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Udon Thani is a city in the Isaan region of Thailand. Often referred to as simply Udon or Udorn, the city should not be confused with Ubon Ubon Ratchathani in southeastern Isaan. It is approximately 450 km (280 mi) northeast of Bangkok, and is the Capital City of the Province of this name.
Udon Thani International Airport (UTH), currently has domestic flights to Bangkok (Nok Air, Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways, Lion Air, Air Asia), Chiang Mai (Nok Air, Bangkok Airways) and Phuket (Air Asia).
Flights to Bangkok take about one hour.
To get to town there is a "limousine service" (actually a minibus) for 80 baht/person that will drop you and other passengers to the place of your choice. If there are more than 2 of you, it may be cheaper to call a taxi. Minibus tickets are available in the booth just to the right before you leave the terminal building. Taxis are not permitted to wait for passengers at the airport. Some of the hotels have pick-up service and may take an extra rider or two as space permits.
Daily trains go to Nong Khai and over the Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River to Laos. There are also frequent trains to Nakhon Ratchasima and Bangkok. The overnight express sleeper to Bangkok is scheduled for 9.25 hours but usually takes longer.
Navigation around Udon Thani is made easier by three large roundabouts on the central road, Hwy 2: the clock circle, the fountain circle, and the Prince Prajak Circle. It's also possible to orient yourself with Central Plaza, city centre, or Nong Prajak Park. There is a bypass road that goes around the city.
The main bus station, near Central Plaza has a taxi stand.
By bicycle taxi
Udon Thani has many samlors (three-wheeled bicycle taxis), although as elsewhere, they are slowly succumbing to the pressures of internal combustion engines.
Tuk-tuks, three-wheeled motorcycles, are readily available in most commercial areas. Negotiate a price before taking the ride. Note that in Udon Thani the locally made vehicles (called skylabs) differ from those in most of Thailand outside Isaan in that their fronts are adapted motorcycles. If you travel to Laos, you will see such vehicles (called jumbos) there, also.
There are limited city bus routes.
Buses depart at least once per hour after 11:00 to Nong Khai on the Lao border, (40 baht, 1 hour, non-air-conditioned 3rd class bus.
You can follow the locals and hop on the waiting #6 songthaew to the bus station or take a tuk-tuk.
Bicycles are available for rent at the northeast corner of Nong Prajack Park for 20 baht/hour.
By motorcycle or car
Motorcycles or cars are for rent at numerous locations.
What to see
Udon has a variety of sights, both in the city and the province, although most visitors make a beeline for Laos or the bronze age excavations east of Udon at Ban Chiang.
Ban Chiang, (Take Highway No. 22 to Km. 50 and turn left onto Highway No. 2225, where a road sign indicates the way to Ban Chiang 6 kilometers further down the road.). Archaeological Site is a UNESCO World Heritage site about 35 km east of Udon. Both buses and inter-village songthaews will drop you off at the Ban Chiang turn-off. An admission fee of 150 baht is charged.
Ban Nak Ha - A village famous for selling home-woven silk and cotton garments. It is somewhat commercialized but a walk back from the road into the village can net some great bargains on silk and cotton.
Nong Bua. A park with a lake just to the east of the railway line. It is noted for its Chinese pagodas over the lake and the dragon pole.
Nong Prajack Park. A large recreational area within the city and the primary site for locals to exercise and chill out. Consisting of a large lake/reservoir with several small islands, it features pleasant grass areas and activities such as nightly aerobics (to Thai pop music) and feeding bread crumbs to the fish. For the more active, it's also popular for jogging around the outside of the lake.
Nong Sim, (1 Km North of the Railway Station). Another lake/park offering quite a good location for shops and restaurants. The potential here now seems to have been noticed by a few businessmen, and now there is 'The Book House and Coffee Shop'.
Phu Foi Lom Eco-Park, (40 km southwest of Udon, located high on a ridge line). Numerous trails and rainy season water falls are within the park. South of Udon is a large wetlands area/lake called Khumpawapi. In the October timeframe, traditional dragon boat races are held on the lake. Within Khumpahawapi is a city park with a large troupe of monkeys that have been living there for over a hundred years.
Phu Phrabat National Park. A marvellous ridge line with numerous sandstone edifices several thousand years old. Bronze age cave paintings are also within the park.
Phu Phra Bat was opened to the public in 1989 and is maintained by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand. Phu Phra Bat is known to be a very spiritual and peaceful environment and is a must-see for every tourist, whether it be a day-trip or an overnight stay.
Udon Sunshine Orchid Farm. Famous for a variety of orchids, orchid derived perfumes, and plants that "dance to music".
Udon Thani Provincial Museum, (Prosri Rd, in the government centre.). Excellent range of displays of the archaeological and historical past, plus geology and folk history. The museum is housed in an interesting somewhat elderly building, which was originally a girl's school. Entry by donation.
Wat Pa Phu Kon. is a forestry preservation in Na Yung forest and Num Chom forest Bankong(sub-district) ,Na Yung (district), Udonthani(province).