Handicraft Center

Ban Na Kha and Ban Men Handicraft Center is 16 kilometers from the provincial town along the Udon Thani-Nong Khai route (highway no.2). There are many products of "Pha Khit". Hand woven fabric are made and put on sale at moderate prices. There is local bus service leaving daily for Na Kha village form Rajabhat Institute and Rungsina Market. 

Ban Chiang National Museum

Ban chaing is located 50 km east of Udon Thani along route 22 to Sakon Nakhon. It is one of the most important archaeological sites to be uncovered in southeast Asia. The site was discovered in 1966 by Stephen Young, a Harvard sociology graduate. But a major excavation of the site only commenced in the years 1974-75, by the govenment fine art department in conjunction with the university of Pennsylvania. This led to the startling discovry of early bronze metallurgy and clay pottery, especially pots and vases with distinctive burnt-orche swirl designs. Ban Chiang was in December 1992 declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. There are two wings of a national museum which are across from one another on a common ground. The smaller (older) wing was founded in 1976, in which artifacts discovered in situ have been turned into site museum. The new wing was built by the Kennedy foundation in 1986. It displays collections of Ban Chiang artifacts and pottery.

Ban Chiang pottery, decorated with red painted designs, are famous worldwide and believed by archaeologists to be the world's civilization, with traces of primitive technology in bronze casting.There are two wings of a national museum which are across from one another on a common ground. The smaller (older) wing was founded in 1976, in which artifacts discovered in situ have been turned into site museum. The new wing was built by the Kennedy foundation in 1986. It displays collections of Ban Chiang artifacts and pottery. Ban Chiang pottery, decorated with red painted designs, are famous worldwide and believed by archaeologists to be the world's civilization, with traces of primitive technology in bronze casting.

Kham Cha not

A sacred palce where villagers in the vicinity pay homage to. It is said that the palce is an entrance of the underground world, residence of sperpent kingd sccording to the belief of northeast. Thai people and Laos people.There was a big news about 10 years ago that a film entertainment company named Cham Chan was hired to show the movies,by the ghost, in such area thus causing a large number of people who have such faith and interesting tourists to visit thw place at present.The 20 rais area is thickly covered with Chanot tree which feature mixes between sugar plam and coconut palm. It, them,make the atmosphere very cool. There is also a shrine and sacred pond for homage paying in the area too. To reach there,one has travel 39 km. from Udon Thani along Udon Thani - Sakon Nakhon route where left ture is to be made at Nong Meg to Bandung district being the distance of 84 km. olus another  9 km. to reach Khom Chanot at Ban Wong Thong.

Phra Buddha Bat Bua Bok

This stupa, local point of of the historical park, and probably constructed during the 1920s, shelters a Buddha footprint (Phra Buddha Bat in Thai), not far from the shrine many interesing caves and rock formation. The cave are belived to have been the homes of Stone Age human being who left 3,000-year-old rock paintings of hands, human, animals and geometric designs. 

Phu Phra Bat Historical Park

Phu Phra Bat Historical Park is located 42 km northwest of Udon, covers a vast area at the foot of Phu Phan hill and comprises several places of interest within long and short waking distances. The park contains pre-historic caves paintings, Lopburi Bodhisattvas, Lang Chan Buddha image and a stupa to shelter a Buddha footprint. Fragments of boundary stones and a Buddha's image of Dvaravati style carved out of sandstone had also been discovered at rock shelters of Wat Pho Ta and Wat Luk Khoei within the park.

Prince Prachak Silpakhom Statue

Prince Prajak Sillapa khom Statue, a monument in the heart of the city at Tambon Mak Khaeng, was erected in commemoration of Prince Prajak Sillapakhon, the founder of Udon Thani.Major General Prince Prajak Sillpakhom was a son born to King Rama IV by mother Sangwan in 1856. As a royal commissionor during the reign of King Rama V, he was entitled Govermor of the Northen Province where ne had roled from 1894.

