Khon Kaen is a hub for tourists, be it work or otherwise, and if you want to know how to have the perfect trip in this part of Thailand, read on.
About Khon Kaen
Civilisations settled here thousands of years ago, and later, further cultures came in and settled too. After the Khmer empire ended, the place remained untouched until King Rama the first decided to take over and create a new town here. The Vietnamese, Indians and Chinese have been trading silk for more than 200 years now, and when you are exploring the town, you will be able to see the influences of these cultures everywhere.
The monsoon in this part of Thailand happens during July, August and September. These are the worst months in terms of being unable to explore the town freely. April is a good time to visit the area since the Songkran, which is the Thailand New Year, happens then too.
Getting around in Khon Kaen
Khon Kaen is quite a big place, and the public transport system here is great. You can also rent your own set of wheels to have more flexibility in terms of getting around. Tuk-tuks are found almost in every corner of Khon Kaen and it is a cheap and fast way of getting around.
Located in northeastern Thailand, Khon Kaen offers plenty to discover and here are some of the main attractions to include on your itinerary.
To gain insights into Thailand’s religious heritage, amongst the best things to do in Khon Kaen is to visit some of its temples. The relatively new Wat Thung Setthi with its striking design of blue and gold is not to be missed; also visit the remarkable Wat Nong Wang that has nine levels you can climb to enjoy amazing lakeside views.
Dino Water Park
To have fun with the whole family, head to Dino Water Park. Situated within easy reach of properties like Avani Khon Kaen Hotel & Convention Centre, this huge water park features thrilling rides and slides; highlights include the Looping Rocket and Windigo, while it also has water play areas for kids, a wave pool and more.
There are lively local markets to visit both for finding great bargains and trying Thai food. The Saturday Walking Street Market held from 5:00pm onwards is well-known and features buskers as well. Other hotspots include Ton Tann Night Market that has live entertainment and the more traditional Fairy Plaza Night Market.
Bueng Kaen Nakhon
One of the most popular attractions in Khon Kaen is the lake known as Bueng Kaen Nakhon which offers an idyllic backdrop for relaxation and recreation. There’s a playground for kids nearby, while you can rent bikes and enjoy cycling, go on leisurely strolls, head out on paddle boats or at one section, try some fishing.
If you’re planning on seeing the wondrous sights of Thailand on a sightseeing tour, be sure to make a trip to the city of Khon Kaen. This is an ancient settlement with plenty of history and culture for you to absorb and immerse yourself in – so, let’s take a closer look at what it has to offer.
Wat Nong Wang
If you’re looking for things to do in Khon Kaen, you should definitely start with a visit to Wat Nong Wang. This is one of the country’s most famous and spectacular temples, most notable for being 9 floors tall!
Wat Thung Setthi
The brilliant gold and blue exterior have come to characterise the Wat Thung Setthi – another beautiful temple found within the city. If you’re staying at a centrally-located hotel – for instance, the Avani Khon Kaen Hotel & Convention Centre – this is a fairly quick visit too – approximately just 15 mins from your hotel!
Bueng Kaen Nakhon
This is a lake found right at the heart of Khon Kaen. This is a great place if you want to enjoy a calm and tranquil atmosphere that’s removed from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. A number of distinct shrines can also be found along the length of the lake.
Shrine of City Pillar
Found near the city’s flourishing shopping centre, the Shrine of City Pillar is another important religious site found in Khon Kaen. It is believed that a famous monk once placed an inscribed stone at the site of the shrine.
Thailand is a paradise for all sorts of travellers, especially for the backpackers out there! It’s famous for many great reasons. Here are a few of them.
Forget about the unreadable names of Thai dishes, just enjoy their unique tastes. Thailand is a paradise for those who love street food and even seafood. Diverse kinds of noodles, meat, and spices, you find it all there.
The main religion of the Thais is Buddhism. This is why you find many Buddhist Temples (pagodas) and statues that are over a thousand years of age. There are also monasteries that you can visit when you are in Thailand.
Constructed in the mid-15th century, this old temple, Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong is popular among all travellers who visit Chiang Mai. It houses one of the sacred Buddha Relics as well.
The temple has two viharas. The larger one out of these two is a two-storied building and this houses the Buddha Relic. This relic is said to be the sacred skull of the Lord Buddha.
The Ku is also known as the Buddha Throne. It’s where hundreds of Buddha statues and images are kept for public display. The smaller vihara also houses many Buddha images.
It’s a great place to engage in meditation
The temple also conducts meditation classes. Even if you are a foreigner, you have the opportunity to learn meditation as they instruct in English as well. You can either choose the Samatha meditation practices or the Vipassana approach.
While those who do not speak Thai can fully enjoy a holiday in Thailand, it always helps to know some local phrases to use with the people you meet.
“Khap” and “Kha”
Before getting into phrases to use be it in Bangkok or at a hotel Khon Kaen has to offer, you need to differentiate between “Khap” and “Kha”. They are used at the end of sentences and denote a sign of respect; the main thing to keep in mind is that “Khap” is only used by male speakers and “Kha” only by females.
From meeting locals to interacting with staff at properties like Avani Khon Kaen Hotel & Convention Centre, the greeting you should learn is “Sawasdee”, which is the equivalent of “hello”. As mentioned, depending on the gender, the ending will differ; males will say “Sawasdee Khap” and females, “Sawasdee Kha”.
Also learn phrases such as “Sabai Dee Mai?” which is like asking “how are you?”, “Khop Khun Khap / Kha” the equivalent of “thank you” and “Mai Pen Rai” when you need to say “you’re welcome”. This phrase can also come in handy; say “Haawng Naam Yuu Tee Nai?” when you need to find the bathroom!
Here are some other phrases that can be useful on your travels in Thailand; keep in mind, a big part of conversing here is to be polite and non-confrontational too.
• Ni Tao Rai? – How much is this?
• Paeng – Too costly
• Mai Khao Jai – I don’t understand
• Aroy – Delicious
• Kor Tot – Excuse me
Touching a monk is forbidden in Thailand. You can have friendly conversations with them, but you should know your limits. Even when you need to take a picture together, you should first ask for permission and do it.
Do not criticize the royal family
Since you do not know about the King or his family, it’s always wise to avoid any conversations about them. Criticizing them is a serious offense in Thailand.
There’s an old saying which says, ‘if you haven’t explored Isaan, you haven’t experienced Thailand’, this rings true to almost everything that’s on offer here. Want to know more?
1) Ton Tann Night Market
Generally considered a little more upscale than the conventional night market, here at the Ton Tann Night Market you will find various traditional food stalls and street vendors. There are many boutique shops as well, and even a large centre stage that features an array of live performances.
2) Bueng Kaen Nakhon Lake
Of all the lakes in Khon Kaen, the Bueng Kaen Nakhon Lake located to the southeast of the city centre features a variety of bars, coffee shops and restaurants all around it. Food stalls which pop up towards the evenings serve an assortment of local delicacies. If you’re looking for a hotel, Khon Kaen has many that you can check out, such as the AVANI Khon Kaen Hotel & Convention Centre for example.
3) Wat Nong Wang
Learn about the culture of Buddhism and the history behind it at the Wat Nong Want temple which feature many relics as well as a gorgeous panoramic view of the town.
4) Horse Races
The horse races on Sundays are something to treat yourself to. You can grab a bite and even bet if you feel like it, all while enjoying a spectacle of a sport.
Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+