Udon Thani is a province in the northeast of Thailand. It is bordered by the provinces of Nong Khai to the north, Sakon Nakhon to the east, Kalasin Province to the southeast, Khon Kaen to the south, and Loei and Nong Bua Lam Phu Province to the west. The province is divided into 20 districts covering the area of 11,730 square kilometers. It is located 564 kilometers from Bangkok with the population of nearly 1.6 million people, in the city alone, there are approximately 250,000 people. The locals are mainly engaged in agricultural activities, with particular rising in wholesale and retail trading activities. That is why Udon Thani is an agricultural market hub or neighboring provinces. There are many interesting tourist attractions in Udon Thani province.
The Monument of Prince Prajak Silapakom
Prince Prajak Silapakom was one of the sons of King Rama IV. He founded Udon Thaini province in 1893. Local people as well as visitors, who travel pass the province, pray to him for success in studying, working, even enlisting. Every year on January 18th, people will gather, dress in traditional clothes in orange and dance around the monument circle as the way to worship him.
Udon Thani City Pillar Shrine
The city pillar shrine of Udon Thani was established in 1999. It is highly considered a very sacred place in every province in Thailand. It is the place where the guardian deity resides to protect the bad things from happening to the city and residents. God Wetsuwan is the protecting God of Udon Thaini province.
Nong Prajak Park
This park is named after the founder of the province, Prince Prajak Silapakom. It is a public park for relaxation and recreation activities. The park is situated in the center of the lake surrounded by many types of beautiful plants. Around the lake, there are also tracks for cycling and jogging. People can relax and enjoy outdoor sports with family and friends as playing badminton, rattan ball, basketball, football, aerobic dancing and many others. Parents can also take their children to play in the playground or feed the fish in the lake.
Teparak shrine or Holy shrine of Udon Thani is located near Nong Prajak Park. It is believed that even though Prince Prajak Sillapakom had passed away a century ago, his Holy Spirit still look after and protect Udon people. As well as the city pillar shrine and Prince Prajak Monument, Teparak Shrine is worshiped by both the residents and the tourists. People who are worry or have troubles will visit and pray for his blessing in their happiness and wellbeing.
Nong Prajak Palace
Nong Prajak Palace is situated right next to Teparak Shrine, across Nong Prajak park. It was built during the reign of King Rama V for Prince Prajak Sillapakom when he visited Udon Thani for work. His Majesty The King and Queen also stayed here during their visit to Udon Thani province in 1955.
Red Lotus Lake
It is one of the province famous tourist attractions situated in Kumphawapi District. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery of tropical flower in the lake on the pontoon boat. The best time to visit the lake is during the cold season, December to February. We can see the beautiful lotus blossoms between early morning until almost noon. This romantic site is usually very crowded during Valentine’s Day weekend.
Na Kha Traditional Textile Market
Na Kha village is one of the closest tourist attractions to Udon Thani city. It is located 15 kilometres on the route to Nong Kahi province. It is famous for hand woven products; for example, Khid style woven clothes, dresses, women’s purses, and handicrafts. It is a very good place for finding souvenirs to take home with. They have a selection of traditional textile in various colors and styles suitable for buying for oneself or as a group for the workplace.
Phu Foi Lom National Park
Phu Foi Lom is an eco-tourism tourist destination for nature lovers. It is located in Pa Phan Don-Pakho National Forest Reserve in Udon Thani province. The weather is cold almost all year round because it is located about 600 meters height above sea level. It covers an area of about 60,000 acres. There is a great variety of rare, colorful and beautiful flowers. There are also parking facility, picnic spots, gift shops, restaurants, resort, and camping-rental service available in the park.
Phu Phra Bat
Phu Phra Bat is a historical park is situated in Ban Phue District at the foot of Mount Phu Phan. The park's area is 1,200 acres on the route between Udon Thani and Nong Khai province. It is famous for its unusual rock formations and prehistoric paintings on the rocks. Phu Phra Bat's rock formations are the setting for a local legend about a king, his daughter and her suitor. The park's most striking rock formation, Hor Nang Usa, is where the overprotective king forced his beautiful daughter to live in. Despite her confinement, she was able to get a message out to her suitor prince and the two were married in defiance of her father.
