The Vietnam War transformed the sleepy provincial city of Udon Thani into a booming support center for a nearby American airbase, and since the withdrawal of American troops in 1976, it has continued to grow as an industrial and commercial center within the region. Located on an elevated plateau, the province is blessed with numerous forested hills and tributaries, but the Phu Pan mountain ranges and the Songkhram River are the province's 2 main natural resources. The province's main attraction is its archeological sites that date back over 5,000 years, particularly the one at Ban Chiang.
Located 564 kilometres from Bangkok, the province is a prime business centre of I-San. It is a world heritage site for the prehistoric culture of Ban Chiang. It covers an area of 11, 730 square kilometers.
Discovered by accident in 1966, the principal attraction of Ban Chiang is its archeological sites with evidence that indicate Northeastern Thailand may have been one of the world's earliest centers of spear production. Findings include spearheads dating from 3,600 BC and ceramics dating from the period between 3,000 BC and 500 AD. A collection of these artifacts and other ornamental items (bangles, rings) are on display at the Ban Chiang National Museum. Based on these findings, Ban Chiang has been recognized as an UNESCO Heritage Site.|
A short distance away are 2 covered excavation sites on the grounds of the Wat Pho Si Nai , featuring graves containing skeletal remains and symbolic burial ceramics pots arranged along the edge of the grave and over the bodies themselves. Other findings at the burial site include jewelry, tools, weapons, and river pebbles.
A depressed Buddha's Footprint, sunken 60-cm into the concrete ground, with a length of 193 m and width of 90 cm, can be seen at Phra Buddha Bat Bua Bok. The temple ground also contains a lotus-shaped chedi , similar to the Phra That Phanom, housing holy Buddhist relics. The early 20 th century pagoda is the focal point of the Phu Phra Bat Historical Park.
The extensive Phu Phra Bat Historical Park , located at the foot of the Phu Pan Mountains, features the exhibition of the evolution of man and geographical changes that took place displayed on sandstones refined naturally over time, producing various shapes and sizes of limestone structures. These serve as interesting evidence of ancient civilizations from many sites.
The Naka Village and Men Village produce woven fabric of cotton, silk, and kit (a traditional design) material at very affordable prices.
The Chinese God and Goddess of Mercy, the Pu-Ya Shrine is highly revered by all those seeking favors to alleviate economical and personal problems. Kept inside the large and attractive lakeside shrine is a lone 99-m golden dragon that is used in performing the annual Thung Sri Muang Fair in December.
After nearly 10 years of cultivation, the Udon Sunshine Orchid Farm features the aromatic flower whose extracts are used in making perfumes. The orchids produce a fragrant smell from morning until two in the afternoon.
The complex of Wat Ban Tat is situated on a densely forested, hilly area surrounded by rice paddies, an ideal setting for meditation. The temple's boundaries are clearly defined by a concrete wall, which prevents encroachment by the abundant wildlife. The monastery is under the strict guidance of a disciple of Phra Acharn Man Phurithatto, a widely respected northeastern Buddhist ecclesiastic.
Locals flock to the midsize Than Ngam Waterfall for an afternoon of relaxation and fun.
The scenic Huay Luang Reservoir is ideal for fishing, rafting and boat cruising.
Krom Luang Prachaksinlapakhom Monument , built to commemorate the founder of Udon Thani, is located in the centre of the town.
Nong Prachak is located within the province and an islet arranged as a public park with a great variety of trees and flowers centres the lake. It is a popular place for recreation among the townspeople.
Wat Phothi Somphon is located within the province, built at the end of King Rama V era (around the early of 20 th century).
Wat Matchimawat is a temple located within the province, renovated in the reign of King Rama V, and houses a white rock Buddha image.
San Chao Pu -Ya is a Chinese-style shrine located near Nong Bua market within the provincial town. It is a large beautiful Chinese shrine near the pond. The shrine keeps a 99 metre-tall replicated golden dragon, which is used in the annual festival of Thung Si Muang in December.
Udon Saeng Tawan (Sunshine) Orchid Garden is located in Soi Kamol Watthana on Udon Thani-Nong Samrong route (Highway No. 204). The garden produces and puts on sale a new species of Thai scented orchid called "Udon Sunshine". It is the only know vanda-hybrid which is fragrant between the early morning hours and about 2 p.m., and it is the first orchid in the world to be used in the production of perfume.
Wat Ban Tat is located off the centre of the province. Take Highway No. 2 (Udon Thani-Khon Kaen) and make a right at Ban Kong Keng for 9 kilometres. The temple is teeming with trees and small, wild animals. A number of Thais practise meditation at this temple.
Ban Na Kha and Ban Men is situated 16 kilometres from town on Nong Khai route. It is a centre of cotton, silk, and khit silk trading.
Huai Luang Reservoir is located on Udon Thani-Loei Highway. This huge reservoir comes under the care of the Irrigation Department, offers beautiful scenery.
Yung Thong Waterfall is 103 kilometres from the province. Located in Na Yung Nam Som National Park, it is a three-layer waterfall surrounded by large numbers of trees and valleys.
