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Exploring Chiang Khan Here’s why this small quiet town will give you the best time EVER

Exploring Chiang Khan: Here’s why this small quiet town will give you the best time EVER!

Sometimes, taking time away from the city noise can be a great way to let those creative juices flow. So, when I decided to take some time off, I picked Chiang Khan as my vacation destination—and I’m glad I did!

All those rustic wooden houses lined up in a row, surrounded by the calm waters of the Mekong River, speak of a quiet that allowed me to finish writing a song (shh—it’s a surprise).

Well, I’m no Ed Sheeran, but I sure thank the heavens for all the inspiration I got!  The best part? I’m detailing all the lovely memories I’ve had that made my Chiang Khan trip one for the ages! Let’s go!

Things to Know

Currency: Thai Baht
(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: Thai (Central Thai)

Calling Code: (+66)

Location: Chiang Khan District, Loei 42110, Thailand

Nearest Airport: Loei Airport (72.1 km)

Best Time to Visit Chiang Khan

The best time to visit Chiang Khan is from November to January since they offer cool dry weather conditions suitable for sightseeing. This lets you enjoy the district’s most popular sights and activities all day without worrying about rainfall.

However, you might still need to avoid midday since some tourists find it hot even during these months. Instead, you can set your exploration to early mornings and late afternoons for a cooler temperature.

How to Get to Chiang Khan

Bus: Two bus carriers at Bangkok’s Mochit Bus Terminal run a direct route to Chiang Khan: Sun Bus and The Transport Company. These are your cheapest options when it comes to public transportation.

The Sun Bus takes approximately 9 hours to reach Chiang Khan with only one bus departing daily. Meanwhile, The Transport Company has two buses departing daily which may take up to 14 hours to get to Chiang Khan.

Rental Car: Travelers with a driver’s license and an International Driving Permit can also self-drive to Chiang Khan from Bangkok. It should take you more than 8 hours on average to complete this approximately 573-kilometer ride.

From Bangkok, you must travel northward via Highway 1 and Highway 21 until you can turn left at the sharp curve in Sam Tom, Loei via Highway 2399. Continue driving via Highway 2399 through Huai Dai, Khok Yai, and Pak Yang and turn left to Highway 4014.

Turn right to the small road that passes through Hat Saikhao and Mae Sala Fueang and turn left to Highway 201. Keep going until you reach Chiang Khan’s town center.

Where to Stay in Chiang Khan

River Tree Resort

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Address: Namphon-Nachan Road, Chiang Khan Sub-district

Operating Hours: 2 p.m. (Check-in) & 11 a.m. (Check-out)

Contact Number: +66 42 810 900


Prices: ฿฿

River Tree Resort is a solid choice if you’re looking for a chic hotel with a massive outdoor pool and a stunning river view. Plus, this place offers sizable rooms with modern interiors and balconies overlooking the great Mekong River.

Since the riverside pool area is spacious, you can also take short walks within the property and enjoy the beautiful sunset from the numerous sun loungers. Or you can stay at the hotel’s poolside bar and grab a few drinks while enjoying the scenery.

Pro Tip: 

Card payments for this hotel are only available through an online third-party service so it’s best to pay with cash since it’s the only payment method their reception desk accepts.

Chic ChiangKhan Hotel

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Address: 290 Moo 2, Soi 20, Chai Khong Road, Chiang Khan Sub-district

Operating Hours: 2 p.m. (Check-in) & 12 p.m. (Check-out)

Contact Number: +66 89 900 9788


Prices: ฿฿

Chic ChiangKhan Hotel is a stylish accommodation along the Mekong River and next to the Chiang Khan Walking Street. That makes it the ideal base of operations if you plan to get as close as possible to the town center’s hottest attraction.

Though it has small minimalist rooms, they have balconies or terraces that overlook the river which is a massive plus. Its standout feature is its open-air lounge and terrace which gives guests a front-row seat to the breathtaking sunset in the Mekong River.

Pro Tip: 

We recommend renting a bicycle from this hotel for a more exciting experience exploring the wooden promenade along the river and the nearby night market.

U Chiang Khan

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Address: 350 Sri Chiang Khan Road, Chiang Khan Sub-district

Operating Hours: 9 p.m. (Check-in) & 12 p.m. (Check-out)

Contact Number: +66 86 600 7332


Prices: ฿

U Chiang Khan is a modern budget-friendly hotel perfect for solo travelers and couples. It offers furnished rooms with minimalist interiors and basic amenities: minifridge, flat-screen TV, WiFi, and an en suite bathroom.

