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Udon Thani is one of the main cities in Thailand's Northeast region, known as Isan. Its primary interests for visitors are the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ban Chiang, and the typical rural villages in the countryside, where life has changed little over the decades.
Most of the locals in Udon Thani using Isan dialect to communicate in their daily life. Thai is widely spoken as well. There are large Chinese and Vietnamese communities in Udon Thani. However, after the Thainization quite sometimes ago by the government, only the elders are able to speak in their home language. The younger generations speak either Thai or Isan among themselves.
Lately Udon Thani has been a popular place for retirement in Isan. Unlike Pattaya, foreigners moved to Udon Thani because the city is pleasant and relaxing. A lot of them are staying in the city and there is quite a number of foreigners staying in Ban Dung District. Other than that, a street in Nam Som District was named Soi Yerman (German Lane) as the German and Austrian populations in the area are quite high.
Sights and Activities
- Phu Phrabat Historical Park (อุทยานประวัติศาสตร์ภูพระบาท) - Located in Ban Phue District about 70 kilometres from Udon Thani city. This historical site is also considered as an archaeological features a large number of ancient buildings and objects of both prehistoric and historic times. Mostly are of Dvaravati, Lop Buri and Lanchang style. Within the site are many rocks of peculiar shapes which resulted from glacial movement millions of years ago. It can be seen that most of the ancient buildings and objects found in this area were modified from what was naturally available and not built entirely by human beings. Entrance fee applies
- Phra Phutthabat Bua Bok (พระพุทธบาทบัวบก) - This is where the Buddha's Holy Footprint was found along side with various Buddha images of Lanchang style. Later in 1920, the Chedi resembles to Phra That Phanom was built on top of the footprint. Phra Phutthabat Bua Bok is actually located in Phu Phrabat Historical Park and there is no entrance fee.
- Ban Chiang (บ้านเชียง) - Ban Chiang is well known for its archaeological wonders. It was nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1992. Ban Chiang is located in Nong Han District and is about 55 km from Udon Thani city. Ban Chiang was the origin of a pre-historic civilization. It is believe to be 5,000 years old. The museum is open everyday except for Monday and Tuesday from 9:00am to 4:00pm. 30 Baht entrance fee for Thais. Near the museum, there is Wat Po Si Nai where the ancient pots and other old artifacts were found together with the bodies. They were buried together.
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- Kamchanot (คำชะโนด) - Located in Ban Dung, Tambon Wang Thong, about 100 kilometres from Udon Thani city is an area called Wang Nakhin (Naga Place) a place believed and regarded by the locals as a mystical and holy place where the door to the underworld of Naga is located. Covering an area of over 20 rai of land, Wang Nakhin (locally dubbed as Dong Chanot) is nothing but an islet surrounded by water. It is teemed with dense palm trees called Chanot.
- UD Town (ยูดี ทาวน์) - A new open air mall which was opened in November 2009. UD Town is located just next to Tesco Lotus and the railway station. There are a lot of brandy stuffs. There are also a lot of choices in term of food. Japanese, Italian, Chinese etc.
Via Thai Air, or budget carriers Nok Air and Air Asia. Flights from Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai.
Approximately 8 hours from Bangkok to the central train station.
- You might need to go to Mochit Mai in Bangkok if you are catching express bus to Udon Thani. At Mochit Mai, get to level 3 as ticket booths for express buses to Isan are located.
- If you had just arrived at Suvarnabhumi International Airport and do not want to get into the city, you can actually take the airport shuttle to Suvarnabhumi Bus Terminal. The shuttle is free. Get to the ticket counter to buy ticket to Udon Thani right there. Normally the bus will depart once a day at 8:30pm. Just incase if you couldn't get on the bus to Udon Thani, take the Suvarnabhumi - Nongkhai route and inform the driver that you will be getting down at Udon Thani.
- From Vientiane, get to Talat Sao to buy ticket to Udon Thani. The fare is 80 Baht per head.
By Motorcycle Taxi
- To get from one to another place, the easiest and cheapest way will be by Motorcycle taxi or Win. Other than Motorcycle taxi, there is also Jumbo, an Isan version of tuk tuk. Negotiate the fare first before you get onto the Jumbo or Motorcycle.
- Gecko Villa is a holiday house in a peaceful rural location out of town. Sleeps 2-6.
- Green Gecko a traditional Thai style villa in a rural location that sleeps 2-4.
- Rice Paddy Villa is a vacation rental in traditional thai style that sleeps 2-4 guests.
- Paradise Hotel - Staff are friendly but only speak a little English. Fan rooms with double bed cost 200 baht. Free water (2 bottles per day) and maps of the city.
- Udon Airport Hotel - From 800 baht including breakfast. 115 standard rooms, 3 superior rooms, and 2 suites.
- Ruysuk Mansion Hotel - From 300 Baht. An inexpensive hotel for long and short stay with English speaking management.
- Centara Hotel & Convention Centre (formerly Charoensri Grand Royal Hotel, Udon Thani) - Next to the main shopping centre.
- Charoen Hotel - 250 standard rooms, 3 superior rooms, and 2 suites, on a 10 acre area surrounded by garden and beautifully landscaped with swimming pools. It is only a few hundred metres to the south-west of the central bus station.