Photo: Work out with a view at Nakhon Phanom.

Introduction

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Despite boasting some of the finest Mekong River scenery in Southeast Asia, Nakhon Phanom is mainly viewed as a border crossing point to Tha Khaek in southern Laos. Slow-going travellers should hang around for the relaxing atmosphere and bicycle-friendly riverfront.


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The small capital city of the eponymous province has built one of the longest riverfront walkways and bike lanes in Thailand. It stretches for virtually the entire length of town, passing parks, religious sites, markets, dining terraces, fish farms, piers, low-hanging banyan trees and many old French-Indochinese houses. Explore all of these as you take in views of Laos’ spectacular limestone range, which explain why Nakhon Phanom translates as “City of Mountains.”

Peak hour. Photo taken in or around Nakhon Phanom, Thailand by David Luekens.

Peak hour. Photo: David Luekens

While it’s a wonderful place to simply hang out, indulge on Mekong river fish and soak up the scenery, Nakhon Phanom town lacks any must-see attractions. The few foreign travellers who pass through are usually headed for the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge 3, located 12 kilometres north of the town, to continue into Laos for a spin around the Tha Khaek loop.

Nakhon Phanom attracts its share of Thai travellers on weekend merit-making trips with stops at the province’s nine sacred chedis. The most famous of these is Phra That Phanom, an ancient and extremely highly revered site located some 40 kilometres south of the provincial capital. It can easily be visited as a day trip, but That Phanom town is one of the friendlier places in Thailand and also warrants an overnight stay.

Local shack. Photo taken in or around Nakhon Phanom, Thailand by David Luekens.

Local shack. Photo: David Luekens

Vietnamese travellers are fairly common thanks to Nakhon Phanom’s place in the life of Ho Chi Minh. The communist revolutionary and father of modern Vietnam spent parts of the late 1920s in the village of Baan Na Chok, just west of Nakhon Phanom town. The modest guesthouse where he stayed has been preserved as a museum, the main attraction of the surrounding “Thai-Vietnamese Friendship ... Travelfish members only (Around 900 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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