:: UBON RATCHATHANI

Since the 10th century, Ubon Ratchathani , or simply Ubon, was part of the Khmer Empire until the Ayutthaya Kingdom later conquered it. Towards the end of the 18th century, Laotians migrated to the northern banks of the Mun River and founded the provincial capital. The Laotian influence is evident in the architectural structures of some of the city's religious buildings. During the Vietnam War, Ubon encountered an expansive growth due to its proximity to an American air base.

Today, the province is the largest and one of the most important provinces in northeastern Thailand. It is a major tourist attraction of the lower I-San located 629 kilometres from Bangkok. Due to the large number of fascinating temples dotting the city, Ubon is a place of pilgrimage at the beginning of the Buddhist Lent. Aside from the numerous attraction sites, festivals and holidays are celebrated with a unique Ubon flair. The province borders the Mekong River in the east and features superb scenic view of Cambodia. The province covers 15,517 square kilometers.

:: Attractions

A landmark of the province is the Kaeng Sapue , a section of the Mun River that is filled with many rocks obstructing the natural river flow. Being the province's most beautiful cataract, it presents a picturesque scene with numerous small waterfalls cascading everywhere throughout the river, visible during the dry and cool seasons. It is a popular riverside recreational area.

Ban Pa -ao is an ancient village dating back more than 200 years, the first settlement of the Laotian immigrants who were bronzeware craftsmen.  Today, the villagers still produce bronzeware products according to the expertise and skills that have been passed down through generations.

Located in Warin Chumrab District, the Wat Pa Nanachart (International Forest Temple) is famous for its meditative teachings and has attracted many foreigners into the monkhood.  In the same district is Wat Nong Pa Pong , another important meditation center with a serene and shady environment.  The unique all-white, modernized Thai-style chapel is quite a remarkable sight. 

Highway 217 ends at the Chong Meg Border that marks the Thai-Laos boundary lines.  The road continues on the other side to the Laotian town of Pak Se, situated 38 km from the border.

Regarded as one of the best in the northeastern region, the Ubon National Museum is housed in the former country residence of King RamaVII (1910-25).  It contains displays of Khmer, Hindu, Laotian and Thai artifacts, traditional tools, utensils, and handicrafts.  The most impressive exhibit is a rare, giant bronze drum dating back to the 4th century believed to have been used for ceremonial purposes. 

Dating back from the 1800s, Wat Thung Si Muang is best known for its scriptural repository housed in the middle of a pond and for the mural paintings depicting the local culture some 200 years ago.

In 1853, King Rama I (1851-68) commissioned the construction of Wat Supattanaram Worawiharn , a riverside royal temple.  It is the first temple in the Northeast dedicated to the Thammayut sect, a strict branch of Theravada Buddhism.  It was built by Vietnamese craftsmen but combined an eclectic blend of Chinese, Thai and European architectural styles.

To commemorate the 2,500 anniversary of Lord Buddha's death, the more modern Wat Nong Bua was built in 1957.  The main attractions are the 2 whitewashed towers with four-sided bases decorated with carved standing Buddha images in niches and reliefs depicting tales of Lord Buddha in his previous lives.

The royal temple of Wat Si Ubon Rattanaram has an ordination chapel that was constructed in a similar style to the Marble Temple (Wat Benchamabopitr) in Bangkok.   The temple was built in 1855 and contains a rare topaz Buddha image, originally from Laos.

See the phenomena of the two-colored river at Don Darn Pak Mae Nam Mun (Mun River Delta) in Khong Chiam District.  At this site, the sky blue colored Mun River meets up with the concrete-greyish colored Mekong River and presents a spectacular sight.

:: City attraction part 1

Thung Si Muang is a wide-open ground in the middle of the city used as a recreation and festival celebration area for the townspeople. A monument of the founder of Ubon Ratchathani is also located here.

Wat Thung Si Muang is located on Luang Road in the municipal area. The temple was built during the reign of King Rama III and has a beautiful ordination hall in the northeastern architectural style. A scripture hall is located in the middle of a pond, featuring a roof that shows the Burmese architectural style while the lintel was carved in Laotian architectural art. Mural paintings in this temple feature the civilisations and cultures of the people of Ubon Ratchathani over 200 years ago.

Wat Si Ubon Rattanaram is a royal temple on Upparat Road beside the City Hall. The ordination hall is in the same style as the Marble Temple in Bangkok. The Topaz, Buddha image, the town's sacred image is kept here.

The Ubon Ratchathani National Museum is on Khuan Thani Road. Built in 1918, the building was once used as the City Hall. It is regarded as the museum with the best arrangement and display of artefacts from all districts in the province. Inside, there are displays of prehistoric events, history, and cultures of the natives of Ubon Ratchathani. The Museum is open Wednesday-Sunday from 9:00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.

Wat Chaeng is on Sappasit Road in the municipal area. It is a well-preserved ordination hall in perfect northeastern style, and is one of the oldest ordination halls in the provinces.