Ban Chiang Archaeological Site is considered to be cultural property of outstanding universal value and was nominated as a World Heritage Site in December 1992. It is located at Ban Chiang, Amphoe Nong Han, 55 kilometres from the province on Highway No. 22 (Udon Thani-Sakon Nakon). Turn left at the 50-km marker to Highway No. 2225 for 6 kilometres.
The site comprises of two parts. The first part stores antiques. Inside the building of the Ban Chiang Naitonal Museum, old artefacts, ancient Ban Chiang culture, tools and utensils that show ancient technology and surroundings, as well as earthenware pots from 4,000 to 7,500 years old, are displayed. The museum is open Wednesday-Sunday 9.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. The second part comprises an open museum in the compound of Wat Pho Si Nai. Most of the objects here consist of potteries that were found in the burial ground.
On the way to Ban Chiang, visitors can stop at several villages where handicrafts are made. Ban Kham Or located along Udon Thani-Sakon Nakon Road is a Ban Chiang pottery sculpture centre while Ban Pu Lu is a pottery-painting centre.
Than Ngam Waterfall is 45 kilometres on Highway No. 2 (Udon Thani-Nong Bau Lamphu-Nong Saeng). It is a medium-sized waterfall surrounded by trees.
Thung Si Muang Festival is held around December every year to showcase and sell local products. Dragon dancing can be witnessed during the festival.
Hotels and accommodation
- Ban Chiang : 5 Muk Montri Road Amphoe Muang [0 4232 7911-20] : 960-4,800 baht
- Chan Muang Resort : 302/1Mu 4 Udon Thani-Khon Kaen Road Amphoe Muang [0 4224 3815] : 400-500 baht
- Charoen Hotel : 549 Po Si Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4224 8155] : 1,300-10,000 baht
- Charoen Si Grand Royal : 271/5 Prachak Road Amphoe Muang [0 4234 3555] : 1,700-28,000 baht
- Charoensi Palace : 60 Pho Si Road Amphoe Muang [0 4222 2601, 0 4224 2611-3] : 400-900 baht
- Kings : 57 Pho Si Road Amphoe Muang [0 4222 2919, 0 4224 1444] : 180-450 baht
- Napalai : 572 Pracha Raksa Road Amphoe Muang [0 4234 7444] : 900-8,300 baht
- Paradise : 44/29 Pho Si Road Amphoe Muang [0 4222 1956, 0 4222 1506] : 250-1,000 baht
- Phen Resort : Udon Thani-Nong Bua Lamphu Road Amphoe Muang [0 4224 5355-6] : 300-500 baht
- Siri Udon : 79-91 Amphoe Road Amphoe Muang [0 4222 1658, 0 4222 2330-2] : 180-550 baht
- Sleep Inn Airport : 14 Mu 1 Udon Thani-Nong Bua Lamphu Road Amphoe Muang [0 4234 6223-4] : 680-2,800 baht
- Sri Chai Hotel : 480-484 Pho Si Road Amphoe Muang [0 4222 1903, 0 4222 2624] : 160-500 baht
- Ton Khun : 50/1 Mak Khaeng Road Amphoe Muang [0 4232 6336-45] : 700-1,400 baht
- Udon Hotel : 81-89 Mak Khaeng Road Amphoe Muang [0 4224 8160] : 800-6,000 baht
- Local Cuisine
- Chan Muang : Udon-Khon Kaen Rd., Tel: 0-4224-3815
- Kai Ban Por Tu Pong : Udon-Nong Samrong Rd., Tel: 0-4232-5229
- Mandarin : Mak Kang Rd., Tel: 0-4222-1043, 0-4222-2391
- Ming 24 Nor. : Srisuk Rd., Tel: 0-4222-2552
- New Em Oad : 118/9 Prachak Rd., Tel: 0-4222-3992
- Phu Wiang : Charoen Hotel, Phosri Rd., Tel: 0-4224-8155
- Pung Kee Restaurant : Mak Kang Rd., Tel: 0-4222-2398
- Rabiang Patchanee : Supakit Chanya Rd., shoreline of Nong Prachak Lake, Tel: 0-4224-1515
- Rim Nam : 76/3 Supakit Chanya Rd., Tel: 0-4224-2651
- Siam Hai Restaurant : Mak Kang Rd., Tel: 0-4222-1003
How to get there
* By car
From Bangkok, take Highway No. 1 to Saraburi and Highway No. 2 to Udon Thani via Nakhon Ratchasima and Khon Kaen, a total distance of 564 kilometres.
* By bus
Bangkok-Udon Thani buses depart from Bangkok's Mochit 2 Bus Terminal every day. Contact Transport Co.Ltd at Tel: 0-2936-2852-66 for more information.
There are buses running between Udon Thani and other provinces such as Nong Khai, Loei, Khon Kaen, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom and Ubon Ratchathani. The buses leave Udon Thani Bus Terminal every 40 minutes.
* By train
Trains depart from Bangkok's Hua Lamphong Railway Station to Udon Thani every day. Call 1690, 0 2223 7010-20 for more information.
* By plane
Thai Airways has several daily flights connecting Bangkok with Udon Thani. For more information, contact their Bangkok office at tel. 0-2280-0060, 0-2628-2000
Phuket Air provides daily flight services from Bangkok to Udon Thani. For more information, contact their Bangkok office at tel: 0-2679-8999.