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The Ultimate Travel Guide to the Mekong River

The Ultimate Travel Guide to the Mekong River

When in Thailand, you’ll probably want to visit one of the most popular rivers running through the country: the Mekong River. It passes through different countries like Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand, and it’s definitely worth your time!

The Mekong River in Thailand is a fair distance away from the popular tourist establishments but if you stay in Yasothon, you can certainly pull off a delightful tour of this spectacular river. Here is our ultimate travel guide to make your trip here just a bit easier!

Best Time to Go

While the most ideal months to visit Thailand are from November to February, we strongly suggest that you visit the Mekong River from December onwards. 

These are the months when you can see the most vibrant side of the area owing to the lush greenery of the river. These are also the months when travelling around Vietnam is the most ideal.

Things to Know

Currency: Thai Baht

(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: Thai

Calling Code: +66

Address:   Mekong River

Things to Do  on your Mekong Trip

  • Wear bright-coloured clothes: Wear bright-coloured clothes that are breathable and comfortable. This will help you better manage the humidity and heat in the area.

We also suggest that you travel light when going on this trip without forgetting to bring a reliable raincoat. This is to avoid getting wet if and when heavy rains suddenly descend while you’re on tour.

  • Bring a bug spray: The area around the Mekong River is humid and full of fertile swamps which is home to a number of pesky bugs and insects.  Hence, you should bring bug spray with you when travelling to this area (or to Thailand).
  • Bring your own bottled water: It goes without saying that Thailand and the Mekong River area can get really hot, especially during the summer season.

So it’s always a good idea to bring your own bottled water to stay hydrated while touring the Mekong Delta. There are stores you can buy water from but it’s better to have your own in case you need a quick sip.

How to Get to the Mekong River

Private car: Rent and bring a private car if you want to get to the site in comfort and convenience, especially if you have young kids in your family or travel group.

It will take around 5 and a half hours from Yasothon to the Mekong River. You get air-conditioning with a private car so at least you’ll be comfortable during the trip.

Going by private car can be quite expensive, however, as a small sedan will set you back 1,000 THB per day. Meanwhile, a larger vehicle (like an SUV) will cost around 2,500 per day of rental.

Renting a car to get to the site is still something that we’d recommend though especially if you’re feeling a little adventurous. You can stop driving anytime you want and take in the scenic views of the area you are in (along with some selfies as well).

Local Bus: You can also take a local bus from Yasothon to the Mekong River. It’s not the most comfortable option due to the sometimes crowded and cramped conditions of the buses but this is the most budget-friendly option.

At around 400 THB, you can get to the Mekong River in around 10 hours. With this length of travel, you can take in the sites and enjoy the views of the countryside.

We suggest that you travel light though as It’s never fun bringing some heavy luggage with you while getting on and off a public vehicle. 

Train: If you want to make your trip a little bit faster, you can also take a bus-train combo. Instead of taking around 10 hours from Yasothon to the Mekong River, you’ll cut your travel time to around 7 hours. 

It’ll cost more at around 1,500 THB but you’ll arrive onsite a little bit earlier taking the bus. To go this route, proceed to the Yasothon bus station and choose the bus going to the Nai Mueang Station where you can take the train to the Mekong River.

Things to Do at the Mekong River

Admire the majesty of Sala Keoku

Address: Wat That, Mueang Nong Khai District, Nong Khai 43000, Thailand

Contact Number: N/A

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Sala Keoku is a park located at the border between Thailand and Laos and it’s one of the most unique parks you can visit near the Mekong River. It features statues and elements from both Buddhism and Hinduism that will surely make you awe-struck!

There are a couple of Buddha statues in different poses that you can take photos or selfies with. You can also enjoy the magnificence of the different Hindu deity statues like Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu – sculptures you won’t find anywhere else in Thailand!

Lastly, you can visit the open-air museum of this park where the mummy of its creator is housed to immerse yourself more in the local lore and culture of the area. Another plus is that you can take your time in this park without having to contend with large crowds.

