Home to some of Thailand's most spectacular Mekong riverfront scenery, Nakhon Phanom province, although primarily a gateway to Laos and onwards to Vietnam, is also home to one of Isan's (and southern Laos') most important wats, Phra That Phanom in the southern town of That Phanom.
While the province's position on the Lao border has created a relatively high Vietnamese and Laotian population -- with an influence that can be seen primarily in the food, this is nevertheless still a very Thai province.
Nakhon Phanom (City of Mountains) sits alongside the Mekong River and approximately 735km from Bangkok. Primarily a farmer's market town, there are as many tractor stores as mobile phone stores (or almost anyway) and it has an overall very rural feel to it.
Few travellers find themselves here for any reason other than leaving again to visit Laos via Tha Khaek, which sits opposite Nakhon Phanom across the waters of the Mekong.
If you are planning on entering Laos at this point, we'd suggest staying at That Phanom (at Niyana Guesthouse) an hour south of town -- it is a far more interesting place to stay, although the riverside view is better at Nakhon Phanom.
Within Nakhon Phanom itself there is precious little to do other than to wander along the riverside boardwalk.
If you're really board, head to the TAT Office at the northern end of town (as Travelfish did), where they'll happily confirm that yes, there really is nothing to go in Nakhon Phanom.
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Text and/or map last updated on 11th August, 2009.