Sakon Nakhon

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A year ago we booked a special Air Asia flight deal from Bangkok to Sakon Nakhon and return for THB200 each (just over USD 5). Anyhow a year comes around quickly and we wondered what we were going to do there for 2 days. As it turned out it was an excellent mini-break and we learnt a lot about another part of Thailand.
Sakon Nakhon is not on the tourist trail but it has much to recommend. It is one of the north-eastern provinces of Thailand and its capital is the same name.

800px-Thailand_Sakon_Nakhon_locator_map_svgWe had done some prior planning and had our list of what we wanted to see. Incidentally if you are into temples then there are some renowned ones in the town itself. In fact you could spend two days looking at these alone. Temples however were not on our list and soon after disembarking  we were on a baht bus on our way out of town to visit Tha Rae village north of Sakon Nakhon and on the north shore of Nong Harn lake. In the late 19th century this was the largest Roman catholic community in Thailand and the presence visible with a number of churches and schools in the area.

The main attraction here are the old French colonial buildings which were built by French priests who had moved over from Vietnam in 1884. Some are a little worse for wear now unfortunately. It was a quiet village built along European grid patterns. We were the only sightseers.

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 Back onto the bus and further along the lake where we hired bikes ( THB10 each) and rode along a stretch of Nong Harn. This lake dominates the area covering 125 km² and is the largest natural lake in northeast Thailand. It was extremely beautiful. Our ride took us along one of its bays.
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Being midday it was hot though and I was sorely tempted to take a dip in the crystal clear waters. Luckily I didn’t because I later read that there is a danger of catching liver flukes!
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After a hot day back in to town. What about eating? Well there is a strong Vietnamese influence in Sakon Nakhorn and many of the restaurants seem to be Vietnamese. Excluding breakfast we had four meals and three of these were Vietnamese. Even at breakfast our fried eggs were served with Vietnamese steamed pork sausage! The food was delicious and certainly the best Vietnamese cuisine I have experienced in Thailand.

The next morning we went to Phu Pan National Park to the southwest of the city.  About an hours drive. Quite an extensive forested area and we pretty much had the place to ourselves apart from a troop of local scouts. They don’t get many foreign visitors I expect because when we were at the Park HQ I was asked if I could have my photo taken with a guide pointing out the attractions on a scale model of the park. My 15 seconds of fame I suspect. Any way it was very pleasant to walk along the cool shady trails. Not a great photo but it is taken from a cliff top and shows the forest stretching out as far as the eye can see.

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There is still an on going battle with illegal loggers and here are logs which have been seized and kept as court evidence.

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At the end we waited at the park entrance for the bus that would not come…

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We were kindly offered a lift into town by one of the park employees. The people we met were kind and helpful in their unhurried up-country ways. We left Sakon Nakhon with a good impression and fond memories.

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About The Weary Traveller

I like to walk up and down hills. I've been so very fortunate to have lived most of my life in the Far East (Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the Middle East (Qatar, Oman and U.A.E). I now live and work in Bangkok. I'm past the half century now and can't help but feel that some of the mountains that I've climbed lately I should have done yesteryear. The mind is willing if the legs are not always so. Here are some stories and realized dreams of hills climbed and, dales and deserts crossed. With a bit of art thrown in. I hope you might enjoy.
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4 Responses to Sakon Nakhon

  1. Looks beautiful. It has not even crossed my mind to visit Sakon Nakhon.

    • Had it not been for the cheap flights we wouldn’t have either. We all take the most attractive aspects of corse. The town itself looks a little like Mae Sot or for that matter any other dusty up-country town.

  2. That’s a great trip for $5.

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