Visit Wat Phra That Phanom

Address: 183 13 Chayangkun Rd, That Phanom, That Phanom District, Nakhon Phanom 48110, Thailand 

Contact Number: +66945435888

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM


Located in the province of Nakhon Phanom lies a temple with a Laotian-inspired chedi called Wat Phra That Phanom. Its chedi is its most noticeable feature which you’ll immediately take note of thanks to its size and its brilliant colours.

The chedi’s top portion and surrounding ornaments are decked in gold while the length of it has bright white colour. Its awe-inspiring looks are enough to make you visit the site and take pictures with this unique structure– but that’s not all.

Enshrined in the said chedi is the breastbone of the Buddha himself. So if you want to experience something special (in terms of Buddhism), then Wat Phra That Phanom is the place to be!

Have a relaxing cruise along the Mekong River

Address: 89/10 Wang Nam Mok Road Hua Hai, Phra Phutthabat, Sangkhom District, Nong Khai 43130, Thailand 

The Mekong River isn’t just something for you to appreciate or admire from afar. You can actually book a calming river cruise to enjoy floating with the river’s current while you sit back and enjoy the view with your loved ones.

This cruise will take around an hour and a half and will let you take in the rural vibe and sights surrounding the Mekong. 

Sure, the river itself doesn’t have the cleanest or the clearest waters but it’s an opportunity to cruise right in the middle of two countries– a chance that you definitely shouldn’t miss! 

You can book this cruise via operators such as Mekong River Cruise, Nagi of Mekong, or Pandaw.  Don’t forget to ask for a quote to get the best deal from them based on your preferences!

Ride a bicycle right beside the river’s path

Address: Kae Worawut Road จังหวัด หนองคาย 43000 Nong Khai Nong Khai 43000, Thailand

Riding a bicycle sounds fun but imagine being able to do it right beside the Mekong River itself! This can be a great and affordable option for you and your group if you don’t like going on a cruise.

You can still enjoy the surrounding area and views while riding your bike but there is one big advantage to riding a bicycle here. Simply put, you get to explore the area more especially if you ride through the entire 13-kilometre bike lane around the river.

We recommend that you start biking around the area at around 5:00 AM. It’s not that crowded during this period and you get to ride your bike around town with the cool morning breeze without worrying too much about the heat from the sun.

You can rent a bike to ride around Mekong through operators like Niu and Chilli Cycling. Check out the other services of these operators as they may have other activities for you to try out and enjoy during your trip to the Mekong River.

Shop and get the best deal at Nong Khai Walking Street

Address: Khong Alley, Nai Mueang, Mueang Nong Khai District, Nong Khai 43000, Thailand

Contact Number:  N/A

Operating Hours:

  • Closed from Monday to Friday and Sunday 
  • Saturday, 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM

This night market located at the Khong Alley is well worth a visit if you are into shopping and finding great deals (who isn’t?).  Here at the night market of Nong Khai, you can buy some clothes, gifts, and affordable street food. 

If you’re into denim shorts and character T-shirts, then you’re in luck as this night market has a ton of options for you to choose from. We also recommend trying out their sweets here such as the brownies and some mango sticky rice.

It’s only open during Saturday evenings so it’s best to schedule when you plan to pay this area a visit. Don’t forget to use your haggling skills as the stall vendors here are super nice and most are willing to give discounts. 

Get a street massage

Address: 1152 Moo 1, Soi Kow Worawut, Nai Mueang, Mueang, Nong Khai 43000, Thailand

Contact Number: +66934124174 

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM

After enjoying all the activities around the Mekong River, why not get a soothing massage to relax your weary muscles? Most of these massage parlours aren’t directly beside the river itself but they are near the site– perfect if you want to just chill out.

