Mukdahan is a peaceful province located on the bank of the Mekong River, opposite Sawannakhet in Laos. The ancestors of the Mukdahan people migrated from Laos to establish the city in the late Ayutthaya period. The province has always been an interesting mixture of cultures from various tribes since ancient times. Moreover, it is a land of fantastic natural rock parks and is a major gateway to tourism in Laos and Vietnam. The province is renowned for its sweet tamarind fruit and features many natural attractions. Mukdahan has an area of 4,339 square kilometers.

:: Attractions

Built in 1956 by Vietnamese immigrants, Wat Sri Mongkhon Tai is noteworthy for its statue of mythical creatures at the entrance to the main chapel. Housed here is the province's principal Buddha image, Phra Chao Ong Luang, and a Buddha image made of steel, both discovered buried in the grounds during the town's construction.

Also situated by the riverfront is Wat Yot Kaew Siwichai which houses an enormous, golden, seated Buddha image in an open-fronted wiharn with paneled glass on both sides. In between these 2 temples is a market that almost runs the entire length of the riverside. Also located running alongside the riverfront is the scenic Samran Chai Khong Road. On this road is Wat Sri Boon Rueng , where the bronze Phra Buddha Singh Song image is housed.

The provincial town serves as the Thai-Laos Checkpoint , and opens daily from 08.00 hr. until 17.00 hr. Across the river, the Laotian town of Suwannakhet features many interesting tourist attractions. Several travel agencies are located in the area to facilitate tourists.

Visitors can see panoramic views of Mukdahan, the Mekong River and Sawannakhet on a clear day, from the top floor of the Mukdahan Tower. On the ground floors are displays of the city's culture, including the 7 indigenous people tribes.

At Phu Pha Therb , there are groups of rocks with various shapes such as mushrooms, umbrellas, airplanes and crowns. And during each season, different kinds of flowers bloom on and in between the rocks. At the apex of the Phu Pha Therb is Thum Fa Mue Daeng (Red Palm Print Cave). Inside the cavern walls are 10 red-colored palm prints dating back over 5,000 years ago.

The largest mountain in Mukdahan National Park is Phu Tham Phra , where several hundreds of wooden Buddha images and animal statues can be seen inside a cave located in front of a waterfall.

A one-foot thick layer of fossilized Stone-Aged Conch Shells , estimated to be about 27 million years old, were found buried 40 feet underground at Ban Nayor. This is one of 3 such places in the world.

Though diminutive in size, the hills of Phu Mu (Pig Mountain) Forest Park are actually 353 meters above sea level. The vast plateau, with an area of 4 sq km, located at the summit was originally inhabited by numerous wild boar, thus the name. The area used to be an American military camp with a radar station and heavy artillery stations. It offers another great viewing spot of Mukdahan.

Running across the Mekong River is the Kaeng Ka Bao Islet. During the dry season, water recedes at different levels around the islet, creating an image resembling many small waterfalls. The islet is a popular recreational place for locals not only for the scenic attractions, but for the famous "Kaeng Ka Bao roast pork" , a local dish where the meat comes from the Laotian side of the river.

Wat Song Khon , the most beautiful and largest temple in South East Asia, is situated close to banks of Mekong River. On display here are waxed replicas of 7 blessed martyrs. Behind the temple is the scared graveyard, the burial ground of the seven blessed Martyrs. Other noteworthy attractions are the bell-tower by the side of the shrine, the circular wall on which the plaques were placed for veneration, and an aerial view of the Shrine of our Lady of Martyrs by the Mekong River.

:: City attraction part 1

Chao Mae Song Nang Phi Nong Shrine is on Samran Chai Khong Road, next to Mukdahan immigration checkpoint. No records exist of its origin but it is regarded to be as sacred as the Mung Muang Shrine. The locals hold a celebration to pay homage to both shrines in May every year.

Chao Pho Chao Fa Mung Muang shrine is on Song Nang Sathit Road. It is here that the city shrine is located. It is believed that the shrine was built at the same time as the founding of the city. The people of Mukdahan regard the shrine as a sacred place that preserves the city's happiness.

Wat Si Mongkhon Tai is near the immigration checkpoint. The temple houses an important Buddha image of the province, Phra Chao Ong Luang, an image built before the city's founding. This brick image is 2.2 metres wide and 2 metres high. According to legend, the first lord of Mukdahan discovered it while he was overseeing the city's construction. In addition, another image made of steel was found under a Bodi tree with only its top part protruding from the ground.

Phra Phuttha Sing Song is a Buddha image at Wat Si Bun Ruang (Ban Tai) on Samran Chai Khong Road. This bronze image is 1 metre wide and 1.2 metres high. Chao Kinnari took the image from Vientiane to Mukdahan when the city was built. A ritual to pay homage to the image takes place every Songkran (Thai New Year) day.

Sawannakhet Province, Lao People's Democratic Republic is opposite Mukdahan. The second largest city to Vientiane, the province has routes linking Laos to Danang in Vietnam. To enter Laos, foreign travelers must have a valid passport and obtain a visa from either a Lao embassy or the Lao consulate in Khon Kaen.

Ho Kaeo Mukdahan is a 65-metre-high tower, 2 kilometres on the Mukdahan-Don Tan route. The lower floor features an exhibition on Mukdahan's history, another on the arts and culture of various tribes and the way of life along the Mekong River from past to present. The topmost part is an observation room where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the Mekong River, Sawannakhet and Mukdahan.