Udon Thani Travel Guide
Introduction to Udon Thani
Known mostly to foreigners as a way station on the way to Laos, Udon Thani is home to a number of off-the-beaten-track treasures that will make your trip here well worth the effort. From 4,000-year-old pottery to giant inflatable rubber ducks, this city and province have plenty of things to keep you busy for several days.
Cultural Attractions in Udon Thani
Start your tour of Udon Thani by exploring the grounds of Wat Phothisomphon. Built by the royal decree of King Rama V in the late 19th century, this temple is easily the most eye-catching of all the Buddhist halls of worship in the city.
However, its most impressive feature was only completed nine years ago. In 2009, an impressive gilded chedi atop a large pagoda was completed, making it one of the most photo-worthy features of this complex. Within it, relics of the Buddha are stored, making this structure a popular destination for merit seekers. The top has great views of the surrounding town as well, so head up there if you want to get some great panoramic shots.
The Thai-Chinese Cultural Center is another great attraction that can be found within the city limits of Udon Thani. Built to honour the history of the Chinese community in the area, you’ll learn about the history of migration to this part of Issan, the teachings of Confucius, and Chinese culture in general. Don’t forget to check out the gardens outside, where you can feed the fish in a variety of koi ponds.
The biggest cultural attraction in Udon Thani can be found out in the countryside. The Ban Chiang Museum is an easy day trip from the city and one that is well worth the effort, as it profiles artifacts from human settlements in the area stretching back 4,000 years.
Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992, it is easily one of Thailand’s most under-appreciated cultural attractions. With ancient tools, pottery, and other implements of daily life millennia ago, it is a can’t miss sight for culture hounds.
Don’t neglect to make your way over to Phu Prabhat Historical Park before moving on elsewhere in Issan. Home to unusual rock formations, this place might not strike you as a cultural attraction at first glance, but as you make your way deeper into the park, you’ll find Buddha statues carved from rock, sandstone monoliths, and cave paintings.
We recommend hiring English speaking guides, as they will lead an informative tour around this site that will fill in knowledge gaps with amazing stories that will allow you to appreciate this place even more. Located an hour outside of Udon Thani, it is well worth the effort to get out here.
Other Attractions in Udon Thani
Of all the attractions in Udon Thani, Nong Prajak Public Park is certainly one of the more lighthearted of the bunch. When you first get here, it looks like any other city park, designed to give local residents and visitors a place to relax and exercise.
Upon further inspection, though, you’ll find something quite out of the ordinary floating in its main lake. Though it drifts around at will, a giant inflatable rubber ducky, in all its yellow glory, inhabits its waters.
When you have gotten an Instagram shot of this cute feature, feel free to make use of this park’s exercise equipment, which you will find scattered throughout the place.
Next, head out of town to check out the Udon Sunshine Fragrant Orchid Farm. Famous for growing flowers that are made into perfume, you will quickly learn this isn’t the only reason this place is popular with domestic tourists. Apparently, those who sing to the plants or play music to them get to witness the leaves move rhythmically to the notes sung or played.
If orchid perfume isn’t your thing, you’re in luck – the proprietors make another type of fragrance – from stink bugs. You buy it first and tell us how it smells – we’ll be right behind you … way behind you!
Travelling with kids? Give them a well-deserved break from touring wats and historical sites they may or may not interested in by spending a day at Playport Udon Thani Water Park.
With a number of pools and water slides, this park has enough to keep your kids engaged and everybody nice and cool. With entry only being 99 baht per person (except small children), it is a budget conscious way to have fun in the Udon Thani area.
End off your stay in Udon Thani by spending an evening strolling the UD Night Market. Held every night starting from 5 pm, you will be able to experience these iconic outdoor shopping arcades the way they were meant to be experienced, as not many foreigners make their way to Udon Thani.
It is also a great place to grab some excellent local Thai food at reasonable prices, so bring a healthy appetite.