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Nong Khai

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Best Time: November to February Read More

Ideal duration: 2 days

Nearest Airport: Udon Thani  Check Flights

"The land of nagas"

Nong Khai Tourism

Lying on the southern bank of Mekong river, Nong Khai is a lively town just 20 minutes from Vientiane, capital of Laos. The entire city is filled with images of the Naga, the giant serpant of Mekong. There are several waterfalls, riverside villages, forest temples, and many serene landscapes.

Known as the Naga city, Nong Khai is a model for the Issan culture of north-east Thailand, which is very different from the cultures followed in the rest of Thailand. This town has a growing tourist industry with many foreigners visiting year after year. The most important attractions are Sala Keaw Khu, the huge and magnificent sculpture park, Luang Por Phra Sai Buddha image, the Tha Sadet Market which boasts Thai-Lao culture and the Phu Phra Bat Historical park. The town is known for its super kind and warm locals who truly respect the Issan culture and history of Naga and Lord Buddha. Nong Khai is also home to the famous Buddhist Lent festival.

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Nightlife in Nong Khai

Not specifically known for its nightlife, Nong Thai does have a few good options when itcomes to good music and cheap drinks at a bar. Some of them are Gaia Bar, May Enjoy Bar and Anchor Bar. Many locals as well as foreigners go to these for a good time to meet other fellow travellers and chill.

Shopping in Nong Khai

The most popular shopping spot at Nong Khai is the Thasadej Market that runs beside the Mekong river. There are many local Thai food stalls, Chinese tea stalls, handmade Thai and Lao products, ornaments, furniture, clothes and many other things. Another famous one selling all kinds of stuff is the Sunday market.

Currency in Nong Khai

All major cards are accepted at most hotels, guesthouses and restaurants. Local vendors and drivers will accept only cash so you should have Baht in hand for that.

Exchanging Money in Nong Khai

There are many banks and ATMs on the main road, Prajak road, Meechai road and inside Tesco-Lotus. All these places allow withdrawals up to 25,000 Baht per day.

Daily Budget for Nong Khai

A daily budget of approximately 1,200 Baht would suffice in Nong Khai including food, travel, alcohol and other entertainment purposes like entrance fees and shopping.

Religion of Nong Khai

Buddhism is the major religion followed in Nong Khai.

Nong Khai Customs

Thailand in general is casual and not strict about its dresscode. However, while visiting temples and other culturally relevant spots in Nong Khai, you should dress appropriately so as to not hurt the locals sentiments. The Issan locals are known for their friendly and warm behaviour towards tourists. Yoyu should be careful and kind to them in return too. Don't point your feet at anyone as feet are considered dirty in Thailand. Be respectful of the city and its history. Tipping is not practised, although, it is highly appreciated for good service.

Language of Nong Khai

The common dialect spoken in Nong Khai is Thai. Although, many locals speak Issan too. Most guesthouse and restaurant owners will be English speakers. However, the local vendors and drivers will not know English, so learning a few Thai phrases might be helpful.

History of Nong Khai

Nong Khai is a historic bridge between Thailand and Laos. It was earlier a part of Vientiane kingdom. In 1827, Rama III gave a Thai Lord to establish Nong Khai city as a defence. In 1992, the Thai-Lao Friendship Brdige was opened in Nong Khai as a trade and transport center.

Tips While Visiting Nong Khai

  • Be prepared to put good use of your bargaining skills when visiting Nong Khai; especially when you are getting around the town by using tuk-tuks (Thai auto-rickshaw). Make sure that you are polite and smiling the whole time you are bargaining; this will increase your chances of settling at a reasonable price.

  • Renting bicycles or motorbikes is the cheapest way to get around this town; with bicycles available for rent for 50 Baht for a day and motorcycles for 200 Baht a day at Mut Mee guest house and a few other rental places. One can further negotiate and rent for a lower price if they wish to rent a bicycle or motorbike for a more extended period of time.  

  • People who have a restricted budget but wish to take full advantage of the vast That and Isaan cuisine that the town offers should definitely visit evening eateries situated along the Prajak Road and the bars and restaurants along the east end of the town at the Rimkhong. Western food is not that great in the town, so it is better to go for the dishes of the other two cuisines.

  • While Nong Khai is a relatively safe city, it is a good idea to get a tuk-tuk back than to walk to your hotel if you are getting back late. Also, you can expect to come across some lethal dogs here that are incredibly protective of the areas that they reside in. So, don’t hesitate to ward them off using a stick if they seem too aggressive. 

