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Your Essential Guide to Unmasking Nong Khai’s Mysteries

Your Essential Guide to Unmasking Nong Khai’s Mysteries 

We wouldn’t have believed it hadn’t we seen it with our very own eyes! Wait – before you jump to conclusions, we’re not talking about Naga, the gigantic river serpent—this one’s a stuff of legends!

While it may not be true, we were floored when we saw those mysterious Naga fireballs rise out of that river! That was something truly memorable.

I’d say such a once-in-lifetime event was every bit worth visiting Nong Khai as a team curious about an out-of-this-world natural event.

But, let me tell you: that’s just the beginning of all the adventure because Nong Khai offers many more activities, making it a must-visit! So read on to know more, and soon you’ll have ample reason to book your trip!

Things to Know

Currency: Thai Baht
(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: Thai (Central Thai)

Calling Code: (+66)

Location: Nong Khai, Thailand

Nearest Airport: Udon Thani International Airport (48.7 km)

Best Time to Visit Nong Khai

Nong Khai is best to visit from November to February to avoid the hot and humid months from March to June and the monsoon months from July to October. This way, you can enjoy dry and cool weather which is perfect for exploring Northern Thailand.

How to Get to Nong Khai

Train: Riding the train from the Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal in Bangkok is the cheapest option to get to Nong Khai. 

However, trains take 10 hours to reach Nong Khai, so they’re also the slowest option. The trains in Bangkok depart at night so expect to arrive at Nong Khai from 6 to 8 in the morning.

Public Bus: The public bus at the Mochit Bus Terminal in Bangkok is also a cheap way to get to Nong Khai. There’s only one bus that departs at 8 p.m. daily, so be sure to book a ticket beforehand if this is your desired option.

Rental Car: If you want to drive from Bangkok to Nong Khai, you can rent a car with a driver’s license and an International Driving Permit. Renting a car can cost up to 6000 baht but it’s convenient since you can manage your trip better.

The drive from Bangkok is straightforward since you only need to head north via Highway 1 and 2 until you reach Nong Khai’s city center. You’ll pass some toll gates along the way but you can dodge them using alternate routes.

This option will take you to Nong Khai in 8 to 9 hours.

Plane: The fastest way to get to Nong Khai from Bangkok is to fly to Udon Thani International Airport which takes 1 hour. From there, ride a taxi to Udon Thani’s city center and board a bus to Nong Khai which should take approximately 55 minutes.

Where to Stay in Nong Khai

Amanta Hotel

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Address: 999, 1 ซอย แก้ววรวุฒิ Nai Mueang, Mueang Nong Khai District 

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

Contact Number: +66 42 412 899


Prices: ฿

Amanta Hotel is located in one of Nong Khai’s leafy residential neighborhoods, so expect it to deliver superb views. That makes it the ideal accommodation if you like to see lush greeneries and stunning cityscapes from your hotel room’s windows.

It’s also close to the Mekong River, so you can observe it if you’re booked in a room on higher floors. Otherwise, you can take advantage of the terrace of its charming rooftop bar to get a breathtaking river view.

Moreover, the hotel has a lovely garden where guests can relax beside an artificial fish pond.

Mut Mee Garden Guesthouse

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Address: 1111 4 ถนน ซอย แก้ววรวุฒิ Nai Mueang, Mueang Nong Khai District 

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

Contact Number: +66 42 460 717


Prices: ฿

This riverside guesthouse is great for travelers who want to stay as close to nature during their trip to Nong Khai. It features a stunning and wide garden with numerous flowers, trees, and potted plants.

Since it’s next to the Mekong River, it’s also perfect if you want to spend the day relaxing on a sun lounger surrounded by beautiful flowers. It has streamlined rooms with all the basic amenities, so you’ll have everything you need to stay comfortably.

Hop Inn Nong Khai

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Address: 889, Nai Mueang, Mueang Nong Khai District 

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

Contact Number: +66 2 659 2899


Prices: ฿

This chain-branded hotel is perfect if you want a budget-friendly option that offers functional rooms with minimalist interiors. All of their rooms have air conditioning, flat-screen TVs, minifridges, and balconies, so you’re getting youryou’re money’s worth.

It’s also smack in the middle of Nong Khai. That makes it the ideal base of operations if your goal is to explore the city center and visit its popular attractions.

