Trip from Nong Khai to That Phanom

NONG KHAI located on the border with Laos

A small town with lush vegetation and very picturesque charm, Nong Khai fascinates with its location by the river and its role as a border post.

However, the attractiveness of the city is not limited to its geographical location. Indeed, the city has several majestic temples and other monuments.

Its quiet, almost rural atmosphere makes Nong Khai a pleasant destination and the ideal place to start excursions to Laos.

Arriving from Chiang Kahn by road 211, we reach Nong Khai by passing under the Friendship Bridge, a direct link to Laos....
1170 m long, it is both road and rail.

Inaugurated on April 8, 1994, it is the first bridge over the Mekong river and the first to cross the entire river. Previously, the crossing was by ferry.

Its total cost was approximately $30 million, funded by the Australian government for international assistance to Laos.

It was built by Australian companies willing to demonstrate their ability to carry out major infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia. This mix of development aid and trade promotion has been criticized by some NGOs. This bridge, on the Kunming-Chiang Mai road, has opened up the country, with positive but also more contrasting consequences.

Since 2006, the Mekong has been crossed by a second bridge of Lao-Thai friendship between Mukdahan and Savannakhet, and since 2011 by a third bridge of Lao-Thai friendship between Nakhon Phanom and Thakhek. A fourth bridge should cross it in 2013 at Houei Sai.

The Indochinese market of Nong Khai where we go at the beginning of the day....

Hoping to discover a different market from the ones I'm used to seeing... I won't find much of anything really Indochinese.

The bread that can be found here comes from Laos.
In this picture, some breads (wrapped in paper) are prepared with Vietnam sausage, and vegetables (salad leaf, parsley, fennel among others)

Very close to the Indochinese market, the banks of the Mekong River have been nicely landscaped

There is even a reproduction of a Morris column.....

A Chinese temple, and a rather strange tree

At the bottom, we can see the Friendship Bridge linking Thailand to Laos

The prize for the most beautiful smile of the day goes without hesitation to this lady, a lottery ticket seller...

In the late afternoon, Thai people like to exercise...
The heat decreases with the sun and this ritual can be observed in all Thai cities


This temple collapsed in the Mekong River in 1847 and over the years,
his chedi drifted towards the center of the river.
It can now be seen when the river level is low during the dry season.

The evening arrives quickly and we finish our little walk in Nong Khai
with a sunset over the Mekong River....

From Nong Khai to That Phanom on route 212

This beautiful route 212 classified as tourist by the Michelin guide,
will take us to That Phanom 300km away, to the east.

Leaving Nong Khai, a quick look at these beautiful green rice fields... Superb landscapes

A look at Wat Ahong Silawad, located almost halfway between Nong Khai and Nakhom Phanom

On Thai roads, it is common to encounter police checks, especially as we approach Songkran, the Thai New Year that lasts several days.
Roads are becoming dangerous (alcohol and increased traffic density) and then (and most importantly)... drug research!

From Nong Khai to Nakhom Phanom on Route 212

Road 212 from Nong Khai to That Phanom, (in blue on this map) was rated as a tourist road in my old Michelin guide.

To tell the truth, there is not much to see on this road (300km), except the small temple Wat Ahong Silawad surrounded by big black rocks in a beautiful green park. The road is very often far from the Mekong and joins it in some places.

I much preferred the first part: road 211 from Chiang Khan to Nong Khai