A two-hour massage here will only cost you around 400 to 700 THB and most of the masseuse are well-trained and experienced. They’ll get those stiff joints and tendons sorted out for you in a jiffy.

We highly suggest that you try out their foot reflexology packages. It’s a unique massage that you should definitely try out when in this part of Thailand!

Some massage parlours to check out on your trip to the Mekong River include Sansuk Massage and Baan Suan Massage

Where to Stay near the Mekong River

Big Elephant Hotel

Address: 468 25 ถนน เลี่ยงเมือง Nai Mueang, Mueang Yasothon District, Yasothon 35000, Thailand

Phone: +6645711123    

Pricing: $

Book Now

If you want to stay in a hotel that can offer you the best value for money while providing you with what you need for your Mekong River Trip, then check out what the Big Elephant Hotel can offer. They have spacious rooms and facilities for travellers like you.

First, their rooms are clean and spacious– perfect if you’re staying here with family or friends. Next, they offer free Wi-Fi, a refrigerator, and some hot water which is everything you’ll ever need if you want a comfortable stay.

The best thing about this hotel though is that it’s near the bus station. If you need to take a tour of the area using public transport, then this shouldn’t be a problem at the Big Elephant Hotel.

The Zen Hotel Yasothon

Address: 275 1, ในเมีอง, Mueang Yasothon District, Yasothon 35000, Thailand 

Phone: +66 95 887 2589    

Pricing: $

Book Now

Here’s a no-frill hotel to stay at if you want somewhere near the Mekong Delta. The Zen Hotel Yasothon offers modern rooms with the basic amenities you need to make your stay comfortable and relaxing.

We really liked that there is a restaurant nearby where you can order local food if you ever need a quick bite. If, on the other hand, you prefer to just chill and relax near your hotel room, then grab something to drink at the bistro right next to the hotel.

You and your loved ones can also just get some hot drinks from the cafe of the hotel. The kids will surely appreciate some hot chocolate while a tall glass of iced coffee can prepare you for the next day’s tour!

The Green Park Grand Yasothon

Address: 209 12 Wareeratchadet Rd, Tambon Nai Mueang, Muang Yasothon 35000, Thailand

Phone: +6645714700    

Pricing: $

Book Now

The Green Park Grand Yasothon, as its name implies, is a sprawling hotel complex where a lot of functions (such as weddings, ceremonies, etc.) are held. As such, you can really feel a sense of grandeur once you step into the grounds of this property.

We liked that this hotel has a swimming pool for its guests which is perfect if you want to just chill and relax after a long day of travelling and touring the Mekong Delta. However, the biggest plus for us is the location of this hotel.

A lot of the restaurants and bars in the Yasothon area are within walking distance from this hotel. If you suddenly feel the urge to drink or if you’re just hungry in the middle of the night, you shouldn’t have a problem grabbing a drink or meal at a club nearby. 

Vimanmek Hotel and Resort

Address: 428 หมู่ 2 ถนนเจ้าเสด็จ Nam Kham Yai, อำเภอเมือง Yasothon 35000, Thailand  

Phone: +66627935956    

Pricing: $

Book Now

Vimanmek Hotel and Resort is a pretty straightforward hotel if all you want is a clean and quiet place to stay while touring the Mekong River area. They have rooms that can accommodate up to three guests for the low price of just 500 THB!

The hotel can give you resort-style accommodations, with stand-alone houses where you and your family can spend the day while waiting for your tour. These resort-style houses also have kitchens where you can cook meals for yourself and your loved ones.

Zigzag Resort Yasothon

Address: 369, Nam Kham Yai, Mueang Yasothon District, Yasothon 35000, Thailand

Phone: +66959959891   

Pricing: $

Book Now

Here’s another basic but extremely cheap hotel to try out when in Yasothon. The Zigzag Resort Yasothon offers spacious enough rooms that can accommodate a small family thanks to its large beds and the standard couch on the side.

If you bring your own coffee, then you can make your own here as each room is provided with its very own coffee maker. 

