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Nakhon Phanom

Discussion in 'Region Guides' started by DavidUSA, 27 Jul 2015.

  1. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Nakhon Phanom is an attractive city right on the Mekong. The city has grown considerably in the last year or two. In fact, it seems to be undergoing a development boom.

    Very few foreign tourists visit Nakhon Phanom because it is literally the end of the road. There is not much there except a university and Phra That Phanom, the chedi that holds sacred relics of the Buddha (this is in a city about 30 minutes drive south of NKP).

    But there is a decent airport about 12 kilometers outside NKP (built by the US during the Vietnam War). That airport is served by Nok Air and Air Asia. Nakhon Phanom now has metered taxis, and one can rent a car at the airport. Also, the River Hotel has car rental.

    Across the river in Laos is the city of Thakhek. One can cross via the Friendship Bridge (just north of NKP), but foreigners cannot cross the river by boat as in the past. Thakhek has a surprising amount of tourism, and the city has dozens of guesthouses. The Palace Hotel is a large white building right on the river opposite downtown Nakhon Phanom. Thakhek is more spread out than Nakhon Phanom, and it is a little bit more gritty (trash along the roads, etc). But a lot of tourists come for mountain climbing and hiking.

    Nakhon Phanom has a sizable Vietnamese population, and they have melted into the city. There is one particularly outstanding Vietnamese restaurant in the city. It is on a corner about 200 meters northwest of Bangkok Bank.

    The best cheap hotel is the Dahla Hotel. It is absolutely clean and usually queit. 400 Baht. The Fortune River View is old and poorly maintained. Avoid the swimming pool. But one can have a nice drink in the bar there and enjoy the stunning views across the river and into the mountains of Laos. They also have live music.

    The River Hotel is relatively new. It is only 790 Baht for the regular room. It has two nice restaurants. Those are two of the best restaurants in Nakhon Phanom.

    A good deal is the suite at the Siam Grande Hotel. It is only $30 on Agoda. The room is large, clean, has a computer, and a large bathtub.

    The Chelsea Restuarant is on the north side of the city, and it serves Western food. The owner used to run a restaurant in London. Very clean. A good choice.

    Things to watch out for while travelling in and around NKP are the crazy drivers on the super dangerous roads. Driving in and around NKP is extremely dangerous, no joke. People buy licenses and it seems that many of them love to tempt fate. Also, the roads are not always maintained well, and there may not be any warning of that half-meter deep crater in the road ahead of you. Receiving medical care at the hospital in town is like going to Las Vegas to get rich--chances are against you. It is that bad. If one needs specific medical care while there, then one should fly to Bangkok.

    If you want to see a Thai city minus the tourists then Nakhon Phanom is your place. There is also a beautiful French Colonial library full of books that no one has ever read. But the main thing, the one thing you can count on in Nakhon Phanom, is that beautiful river and the spectacular views, sunrises, and moonrises to enjoy.
     
    Last edited: 27 Jul 2015
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