Or you can get one of their upgraded rooms with more space and a comfy chaise lounge. Moreover, this hotel is surrounded by local shops, so it’s a great option if you plan to browse the products and food sold by street-side vendors.

Pro Tip: 

Don’t forget to use the bicycles this hotel provides for an easier time exploring Chiang Khan’s town center. Guests can use them for free!

Where to Eat in Chiang Khan

Jum Nua Yai Pad (ร้านจุ่มนัวยายพัด)

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Address: 319/1 Chai Khong Road, Soi 10 Lower, Village No. 1, Chiang Khan Sub-district

Operating Hours: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Monday – Saturday)

Contact Number: +66 42 822 079


Prices: ฿

A visit to Chiang Khan isn’t complete without sampling this restaurant’s signature jum nua. It’s a unique noodle soup dish comparable to yentafo and sukiyaki, but with a thick saucy broth.

Only this restaurant makes this dish, so if you’re a major foodie, we think this place is definitely a must-visit. Aside from that, they also sell other classic Thai noodle dishes like khanom jeen, kuay jap, and coconut milk noodles.

Pro Tip: 

Their jum nua is made with nuts, so avoid it if you’re allergic.

Cafe de River

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Address: 451 Moo 1, Chiang Khan Sub-district

Operating Hours: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 61 453 6954


Prices: ฿฿

Cafe de River is a relaxing coffee shop along the Mekong River which is great for tourists who want a casual food spot with a stunning river view. It even has a cutesy and park-esque alfresco dining area with sun loungers, parasols, swing chairs, and tents.

That makes it ideal if you want to feel like you’re having a picnic along the river. Plus, you’re also covered for plenty of cute photo opportunities.

Their food offerings include Thai fried rice, Hawaiian pizza, seafood spaghetti, pad Thai, spring rolls, Thai-style vegetable salads, and cakes. Our favorite is their delicious and picturesque cakes which go well with their wide selection of lattes, coffees, and teas.

Pro Tip: 

Avoid coming here during midday since their alfresco dining area is too hot. It’s best to visit during the afternoon, so you can also enjoy the sunset view.

Heon Luangprabang

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Address: 156 Moo 2, Soi 12 Lower, Chai Kong Road, Chiang Khan Sub-district

Operating Hours: 

  • 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Daily)
  • 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 89 009 4345


Prices: ฿฿

Heon Luangprabang is arguably the most popular restaurant in Chiang Khan’s town center, so it’s definitely worth checking out while you’re here. This restaurant specializes in cuisine from the Laotian province of Luang Prabang.

That makes it the perfect place to eat Laotian versions of classic Thai dishes like som tum, fried sticky rice, red curry, and sour curry. Their bestseller is their Luang Prabang-style som tum which is saltier and spicier than its Thai counterpart.

Pro Tip: 

Some of their dishes can be too spicy, so be sure to ask the server to separate the chili from your order. This way, you can control how much spice your food has.

What to See and Do in Chiang Khan

Watch the almsgiving ceremony along Chiang Khan Walking Street

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Address: Chai Kong Road, Chiang Khan Sub-district

Operating Hours: 24/7

Admission Costs: Free

This ancient Buddhist tradition stood the test of time, so it’s definitely a must-see if you’re in town. Though it’s practiced all over Thailand, nothing beats observing it from Chiang Khan’s more relaxed vibes.

That means you can watch and join the almsgiving ceremony without worrying about the huge crowds you normally see in other touristy spots. In case you didn’t know, this ceremony is for the locals to give donations to the local monks.

This is how the community supports their monastic lifestyle dedicated to studying Buddha’s teachings, so it’s an integral part of their culture and religion.

Pro Tip: 

Almsgiving starts at dawn, so be prepared to wake up early to witness the ceremony. You can also join even if you’re not a Buddhist, so don’t forget to get an almsgiving bowl from any of the hotels in town.

Eat your way through Chiang Khan’s night market

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Address: 4 Chai Kong, Chiang Khan Sub-district

Operating Hours: 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. (Daily)

Admission Costs: Free

For foodies, the best way to experience Chiang Khan’s culture is through its food and there’s no better place to go than its daily night market. Starting at 4 p.m., the town’s walking street becomes a bustling street market with numerous local food vendors.

