Buttressing the riverside promenade and stretching for what feels like forever, Tha Sadej market is a long and cramped roofed affair where you can shop for local products and no shortage of chintzy imports from throughout the Indochina region and beyond.
The market offers the very latest imports from Laos, Vietnam and China. If you're keen on picking up Friendship Bridge T-shirts and ceramic laughing Buddhas that are fresh off the assembly line, this is your place. You'll also find worn-out military jackets and canteens that are leftovers (supposedly) from the Vietnam War, locally-produced muu yor (peppered sausage that's steamed and wrapped in coconut husks) and several shops slinging noodles, barbecued fish and papaya salad. A rather touristy plaza at the market's centre sells Lao coffee and tea, Vietnamese wines and Thai framed art.
It would be impossible to visit Tha Sadej without also taking a stroll on the pedestrian-only riverside promenade that stretches from Nong Khai pier in the west to Soi Si Kun Mueang, and then continues along Rimkhong Road all the way to the sunken chedi. With several roofed salas and even some exercise equipment, it's a pleasant spot for an evening stroll or bike ride. On Saturday nights, locals and travellers flock to the promenade for street performances, arts and crafts and no shortage of street snacks. This is also where locals congregate to watch the Naga lights in October and the longboat rowing competitions in August and September.
Along the river you'll also find a number of bars, barbecue restaurants and half a dozen temples. While Wat Phra That Khlang Nam is the best-known, other riverside temples include a colourful spirit shrine at Wat Hai Sok and giant rooftop Buddha at Wat Lam Deun.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 19th September, 2015.