Nong khai - The end of the line no more

Until the completion of the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge in 1994, Nong Khai was, in many respects, the end of the line. All bus and train service in the Northeast ended here, in this quiet town on the banks of the Mekong River, just a stone throw from the Lao Republic, and outsiders were few and far between. The completion of the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge in 1994 put Nong Khai on the map, so to speak, and has increased the number of visitors to the area. Despite these changes, however, the town still remains extremely quaint and the people are as friendly as people can get.

Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge

This bridge is perhaps the biggest attraction to Nong Khai, as it has opened Laos up to foreigners and Thais alike. This impressive structure was completed in 1994, and was the result of a joint Thai-Lao-Australian effort. With just one lane in each direction, this bridge spans over 1170 m, and cost a total of approximately US $30,000,000. This is the first bridge to span the Mekong River between Thailand and Laos, and has had significant political consequences. Plans are currently underway to add a rail link across the bridge and into Vientiane.

Phu Thok

This solitary mountain peak is located in the Bung Kan district of Nong Khai, nearly 185 km from the town of Nong Khai. At the top of the mountain stands a temple, Wat Chetiya Khiri Vihan, which can be reached by a seven-level wooden spiral staircase. This staircase itself is rather impressive, taking nearly 5 years to complete, as are the views from the top. In addition, the mountain has a series of caves. This wat is relatively difficult to get to, however it can be reached by an early bus to Ban Siwilai, followed by a songthaew to the entrance. This wat is visited regularly by Thais seeking merit, and is best enjoyed in the early morning.

Than Thip Waterfall

This picturesque waterfall, located some 110 km from the town of Nong Khai, along the scenic Nong Khai-Sri Chiang Mai highway, is one of the most beautiful natural attractions in the province, especially during the months from June to October. During this period, water levels rise, and this two-tiered waterfall swells into a rather impressive spectacle. The only drawback to this waterfall is that it is a long walk from the road. Than Thip Waterfall can be reached by bus or car, via the Nong-Khai-Sri Chiang Mai highway.

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