Pu-ya Shrine

Pu-ya Shrine As the chinese God and Goddess of Mercy, Pu-yu Shrine revered by poor people and those encountering personal problems, believing they will be grandted favours they seek, Two lakeside is located near the railway on the east of the provincial capital. Out-of-city Attraction 

Wat Pa Ban Tad

This forest monastery is located 16 kilometres south of the provincial capital via highway No. 2 towards khon kaen for 7 kilometres and a rigth trun at the Ban Dong Khen crossroads for a further 9 kilometres. the complex is situated on a densely wooded hilly area surrounded by rice paddise. the monastery precincts are defined by a concrete wall which prevent easy encroachment by abundant forest wildlife. The monastery is ideal for meditation and contemplation. The monastery is under the strict guidance of a disciple of Phra Acharn Man Phurithatto, a widely respected northeastern Buddhist ecclesiastic.

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Strategically important for the Isan region's infrastructure, Udon Thani's airport was raised to international standard in 2006 with the opening of a new terminal to compliment its existing domestic arrival and departure building. At peak times of the year there may be as many as 20 scheduled flights per day operating in and out of Udon Thani, thus making it one of the country's busiest domestic airports. Currently, two budget airlines and the national carrier operate from the airport.

The city is bisected by Mittraphap Road, the highway linking Bangkok with the Northeast and Laos. A modern, multi-lane ringroad system enables through traffic to bypass the city centre to the west or the east. It connects to the airport and to the main roads leading to Nong Bua Lamphu province in the west and to Sakhon Nakhon in the east.

Get in

By plane

Udon Thani International Airport (UTH), newly refurbished in 2006, has lots of flights to Bangkok (50 min) and a few to Chiang Mai and Loei. (Tiger Airways' flights to Singapore have been suspended.) To Bangkok, THAI's rack rates are closer to 2300 baht, but Air Asia will fly you for 700 baht and Nok for 1250 if you book well in advance. The sole scheduled international flight is operated by Lao Airlines to Luang Prabang several times a week. There are four daily buses direct to Nong Khai's Friendship Bridge to Laos from the airport, roughly synchronized with flight arrivals. Buy tickets (150 baht) at the taxi desk. Note that these buses will drop you off into a pit of tuk-tuks, which will try to convince you that you need their services at 20 baht a shot; unless you have baggage, you can ignore them and just walk out to the road, from where you can see the Thai checkpoint less than 500 metres away.

By bus

Buses from Bangkok, an 8-hour ride, arrive at the BKS station to the north of the city. Buses depart at least once per hour after 11AM to Nong Khai (20 baht, 1 hour, non-airconditioned 3rd class) on the Lao border. Buses from Nong Khai may drop you off north of the city. Follow the locals and hop on the waiting #6 songthaew for the ride to the bus station, or be left at the tender mercies of the tuk-tuk mafia. There are six express buses a day direct to the Morning Market in Vientiane (80 baht, 2 hours, air-con 1st class departures at 8AM, 10:30AM, 11:30AM, 2PM, 4PM, 6PM). These cross-border buses will carry passengers who have not obtained their Lao visas in advance, but may not wait long enough at the border for a visa on arrival to be applied for and issued. This isn't a problem when the queues are short, but at busy times passengers who don't already have their visas may be left behind and have to continue by local bus or tuk-tuk.

By train

Daily trains connect to Bangkok and Nong Khai, the journey takes up to 14 hours if you take the night sleeper. Second class sleepers are a comfortable compromise, although you'll probably want 1st class aircon in the hot season (April).

Get around

By bicycle taxi: Udon Thani has one of Thailand's largest samlor (three-wheeled bicycle taxi) fleets, although as elsewhere they are slowly succumbing to the pressure of internal combustion.

By songthaew: Udon Thani has a bus-like network of numbered songthaews; cost is 8 or 10 baht per trip (10 baht outside ringroad).

By bicycle: Bicycles are available for rent at the northeast corner of Nong Prajack park for 20 baht/hour.

By tuk-tuk: Tuk-tuks, the noxious vanquishers of the samlor, prowl the streets on the lookout for tourists to rip off. Try to keep the negotiated price in the 30-40 baht range, unless the trip is quite long. If you get into the bus station early in the morning and need a guest house they will pretend they can't speak english, drive you around in a small circle 'looking' for guesthouses before dropping you around the corner from the station. They will then ask for 100 baht for a 30 baht ride. There are plenty of accommodation options within walking distance of the station.

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Map of Udon Thani

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