:: KHON KAEN

Khon Kaen boasts of a lengthy history and has been the birthplace to many thriving civilisations and cultures. This is an area where the first dinosaur fossils were found in Thailand. Once the quiet capital of one of the poorest provinces in the Northeast, it has undergone dramatic changes and is now a prosperous, bustling town. Located at the heart of the region, it is the focal point of many regional development projects, including the site of the region's largest public university, commerce activities and abounds with beautiful, natural surroundings. Khon Kaen is 445 kilometres from Bangkok and has an area of about 10,886 square kilometres.

:: Attractions

The Khon Kaen National Museum houses a collection of artifacts discovered in the NE region, including those from Ban Chiang, and a number of artifacts from the Dvaravati period discovered in Kalasin and from the Khmer era.

The town's principal temple of Wat Chediyaphum houses the Phra That Kham Kaen. Legend has it that a withered tamarind tree (makam) miraculously sprung back to life as an erect tree sprouting green leaves everywhere while the procession containing a Buddha relic was passing by. People who witnessed this phenomenon erected a chedi in that area and called it the Phra That Kam Kaen, the origin of Khon Kaen's present name.

The highly revered Luang Pu Fang Keji, a teacher of the Vipassana (a type of Buddhist meditation) path, permanently resided at the forest temple of Wat Udom Kongka Khiri Khet while he was alive. Though now deceased, he is still held in high regards and memorial shrine houses his ashes on the temple ground. The elegant hilltop temple is renowned for its ornate, gold-colored roof and beautifully decorated doors.

Ubolrat Dam is the largest dam in the entire NE region. Obstructing the Pong River, the 80-m long and 20-m high dam was built entirely from stone and is used to supply electricity to 8 neighboring provinces. A restaurant by the reservoir and boating trips makes the dam a popular weekend destination for locals.

The main attraction of the Muban Tao (Turtle Village) , or Muban Kok, are the numerous land-faring, dark yellowish and brown-shelled'pek' turtles that reside in this village.

With an area of 325 sq km, the Phu Wiang National Park resembles a rocket launcher with the middle section being a flatland surrounded by towering mountains. The first dinosaur bones in Thailand were discovered here. Further investigation led to the discovery of many different types of dinosaur bones and over 50 different dinosaur prints within the stony geological layers, dating back from 140 million years ago. The fossilized remains of a herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaur may be seen at the park headquarters at Hua Phu Chon Reservoir.

The Noan Muang Historical Site is believed to have been inhabited from prehistoric times until at least the 10th century A.D., as evidenced by human skeletons and 3,000-year-old bronze tools discovered in the area.

Of particular interest at the Puay Noi Sanctuary , the largest Khmer complex in Khon Kaen, are the 3 brick pagodas, a laterite palace and beautifully carved doors.

The locals of Chonnabot District are renowned for producing high-quality mudmee silk fabrics, a time-consuming and delicate tie-dying technique performed before the silk is woven into intricate patterns. The Center for Development and Preservation of Silk Products leads visitors through the entire mudmee silk weaving process and provides the opportunity to purchase the finished products.

The Muban Ngu (Snake Village) , or Muban Koke Sanga in Nam Pong District is widely known for owning deadly poisonous snakes as pets. Originally, the villagers raised the poisonous snakes to produce herbal medicine, which later transformed into quicker, moneymaking entertainment shows, such as fights pitting man against snakes.

:: City attraction

Bung Kaen Nakhon has a large area of around 600 acres. It is the recreation and exercise spot for the city people. It is at its most beautiful at sunset. A road circling the lake is lined with numerous restaurants. The northern end of the lake is the Chao Phia Mueang Phaen monument that was built to honour Khon Kaen's founder.

Khon Kaen National Museum is on Lang Sun Ratchakan Road. It has on display exhibits on ancient civilisations, and artefacts found in the Northeast including the prehistoric civilisation of Ban Chiang. It houses human skeletons, tools, earthenware pottery, heart-shaped stone temple markers, bas relief of the Dvaravati period from Fa Daet Song Yang in Kalasin, including Khmer or Lop Buri period art objects found in the Northeast and the Central Region, such as god figures, earthenware pottery, and sandstone lintels. It is open daily except holidays from 09.00-16.00 hrs.