Where to Eat in Nong Khai

Macky’s Riverside Kitchen

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Address: 960 Rim Khong Alley, Nai Mueang, Mueang Nong Khai District 

Operating Hours: 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 97 109 1022


Prices: ฿ – ฿฿

This alfresco restaurant along the Mekong River is a solid pick if you’re looking for a scenic spot that offers a choice between Thai and Western cuisines. Our top pick is the moo dad deaw

It’s a sweet jerky-like Isan dish made with sun-dried pork meat which is deep-fried and served with a dipping sauce. If you want to skip their Thai menu, the Western foods to look out for are Italian pasta dishes and meat pies.

Daeng Namnuang

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Address: 526-527 ถนนริมโขง Nai Mueang, อำเภอ เมืองหนองคาย 

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

Contact Number: +66 42 411 961


Prices: ฿ – ฿฿

Daeng Namnuang is a Vietnamese restaurant, so it’s great for tourists who want to deviate from the typical Thai and Western dishes. Our favorite was their fried pork ribs. It’s a soft marinated pork dish with a slightly sour taste from fermentation.

Aside from that, we suggest getting their cane-wrapped fried shrimp and their signature nam nueng, also known as nem noung. The nam nueng is a grilled Vietnamese pork sausage with numerous sliced veggies.

Mai’s Restaurant & Bar

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Address: นิตะพัตน์, Nai Mueang, Mueang Nong Khai District 

Operating Hours: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 92 769 0376


Prices: ฿฿

Mai’s Restaurant & Bar is well-known for its wide selection of Thai and Western dishes. However, we think the highlight of this restaurant is its special duck breast with sauteed potatoes and pepper cream sauce which was savory and slightly sweet overall.

Moreover, Mai’s Restaurant & Bar has plenty of pizza options. Think Margherita, parma ham, Caprese, Napoli, seafood, 4 cheese, vegetarian, Hawaiian, and spicy Diavola pizza.

What to See and Do in Nong Khai

Check out the giant stone statues in Sala Keo Kou

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Address: Wat That, Mueang Nong Khai District 

Operating Hours: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Daily) 

Admission Costs: 40 baht

This unique park is a fan favorite and we think every tourist should see it at least once. It’s packed with bizarre-looking giant Buddha images which is why it’s one of the most visited and photographed attractions within Nong Khai’s city center.

The famous local sculptor Luangpu Bunluea Surirat constructed this park 20 years ago and named it after his mentor Keo Kou. He’s known for blending elements of Buddhism and Hinduism, so expect to see stone images of deities and figures from both religions.

This includes stone statues of Lord Buddha, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Naga Buddha, and more. If you’d like to learn more about Luangpu Bunluea Surirat, Sala Keo Kou also has a building with numerous photos of his life.

Stroll around Wat Pho Chai’s temple complex

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Address: หนองคาย-โพนพิสัย Nai Mueang, Mueang Nong Khai District

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

Contact Number: +66 42 461 123


Admission Costs: Free

The place to go if you enjoy strolling around Buddhist temples in Thailand. Wat Pho Chai is one of the most important temples in Nong Khai, so expect to meet locals who frequent the place to pray and pay their respects.

This temple’s biggest highlight is the painted walls of its main prayer hall which we think is definitely worth a look. Wat Pho Chai is also famous for its three Buddha images which are said to be created and named after the daughters of King Lan Xang.

Most locals who frequent this temple are friendly, so don’t be shy to ask them about this legend in more detail.

Explore Wat Phra That Bang Phuan’s sacred grounds

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Address: Phra That Bang Phuan, Mueang Nong Khai District

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


Admission Costs: Free

Wat Phra That Bang Phuan is also an important temple in Nong Khai, so it’s definitely worth considering for your temple-hopping bucket list. In fact, the locals say it’s one of the holiest places you’ll find in the province which is why it attracts crowds of pilgrims.

The temple’s Naga pond, in particular, is believed to be magical, so they always use its water for sacred rituals and ceremonies. Aside from that, visitors also come here to pay their respects to Wat Phra That Bang Phuan’s 29 sacred Buddha relics.

Plus, most of the temple’s sacred grounds are dotted with trees, so it’s ideal for daytime explorations.

