Photo: River scenes near Sangkhom.


Nestled along a scenic stretch of the Mekong River in western Nong Khai province, the tiny village of Sangkhom is one of those little-known, remote places that turns out to be a highlight for those willing to sidestep the well-trodden track. In other words, we love Sangkhom!

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Also set along one of Thailand’s most picturesque roads, Sangkhom sits 80 km west of Nong Khai and just 25 km east of the border with Loei province. If you’re embarking on a Mekong motorbiking adventure, this is an ideal place to take a breather — be it for an hour or a week. One of our favourite places to stay in Thailand, Buoy Guesthouse, is another good reason to stick around for a while.

The town itself is an ideal place to enjoy fresh-caught Mekong fish and Mekong whiskey at a restaurant terrace perched over the Mekong River. While most who make it here end up spending hours lounging riverside, the surrounding area boasts a handful of worthwhile attractions that are often devoid of visitors on weekdays.

Riverside scenes.

Riverside scenes.

A short ride in either direction takes you past idyllic scenes of straw-hatted locals tending riverside fields of tobacco and papaya. Waterfalls, caves and forest temples dot the lush hills that extend for many miles to the south and west. The rather bizarre Phu Phra Baht Historical Park, located in a remote corner of northern Udon Thani province, can be visited as a day trip from Sangkhom.

The quaint little town is nothing more than a single road — Route 211 — and a tangle of narrow lanes that shoot south from a pleasant riverside promenade. Along the main drag you’ll find a couple of convenience stores, a small but worthwhile market selling fresh fish and prepared foods, a few ATMs, a small hospital and a string of relaxing riverside restaurants.

You won’t find a McDonalds in Sangkhom, but the charming restaurant at Buoy Guesthouse does a good mix of home-cooked Thai-Isaan fare and basic breakfasts.
Peak hour.

Peak hour.

Another foreigner-friendly establishment is Tantawan, an inviting riverside restaurant that offers barbecued fish to go with authentic Thai staples and excellent coffee. A few of the restaurants with signs only in Thai also offer simple English menus.

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