Mekong River, Chiang Khan and Khao Kho April 2019

Along the Mekong River from Nong Khai to Chiang Khan

We travelled north through Udon Thani to the river town of Nong Khai – location of the Friendship Bridge thats links Thailand with Laos across the Mekong River.

From there we headed west along the river on Route 211 – a fantastic drive dotted with villages, lined with banana and other trees, and the constant view of one of the world’s great rivers.


The Skywalk is a great tourist attraction. It was opened in April 2016 at a cost of 17M THB. It offers spectacular views of the Mekong River, Laos and the farmland of the Sangkhom region. It is not being very well promoted and certainly not well signposted.

While it doesn’t quite rate against the world’s most recognisable cantilever structure, the Grand Canyon Skywalk, it is still a fantastic and spectacular attraction.

Wat Tham Sri Mong Kol and Din Phiang Cave

Not far up the road from the Skywalk is the Tham Sri Mong Kol temple and Din Phiang cave.

The passages in the cave are fairly tight and low so we didn’t enter.

The signage along the path leading to the Wat (temple) seems to change. What doesn’t change is the inability to translate accurately.

Leaving the Wat we returned to the Mekong River and continued to Chiang Khan.

The carpark at the Wat and Cave is surrounded by bamboo.

Chiang Khan

Chiang Khan is a popular destination for Thai tourists. The focus is the traditional wooden, home style accommodation along the river. Chai Khong Road, parallel wth the river, is a walking street on Saturday night.

The symbol of Chiang Khan is the bicycle. Coupled with wooden houses and a very strong tradition of making offerings to monks on Sunday morning it gives Chiang Khan an ‘olde worlde’ atmosphere.

Phu Ruea National Park

At 1365 meters above sea level the peak of Phu Ruea is regarded as the coldest location in Thailand. It is 40 kilometres west of Loei and 50 kilometres south-west of Chiang Khan.

It is a great drive up to the carpark near the summit. A narrow twisting, turning road only just wide enough for two vehicles.

South to Khao Kho

Route 21 is a great drive. From Khok Ngam to Na Sam the road winds it way through the mountains, weaving left and right on high speed sweeps, some tight, some not, all a thrill to drive.

Khao Kho

Wat Phrathat Sonkaew

The loose translation for the name of this wat is ‘temple on a glass cliff’. It is situated on an 830 metre peak, a few hundred metres from the town of Khaem Son, on the main highway 12, in Khao Kho.

The main pagoda and surroundings buildings are reputed to be adorned with five million colourful mosaic tiles.

It has gained a reputation as a famous, ‘must visit’ temple for Thai Buddhists.

Pho Khun Pha Meung Bridge

Highway 12 from Petchabun to Khon Kaen winds through the mountains in Nao Nan National Park. Another great drive. The Pho Khun Pha Meung bridge is the tallest in Thailand.

Back to the chaos of Khon Kaen.

© Kim Epton 2019
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