That means you have plenty of food options to try during your visit. Think grilled shrimp, grilled squid, grilled pork, khao jee, and more. 

There are also stalls selling numerous Japanese-style snacks, so there’s plenty to try besides traditional Thai delicacies.

Pro Tip: 

Street vendors don’t accept card payments, so carry enough cash to get all the food you want to try.

Get a panoramic view of Laos and the Mekong River at the Skywalk

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Address: O Bo Cho Loei Road, Pak Tom

Operating Hours: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Daily)


Admission Costs: 60 baht

The skywalk in Chiang Khan is one of the most picturesque attractions in Loei, so we think it’s definitely worth considering in your itinerary. In fact, it attracts huge crowds of local and foreign visitors who like to witness and capture its stunning bird’s-eye view.

This observation deck overlooks the Mekong River and Laos’ lush mountainscapes, so it’s the place to go if you enjoy taking postcard-perfect photos. Moreover, there’s a giant Buddha image next to the skywalk, so you get plenty of photo opportunities here.

Pro Tip: 

The skyway isn’t shaded so it’s not ideal to visit during midday because of the sweltering heat. Instead, we recommend coming here early in the morning or later in the afternoon to see the beautiful sunrise and sunset.

Catch the sunrise and sunset at Phu Thok

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Address: Chiang Khan Sub-district

Operating Hours: 24/7

Admission Costs: Free

Phu Thok is a scenic hilltop offering some of the more dramatic views you can get out of Chiang Khan. However, you can’t hike to its summit on foot, so it’s unfortunately not the ideal place if your goal is to traverse lush nature trails.

Instead, you must board an on-site songthaew that costs 40 baht to reach Phu Thok’s viewpoint. There are local vendors at the summit, so you’re even covered for food and drinks during your visit.

But that’s not all, the scenery in this viewpoint changes depending on when you visit it, so it’s definitely worth returning to. For instance, it has the best sunset during winter months and the thickest cloud mists during the rainy season.

Pro Tip: 

For the best experience, visit Phu Thok as early as 5 a.m. to witness its sea of mist and beautiful sunrise at once.

Drop by Wat Si Khun Muang

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Address: 375 Village No. 1, Chiang Khan Sub-district

Operating Hours: 24/7

Admission Costs: Free

Wat Si Khun Muang is a local Buddhist temple well-known for its elegant gilded architecture. Its ordination hall, in particular, is a must-see because of its intricate golden wall carvings, colorful murals, and golden Buddha images.

Aside from that, this temple has a small golden chedi and a prayer hall where local visitors go to light incense sticks and pay their respects. Since it’s an active monk temple, expect to see ceremonies and rituals if you decide to visit.

Pro Tip: 

For the best experience, we suggest asking the temple tour guide to lead you through the important sights within the complex. This way, you can also learn about Wat Si Khun Muang’s history.

Explore Wat Pra Putthabat Phu Kwai Ngoen’s temple complex

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Address: Bu Hom

Operating Hours: 24/7

Admission Costs: Free

This Buddhist temple in Chiang Khan is unique. Though it has the typical gilded architecture, resident monks, and Buddha images, it’s actually more famous for the animals you can find there: fish, boars, rabbits, and turtles.

That’s why it’s a popular temple among local and foreign families, especially those with small children. In fact, it attracts huge crowds of visitors who enjoy feeding and playing with these animals.

However, this is still an important religious site, so be sure to wear appropriate clothes when you visit. If you’re interested in Buddhist relics, the temple has enshrined Buddha footprints which are definitely worth a look.

Pro Tip: 

The temple only has three parking spaces, so be sure to come early if you drive a car. Also, be careful of the steep road leading to the temple.

Learn about ethnic culture at the Tai Dam Museum House

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Address: 170 Moo 4, Khao Kaeo

Operating Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 83 332 2828

Admission Costs: Free

This cultural center in Khao Kaeo, Chiang Khan is great for tourists who want to learn about the Loei’s ethnic Tai Dam people. Here, you can see their traditional wooden huts and buy some of their local goods.

There are also cultural plays, games, and dance performances, so you’re also covered for entertainment. You can even watch and learn how they weave cotton using traditional methods and techniques.

Also, don’t forget to try the local cocoa from the on-site coffee shop.

Pro Tip: 

Be sure to bring a local guide if you want to get the most out of your trip to Tai Dam Museum House. This way, you can also learn a lot about their history.

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