Loei Travel Guide
Introduction to Loei
Located in the northern part of Issan along the border with Laos, Loei province is where Thai and Laotian culture intersect. In the 16th century, a treaty of friendship was signed between Thai and Laotian kingdoms, and later, the colonial leaders of French Indochina annexed this province, making it part of Laos for a time.
Even if you aren’t into the culture so much, the numerous mountains in this part of Thailand also make Loei a worthwhile destination for nature lovers as well.
Cultural Attractions in Loei
If you are looking for cultural attractions in Loei Province, seeking out the Phra Buddhabaht Phu Kwai Ngeon Footprint is a great place to start. According to locals, the Buddha himself is said to have left his footprint in the earth near the town of Chiang Khan.
A temple has been built around the site where this imprint is said to have been left, giving the place a sacred feel. Travellers with families (or those who melt at the sight of anything cute) will also love the population of rabbits which call this place home.
There are machines on temple grounds which dispense pellets which you can use to feed the cute bunnies which call this place home, so pop a few baht in their slots and enjoy the attention of scores of floppy-eared friends.
Next, head over to Prathat Si Song Rak, which is located in the Dan Sai area of Loei. The name of this site refers to a sizable stupa built next to the Man River, which was erected in the mid 16th century. It was built to consecrate a pact between the king of the Ayutthaya Kingdom and the Kingdom of Lan Xang (located in modern-day Laos).
It was a promise not to invade each other’s land while agreeing to stand shoulder to shoulder against the Burmese threat. While its history makes it an interesting landmark, it is also notable as a place of pilgrimage for couples seeking everlasting love in their relationships – if you see a lot of young Thai partners here, this probably explains their presence.
Temple lovers visiting Loei will want to make time to see Wat Neramit Wipatsana Temple during their visit to this province. It may look like an older temple, but this beautiful Buddhist hall of worship was actually built in modern times.
Within, you’ll find a spot-on replica of Phra Phutthachinnarat, the revered Buddha image found in Phitsanulok, as well as an exterior garden filled with flowers and expertly cultivated bonsai trees. Not a bad spot to find some peace and serenity on your travels through Loei and Issan.
Like other regions in Thailand, Loei province has its share of distinctive festivals which have made it famous. The Phi Ta Khon festival is that celebration here – each year on a selected date between March and July, people dress up in costumes and march through the streets of Dan Sai.
If you happen to miss this lively event, you can still take a peek at the getup parade participants wear at the Phi Ta Khon Dan Sai Museum. Ranging from the lighthearted to the nightmarish, the creativity on display here will make up for the lack of displays in English.
Other Attractions in Loei
Loei province is known throughout Thailand for the richness of its mountain scenery. Of all the options available to you, Phu Thog is arguably the most popular of the lot. Located close to Chiang Khan, the viewpoint on this scenic peak is best visited at sunrise, so set your alarm early.
When ready to head out, grab a tuk-tuk and get them to take you to the top of the hill. Don’t worry about early morning cloud cover – it is often confined to the lowest parts of the valley, meaning it is likely you be above them by the time you reach the summit.
In a land defined by tropical heat, many are obsessed with coldness. During the dry season, the peaks of Phu Kradueng National Park are often the chilliest in all of Thailand, with temperatures drops to the freezing mark and below being a common occurrence.
The summit is large and flat, with over 60 square kilometres of pine forest giving hikers plenty of room to pitch a tent. Spending a night is seen as a rite of passage by many Thai youngsters, though – as such, avoiding the park on the King’s Birthday and NYE is advised.
Come in April or May – far fewer people clog the trail to the top, and wildflowers blossom at the summit during this time period.
Back in civilization, get in some shopping and eating by attending the Chiang Khan Walking Street. On weekend nights, this open-air shopping plaza stretches 20 blocks, selling everything kitschy goods to the best street food Issan has to offer. Just be sure to take time to stroll along the Mekong promenade before sunset, as it will be an experience you will remember for a long time.