After a long day on the road that included passing through some villages with minor flooding, we checked into our cabin at the TaNiTa (Lagoon) Resort. Since we were traveling by car and only making a quick 1-night stop, the location near a main road outside of the center of town was an asset for us. Accommodations there are bungalows set around the perimeter of a lake. This isn’t a fancy hotel but the room was very clean. The bathroom was modern and newly refurbished. Breakfast was delivered to the room by golf cart and we enjoyed it at lakeside table under the attached carport. Not for those seeking a luxury hotel but a reasonable option for the price.
The next morning we headed out to the Phu Phra Bat Historical Park . The park contains huge rock formations created by natural erosion but that look like some giants have been playing with stone toys.
From the Historical Park we drove back to Route 2 and made a stop about 9 miles north of Udon Thani at the Baan Na Kha Weaving Village. We found our way to the weaving co-operative and were impressed not only by the quality of the weavings but also by the ladies doing the work. All were extremely friendly, stylishly dressed and took great pride in the weavings they were producing. We found some of the cotton weavings there to be among the best quality we have seen anywhere in Southeast Asia.
After picking up a few pieces of fabric there, we continued our drive north to Nong Khai to visit the Tha Sadet Market. This is a large market that is also known as The Indochina Market as it is very close to the borders with Vietnam and Lao and carries products from all over the region. In fact, Nong Khai is located on the Mekong River and as you look across the water from the market you can see Vientiane, the capital city of Lao, PDR; a city we had visited just about a year before. We decided to make a little side trip and and drove to the “Friendship Bridge” that was built by the Australian government. When we had been in Vientiane, we actually walked halfway across this same bridge to the border but didn’t cross it completely. It was an interesting perspective to see it from the other side of the river.
From Nong Khai we headed back south towards Udon before turning east. It was getting lunch time and Nook mentioned that the local specialty of this area was grilled jumbo river prawns and asked if we would like to try that. About 15 minutes out from Baan NaKa Village, Ed pulled off the highway an unpretentious roadside restaurant.
We were at KungPao Restaurant where we were about to enjoy one of the great meals of our lives. Not only were the grilled prawns to die for, we had a terrific version of Gang Som, a mixed seafood spicy & sour soup with a red chili paste broth chock full of mushrooms, tomatoes, herbs and every type of freshwater seafood one could imagine. We had enough food for 2-3 more people and the whole bill was $15. I asked Ed if he had eaten at this restaurant before and he said that he had not. I asked how he found it and he said that he saw a lot of local cars there and figured it would be good.
Our last stop of the day was in the village of Ban Chiang to see the archaeological dig that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the site visitors can see the distinctive red and black pottery as well as multiple skeletons of an ancient people. This is also the location of some of the first discovery of Bronze Age relics found in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, the museum was already closed when we arrived but just getting a chance to see the dig was enough to warrant a visit to Ban Chiang,
From Ban Chiang, we proceed on to Nakhon Panom, our destination for the day with thoughts of attending the annual Long Boat Races on the next morning.
Click here to see a video of this day including some shots of the Historical Park and our wonderful lunch. This video also includes scenes from the annual Long Boat Races held on the Mekong in Nakhon Panom we saw on the next day. At the end are a few cuts from a visit just up the road at famous Wat Phra That in Renu Nakhon.