Admire the Mekong River from Wat Pha Tak Suea’s skywalk

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Address: Pha Tang, Sangkhom District

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

Contact Number: +66 66 145 8953


Admission Costs: 20 baht

Going to Wat Pha Tak Suea gives you the best chance to witness Nong Khai’s awe-inspiring scenery. This temple is particularly famous for its skywalk or glass bridge which functions as a hillside observation deck.

It overlooks the Mekong River and the nearby Pha Tang Town, so it’s perfect for tourists who enjoy taking aerial photographs. Moreover, it gives you a good look at Ban Pak Ton, Laos, which is only across this massive river border.

Of course, this is still a temple, so you can also walk around to see numerous Naga statues and Buddha images.

Ride a boat to Phrathat Klang Nam’s sunken chedi

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Address: แม่น้ำ โขง, Nai Mueang, Amphoe Mueang Nong Khai, Chang Wat 

Operating Hours: 24/7

Admission Costs: Free

Phrathat Klang Nam is arguably the most unique religious site in Nong Khai. Though it looks like a quintessential lakeside Buddhist temple at first glance, the nearby sunken chedi certainly makes it unlike anything you’ve ever seen. 

The chedi’s base is somewhat exposed when the water level in the Mekong River decreases, so visitors typically use this opportunity to get close to it. Boat rides are available near the temple which is nice if you want to touch the chedi yourself.

The ride costs 20 baht but you can also charter a boat for 200 baht if you visit the temple with a small group.

Go on a shopping spree at the Tha Sadet Market

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Address: Nai Mueang, Mueang Nong Khai District

Operating Hours: 8 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 88 066 330

Admission Costs: Free

Our shopaholic staffers say this market is the place to visit if you plan to shop for all kinds of stuff. Think street food, packaged snacks, souvenirs, clothes, accessories, furniture pieces, home decor, specialty wines, trinkets, and more.

That makes it a one-stop shop where you can get everything you’ll ever need during your vacation in Nong Khai. It’s also next to the Mekong River, so you can definitely catch the beautiful sunset right after browsing the numerous shops inside the market.

Meet the marine animals at Nong Khai Aquarium

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Address: Nong Kom Ko, Mueang Nong Khai District 

Operating Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Tuesday – Sunday)

Contact Number: +66 42 414 901

Admission Costs: 100 baht

If you’re an animal lover, visiting the Nong Khai Aquarium is definitely the most interesting experience you can get out of this trip. Here, you can observe a wide range of saltwater and freshwater fish, from a big shark to a small catfish.

They even have some endangered fish species which gives you a chance to see them in person. That makes it ideal for families looking for an educational tour to take their kids to. 

Of course, that also means you must expect to see plenty of kids running and screaming around during your visit.

Tour the Issan Rum Distillery

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Address: Khai Bok Wan, Mueang Nong Khai District

Operating Hours: 

  • 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. (Thursday – Tuesday)
  • 9:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. (Wednesday)

Contact Number: +66 94 514 7236


Admission Costs: Free

This rum distillery is an excellent place for tourists who know their alcoholic drinks. Issan Rum Distillery specializes in pure Thai rhum agricole, so expect to taste the drink’s terroir which consists of grassy and earthy flavors.

In case you didn’t know, a rhum agricole is directly distilled from pressed sugarcane instead of fermented juice or molasses resulting in a pure flavor. If you think the taste is too funky, they also have standard rums distilled from molasses.

Aside from rum, this place also serves food, so you can eat a full meal if you’re hungry. Don’t forget to tour their distillery to learn more about their rum-making process.

See the Naga Fireballs Festival

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The Naga Fireballs, also known as Bang Fai Phaya Nak or Mekong Lights, is the most awaited festival in Nong Khai. It happens at the end of the Buddhist Lent which is day 15 of the lunar calendar’s 11th month, about late October. 

It’s a massive spectacle, so expect to see huge crowds of tourists and locals at designated watching spots along the Mekong River. And who wouldn’t want to see numerous fireballs launch from the river and light the dark sky.

No doubt, this event is legendary and mysterious. Since this has become a huge spectacle, the local government will set up various watching spots for foreigners in Nong Khai’s Phon Phisai and Rattanawapi districts.

FAQs about Nong Khai

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