Friday, 22 January 2010

Thailand: Nong Khai - Gateway to Laos

I have recently spent eight days in Nong Khai, a pleasant "backwater" in the North-Eastern part of Thailand. Lying on the Mekong River, the town is the gateway to Laos.

The Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge.
This two lane road bridge with single track railway in the centre
straddles the River Mekong and was opened in April 1994.
The correct name for the bridge is really "The First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge",
as a second, more recent bridge, has been built further down stream.
The cost was about US$30 million and was funded by the Australian government
as a development aid for Laos

There is more to Nong Khai, though, than just a bridge linking two countries.....
The town, though small, is very attractive with many Buddhist Temples, a lively covered street market, a riverside promenade with sweeping views of the river and restaurants with terraces facing the broadwalk.

Part of the riverside promenade

At the far end of the promenade is the river boat station and ferry stop for goods destined for Laos, that are not transported by road. From early morning to late afternoon, the jetty is a thriving place with a great array of goods, ranging from rugs, pottery and cookware to washing machines, tv's and furniture.....

On the opposite bank to the river station is the Laos equivalent,
although never seemingly as hectic.......

Further along is this fish-farm

Set all along the promenade are these attractive billboards displaying tourist maps of the town and surrounding area. Very French........!!

In the middle of the River Mekong is this ruined chedi, "Phra That Klang Nam", and is visible only during the dry season when the river waters lower by some 13m.... The chedi, dating back to between the 15th and 17th centuries, slipped down the embankment in 1847 and continues to slide; being near the middle of the river, now.
Once the top of the chedi is visible in the dry season, coloured flags are fastened to the top.....

Phra That Nong Khai appears above the river waters

On the original site of the chedi stands a replica, known as "Phra That La Nong"

The attractive Provincial Offices

Close-by is the former Provincial Governor's mansion, now a museum

On the main road out of town is the City pillar

Set behind the riverside promenade and encompassing a couple of streets is the interesting covered market of Sadet

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