You’ll also appreciate the fact that the rooms here are close to the hotel’s parking area– perfect for those who rented or drove their own vehicle to get to Yasothon.

Where to Eat near the Mekong River

Mekong Sunset Restaurant and Bar

Address: 543 Rim Khong Alley, Tambon Nai Mueang, Amphoe Mueang Nong Khai, Nong Khai 43000, Thailand

Phone: +66947329794

Pricing: $


This riverside restaurant offers a great view of the Mekong River plus excellent local dishes that won’t break the bank.  You can order some traditional Thai dishes here but they also serve Western food items such as homemade burgers and pies.

Bring a buddy along and drink a beer while you admire the sunset at this restaurant. This is also the perfect spot to bring your family to if you want to enjoy an affordable meal while enjoying the views of the river and the Laotian border on the other side.

Mekong Pizza

Address: 1290, Wiang, Chiang Saen District, Chang Wat Chiang Rai 57150, Thailand

Phone: +66 83 915 4750

Pricing: $$


You probably wouldn’t expect a pizza joint when out in the Mekong but here we have Mekong Pizza. They offer some of the best pizzas in the province thanks to their generous toppings and thin crust recipe.

It’s not exactly riverside but the surrounding area is serene and idyllic, giving it a relaxing rural vibe that you simply can’t resist. 

The restaurant also offers some local beers (such as Chang and Beerlao) for you to down with your friends or buddies after touring around the Mekong Delta.

Macky’s Riverside Kitchen

Address: 960 Rim Khong Alley, Nai Mueang, Mueang Nong Khai District, Nong Khai 43000, Thailand

Phone: +66971091022

Pricing: $


Here’s another affordable restaurant located right beside the Mekong River. They have local dishes that you can enjoy with some white rice and their vegetable side dishes (salads, sauteed vegetables, etc.)

However, they also offer different kinds of pasta with a bit of a local flavour. We strongly suggest that you try all of these just as the sun is about to set as you can pick a seat in the restaurant to get a spectacular view of the night sky. 

Temple Bar & Restaurant

Address: 582, 1 Rim Kong Alley, Nai Mueang, Mueang Nong Khai District, Nong Khai 43000, Thailand

Phone: N/A

Pricing: $

If you’re not sure what to order yet but you want a great view of the river, then the Temple Bar & Restaurant might be what you’re looking for. They have Western dishes such as pies, steaks, and mashed potatoes but they also have local dishes on offer.

The restaurant also has a breathtaking view of the river. You can sit on one of the stools here while you take in the majesty of the Mekong Delta or you can simply just hang out in the bar, and drink some beer while watching your favourite sports team on their TV!

Puang Petch Restaurant

Address: 33 Samran Chai Khong Fang Tai Alley, Si Bun Rueang, Mueang Mukdahan District, Mukdahan 49000, Thailand

Phone: N/A

Pricing: $

This riverside restaurant will allow you to immerse yourself more in the culinary tradition of Thailand thanks to the local dishes on the menu. Some of the best combinations that we recommend you order are their grilled tilapia and their pork broth.

Puang Petch Restaurant also has a very rural and homey vibe to it which is perfect if you just want to wind down and relax with your family and friends. The restaurant also features a mini garden of sorts – a perfect spot where you can have your selfie taken!

Once you’re done enjoying your food and the ambiance of the restaurant, take in the beautiful views of the River at this riverside restaurant. The sunset from the angle offered here is phenomenal, especially with the sun’s changing colour on full display!

Apps to Download for Your Trip to the Mekong River

Grab: Ride-hailing, food, grocery, and delivery services

iOS | Android

Line: Call and messaging, file sharing

iOS | Android

Klook: Book tours, attractions, tickets, restaurants, hotels, and other activities

iOS | Android

Agoda:  Book hotels, flights, and other activities

iOS | Android

Google Translate: Translate various languages

iOS | Android

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