Udon Thani Travel Guide
Udon Thani stands at the gateway to northeast Thailand and is usually the first stop for those traveling from Bangkok to Isaan. Tourism is secondary to transport so few stopover for more than a few hours.
This transport hub has seen a particular boost in the seedy side of tourism lately. It’s accumulating a red light district that has less to offer than Pattaya or Bangkok, but Thailand’s infamous sex tourists still manage to find their way here. Beyond this, there’s not much to bring a person to Udon Thani.
With that in mind, families don’t have to shy away from visiting. The night scene is constrained to a few obvious avenues and can easily be avoided. There are also a few interesting temples and forest monasteries in the countryside.
The most interesting temples are Wat Phothisomphon, with its famous monk museum; Wat Matchimawat, with its white Buddha image; and the Chinese Spirit Shrine, also known as Chaopu. Any of these are worth visiting for die-hard temple enthusiasts.
The reservoir is a potential daytrip destination. It’s not far from town and has picnic and boating facilities. The king also built a palace for his mother here, but it’s not always open for tours. Another fun diversion is the Pa Ban Tat forest temple, spread across several acres and home to wild pheasants, shrews and boar.
Getting There & Away
Udon Thani can be reached by bus from Bangkok (8 hours), Khon Kaen (2 hours, 30 minutes) and Pattaya (10 hours). The railway that connects Nong Khai with Bangkok passes through here, with express trains reaching the capital in 10 hours. The local airport operates regular flights to Bangkok (1 hour), with multiple flights per day. A few flights per week also depart for Chiang Mai (1 hour, 30 minutes).
Things to Do
Udon Thani Attractions
- Krommaluang Prachaksinlapakhom Monument
In honor of a 19th century prince, this monument is in the heart of the city and is the centerpiece of a short festival in january.
- Wat Phothisomphon
This temple was built under the patronage of the popular rama v. a museum of famous monks is onsite.
- Chinese spirit shrine
Distinct from thai shrines, this one includes a lotus pond and two chinese pavilions near the train station.
- Huai Luang Reservoir
Just outside of the city, this area is popular for recreation, relaxation and fishing.
- Udon Thani Museum
A collection of exhibits on natural science, archeology and local folk history, this museum is an interesting diversion if you’re already in town.