Serviced by daily flights to/from Bangkok with Nok Air and Air Asia, Nakhon Phanom’s airport is located some 50 kilometres north of That Phanom.
Minibuses between Mukdahan and Nakhon Phanom pick up and drop off on Highway 212, right in front the Phra That, and can be flagged down elsewhere as they pass. They run in both directions until 16:30 and cost 40 baht per person to either city. If heading to Nakhon Phanom, you can also hop in one of the beige songthaews that pick up further north on Highway 212 and also cost 40 baht.
The long-distance bus station is located a 10-minute walk northwest of the Phra That, off the road that cuts north from the backside of the temple grounds. If you don’t see the destination that you’re looking for here, make a transfer in one of the larger cities. If heading to Laos, you can reach Savannakhet direct from Mukdahan, or Tha Khaek direct from Nakhon Phanom.
Fares from That Phanom include:
Bangkok (Morchit): One first-class bus departs at 08:00, and six more depart from 17:00 to 18:20, costing 535 baht. VIP buses depart at 17:50 and 18:10 for around 800 baht. These also service Nakhon Ratchasima. The ride to Bangkok takes around 12 hours.
Ubon Ratchathani: Minibuses pick up hourly from 06:30 to 16:30, cost 180 baht, and take around four hours. There’s also one regular bus departing at 07:00 for the same price. All of these also service Mukdahan.
Udon Thani: Departs every half-hour from 09:30 to 18:30 for 162 baht and takes around four hours.
Sakhon Nakhon: Departs at 09:30 and 18:30 for 60 baht and takes two hours. For more frequent departures to Sakhon, transfer in Nakhon Phanom.
That Phanom is a great place to explore on foot. If you prefer to pedal, bicycles can be rented for 100 baht per day at Poo Gam Phra on Soi 8, down the street from the Phra That. Bicycles are also available at That Phanom Place and the Riverview Hotel.
Finding a motorbike to rent could be more difficult; the staff at That Phanom Place offered us an automatic for 300 baht per day, but it seemed to be a situation where someone was willing to give up their own wheels. Poo Gam Phra also offered a small scooter, though again there was some reluctance and they only had the one bike available.
The alternative is to hire a tuk tuk, which are readily available in front of the Phra That on Highway 212. Expect to pay 20 to 50 baht for a ride anywhere in town. You’ll also find a handful of old pedal-powered samlors plying That Phanom’s streets.