Fly to Udon, drive to Laos

Company contributor TTR Weekly

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Picture: Travel MThai

Picture: Travel MThai

Udon Thani is best known as a gateway province to upper Northeast Thailand and neighbouring Laos and its capital Vientiane.

The city itself serves as an aviation hub, the closest airport to the border with Laos and the starting point for heritage tours that visit Mekong River towns such as Nong Khai, and the World Heritage sites of Ban Chiang.

Major highways link this city to other provinces, while the border is just 60 km by a four and six-lane highway. It is also an important station on the north-south rail line linking Bangkok with Nong Khai.

It will also figure prominently as one of the main stations on a high-speed rail line that will be built over the next five years starting in Bangkok and passing through Nakhon Ratchasima. Khon Kaen, Udon and Nong Khai on its northbound route before crossing  the Mekong River to Laos. It will connect with a high-speed rail line already under construction in Laos.

Check out the top five attractions and invariably the list starts with Ban Chiang one of the earliest Thai settlements. But there are also examples of the whacky side of life in Udon such as the strange giant yellow inflatable ducks that were an instant hit on social media with thousands of images uploaded by selfie-loving Thais. Having your photo taken with the yellow duck became one of those must-do things that have to posted on Facebook. Thankfully the duck lost out to newer fads in fashion and travel trending.

For a current trending on the places people visit the most while in Udon check out TripAdvisor’s top five attractions. The ranking is based on the sheer weight of reviews. If a place racks up a few hundred independent reviews it has to be worth a visit. (Note: We are quoting the best five attractions based on TripAdvisor reviews, 4 August 2017).

Nong Prajak Public Park

Top of TripAdvisor’s must-see places is Nong Prajak Public Park, which is one of three reservoirs in Udon Thani considered scenic attractions.

The park is named in honour of Prince Prajak Sinlapakhom, who is recognised as the founding father of Udon Thani.

The family of yellow giant inflatable ducks on the lake in this park is the focal point attracting visitors who shoot selfies uploading them to their Facebook and Instagram accounts with the ‘@Udonthani’ sign in the background. It’s free publicity for the province, but just how many people ask “why a yellow duck.” No one seems to know.

The park has a running and cycle-track, which are popular with keep-fit enthusiasts both during the early mornings and evenings. There are also climbing frames, swings and other attractions for kids. The park is designated an alcohol free zone.

The park had gained 338 reviews when we checked and leads off as the top place to visit according to TripAdvisor’s count.

Reviewers talk about it being a great place for families to relax. The place is praised as a nice venue for family to enjoy,  while kids can entertain themselves in an area that is safe.

The park is in the central western part of Udon Thani and about a 30-minute walk from the Day and Night complex.

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