  • Nong Khai oversees elaborate festivities during many festivals that are celebrated here. Therefore, check if you are visiting the town around that time so that you can enjoy these traditional festivities and make the most of your time. The annual Naga Fireball Festival that usually occurs around late October is one of these fantastic festivals in which mysterious balls of soft-glowing light are seen floating over the Mekong river. While some people believe that these ‘magical orbs’ occur because of the mythical naga snakes, more realistic reason for their occurrence entails that they take place because of some flammable gas that reacts due to marshy soil. 

Restaurants and Local Food in Nong Khai

The Rimkhong riverside road has many restaurants selling cheaper food than the town centre. Nagarina and Smile Bar are two of the best among others. Many other food stall vendors are spread across the city selling excellent and cheap Thai and Issan food at Thasadej market and Sunday market. Nong Khai is famous for barbecued river fish and sticky rice.
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Suggested Itinerary

Itinerary for a 2-day trip to Nong Khai

Day 1
  • If you are travelling from Vientiane, you can take the international Thai- Laos bus from the Vientiane central bus station so that you reach Nong Khai in about an hour. To get to this town from Bangkok, you can either board the overnight train or take a cheap flight to Udon Thani and then travel by taxi, minivan or an overnight bus to finally reach Nong Khai.
  • After reaching the town and settling down in the hotel that you’ve booked for your stay, you can start your day by ordering breakfast. Then rent a bike or take a tuk-tuk to Sala Kaew Ku and spend your time admiring the marvellous statues that are scattered around the place.
  • Next, travel about another 4 kilometres to reach the most significant temple in Nong Chai known as Wat Pho Chai. Spend some time praying to the local deity and looking at the beautiful modern murals that decorate the walls of this Buddhist temple.
  • Afterwards, spend the rest of the afternoon and evening shopping at the Tha Sadet market or the Saturday night walking street market (if you are visiting the town on Saturday); both of which are located about 2 kilometres from Wat Pho Chai. You can grab something to eat in the afternoon from one of the food stalls at the market and enjoy dinner at Macky’s Riverside Kitchen while looking at the pink sunset of the Mekong river.
Day 2
  • Begin your second day in this town by having breakfast at one of the local Thai restaurants near your hotel and then set out to visit the Nong Khai Aquarium to witness several Mekong river species and the Feeding show scheduled at 11 AM show (if visiting during the weekend).
  • Afterwards, head out to visit Isaan Rum distillery, which is only at a distance of about 6 kilometres from the aquarium to have some amazing homemade drinks while enjoying the stunning view of the lake.
  • End your day by having dinner at one of the eateries on Prajak road and heading back to your hotel.
  • The next day, you can take a bus or taxi to Vientiane or board the train to Bangkok. You can also go to Udon Thani by taxi and then take a flight back to Bangkok.

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FAQs on Nong Khai

What is the best way to reach Nong khai?

You can fly from Bangkok to Udon Thani, and then take a mini bus to Nong Khai. Or you can take a train or bus from Bangkok to Nong Khai.
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What are the places near Nong khai?

The top places near to Nong khai are Vientiane which is 15 km from Nong khai, Bangkok which is located 517 km from Nong khai, Pattaya which is located 585 km from Nong khai, Chiang mai which is located 408 km from Nong khai, Hua hin which is located 661 km from Nong khai

Who should visit Nong khai?

Nong Khai is an ideal place to visit for those that are looking to visit a town in Thailand that has more of a laid-back vibe and relaxed atmosphere with a few low-key attractions. People with an interest in Isaan culture will also find themselves to develop a liking to this place.

What is not so good about Nong khai?

This town does not have a lot of activities in store for visitors with an adventure-seeking side that likes to explore exciting places and carry out new activities. Also, there is a lack of public transportation, so tuk-tuks and renting a bicycle or motorcycle are the only ways to get around the town for tourists.

What is the local food in Nong khai?

The Rimkhong riverside road has many restaurants selling cheaper food than the town centre. Nagarina and Smile Bar are two of the best among others. Many other food stall vendors are spread across the city selling excellent and cheap Thai and Issan food at Thasadej market and Sunday market. Nong Khai is famous for barbecued river fish and sticky rice.
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What is the best time to visit Nong khai?

The best time to visit Nong Khai is from November to February.
The months of March to June are very hot and humid, therefore travelling during this time can be not a good experience. July to October are the monsoon months and the rains can prevent you from sightseeing. Hence, November to February can be the best months for a good holiday.
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What is famous about Nong khai?

Being a small quaint town, Nong Khai is a really good place to learn about Isaan and Thai culture and interact with locals more closely. Visitors will see a lot of images of beautiful Nagas in this ‘Naga city’, guarding the entrance of the temples and shrines. The peaceful riverside, pink sunsets, authentic and simple alleys of the town along with some of the must-visit attractions that inhabit this town make it a great place to visit.

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