It isn't covered by Travelfish, but Bueng Kan, along route 212 midway between the towns of Nong Khai and Nakhon Phanom , is a good stopover point for bicycle tours or others making the trek along the Mekong River. There isn't enough here to make it an intentional destination, but if you are passing by this way, it is a pleasant enough spot to spend a night.
Bueng Kan itself is a typical, unremarkable Isan town. There isn't much to see here, and exploring the entire place on foot, including the pleasant, park-like setting along the riverfront, only takes about an hour. Local folks are friendly enough, and many people still ride bicycles to get around this quiet town, particularly in the cool of the evening along the riverside.
The old backpacker joint in Bueng Kan has apparently closed, but there are other good-value hotels available. I picked the Sumran Hotel, where rooms range from 330 to 450 baht. I stayed in room 411, which was a good-sized no smoking room with a queen bed, aircon, hot water bath, cable TV, fridge, towel, soap, drinking water, etc. for 330 baht. The hotel also offered a free limited breakfast, free bicycle hire, free internet terminals in the lobby and free wi-fi in the rooms for all guests. You won't get cheaper room service food anywhere either.
Another nice-looking accommodation option was the Menam Hotel, directly opposite the riverside walkway, with single rooms for 350 baht and doubles for 400.
According to the folks at the Thai Immigration Office, it is possible to cross over to Paksan, Laos from here too, as long as you have your Lao visa sorted in advance.
Transportation in town is easy, with everything within walking distance or a 20 baht tuk tuk ride. Getting here and away, however, can be a pain, just as other places in rural Thailand. Expect cancelled buses and other mysterious delays. At the bus is cheap. The 2nd class air con bus from Nong Khai cost 100 baht and took just under three hours while the bus to Nakhon Phanom was 130 baht and took less than four hours. The make-shift bus station is along the main road near the clock tower.
Mcuhos Gracias Hombre. Nice little write up. I don't know when I'm going, as I have to overhaul my chopper before taking it on any long rides. Valve is pretty much shot (though it hasn't gone yet) and I want to pull the heads, replace the breaks, rework the wiring to make sure the puppy is 100%. Don't feel like getting stuck with it in the middle of nowhere. But I am definitely going to ride that route. Looking forward to the trip.
#3 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957