Ban Chiang National Museum
Ban Chiang National Museum has been an example of prehistoric culture and technology for centuries. It is located in Nong Han District in the east of the province, about 50 kilometers on the route to Sakon Nakhon province. The villagers had uncovered some of the pottery in prior years without insight into its age or historical importance. The Fine Arts Deperment and the University of Pennsylvania did two extensive archaeological excavations at Ban Chiang and nearby areas in during 1974-1975. Ban Chiang has been called “the centre of a remarkable phenomenon of human cultural, social, and technological evolution” in Southeast Asia. In 1992, the Ban Chiang archaeological site was registered as a UNESCO world heritage site at the World Heritage Committee. This archeological site exhibits ban chiang style pottery which reflect the lifestyle of people in the past. Visitors can also enjoy a demonstration on how to make ban chiang pottery by the villagers. The museum opens daily from 9.00am till 4.00pm except on Mondays.
Wat Phothisomphon or Phothisomphon Temple
Wat Phothisomphon temple is located on Pho Si Road in Udon Thani. It was built during the late reign of King Rama V during Rattanakosin era in 1906. It was originally known as Wat Mai and was renamed to honour the founder of the temple. Nowadays, it is also known as Wat Pho for short. Inside, there is also a museum of revered monks famous for meditation. There are historically and religiously sacred objects in this temple. For instance, the bronze Buddha image, the laterite Buddha image, the sacred Bodhi tree, the reproduced footprint of the Load Buddha, the golden Buddhist scriptures cabinet and the great Buddha's relics pagoda. The temple opens daily at 8.30am to 6.00pm with no entrance fee.
Wat Pa Phu Kon
Wat Pa Phu Kon is another famous temple with the unique aqua blue roof situated in Na Yung district, 126 kilometers away from Udon Thani Muang district. The location of the temple is also the joint of 3 provinces in the northeast region including Udon Thani, Loei, and Nong Khai. The temple’s architecture and beautiful location are very impressive. Also, its splendid isolation and peaceful, natural environment makes it an ideal spot for some meditation. The complex is guarded by dragon statues carved from Italian marble. Inside the temple, there is a 20-meter long white marble reclining Buddha statue. There are do's and don'ts signs around the temple as to mention about what is considered appropriate or not. Like every other temples and sacred places in Thailand, visitors must dressed appropriately, no shorts or sleeveless shirts. In addition, Thai-styles clothes are provided for rent at reasonable price.
Thai-Chinese Cultural Center
Thai-Chinese Cultural Center was established in 2013 for the purpose of preserving the art, culture, lifestyle and philosophical principles of the Udon Thani ancestors. It is located on Posri Road near the train station. In the cultural centre, there are Chinese- style coffee shop, beautiful garden with small pond full of colorful fishes, canteen, souvenir shop, museum and conference hall. The Museum of Morality is fully equipped with modern, interactive displays and a 3D movie about the history of the Chinese community in Udon Thani, and about Confucius, the Pu-Ya faith and the PUYA Foundation. Moreover, there is an orchestra band playing traditional Chinese instrument every Wednesdays and Fridays at 5pm at Preecha Chairat conference hall. Nearby, there is a colorful Chinese temple called Chao Phu-Ya Shrine. The word “Phu-Ya” means grandfather and grandmother. It refers to the ancestors of Udon Thani who travelled from China. It is unclear when exactly this place was built. There are six points making up the temple area. First there is the Shrine of the Sky Earth Angel, then the Shrine of Grandpa and Grandma (shown below), next the Shrine of the Nongbua God, after that the Shrine of the Spirit, then there is the Sang-gudjai Buddha Image and finally, the Chung-nguansuai God. When people pray at this temple, there is a procedure that is followed. The procedure involves moving from point to point, placing five joss sticks at each point, three in the centre for the most Sacred God and one either side for the Angels which protect the Gods of the Shrines. Both the cultural center and the temple open daily at 9.00am till 7.00pm.