Not to be missed are the utterly bizarre gardens of Sala Kaew Ku. The handiwork of Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat, the park contains massive sculptures of Buddhist and Hindu ideologies. With many over 20m tall, take a stroll and gaze at goddesses with many arms, naga snakes, and a wide range of human-animal hybrid statues. The Wheel of Life depicts Luang Pu's interpretation of the cycle of life - walking through a womb shaped tunnel you circle past his depiction of every stage of life.
Phu Phra Bat Historical Park dates back over 3000 years containing a variety of mysterious rock formations. Famous for its tranquillity and spiritual environment, it's a must-see for every tourist to this part of Thailand. Follow it up with a trip to Wat Phu Tok, a startling rocky outcrop with seven levels of wooden steps, roots and rocks on the mountain, representing the seven levels of enlightenment in Buddhist philosophy.
The Taa Sadej Market is the largest in Nong Khai. Sprawling over seven streets it has the feel of a Middle Eastern bazaar where you can find everything from clothes, knick-knacks and furniture to odd items beyond description. Follow a morning in the market up with a trip to Nong Khai Aquarium, where you can marvel at the giant catfish and the wide range of ocean fish on display.
A town that loves a celebration, you will find festivals on at many times throughout the year. The most famous is the Maekong (or Naga) Fireballs, where mysterious glowing pink balls arise silently from the river at dusk. Come see it for yourself and speculate what causes these fireballs every year. In September and October there are many rowing festivals - watch in awe the spectacular displays of athletic talent as they train for the main race.
A unique experience for the sporty is a training session with Arjan Lart, an ex-national champion who now runs a Muay Thai boxing school at the stadium next to the Grand Hotel. Try your hand reeling in a 20kg carp at VS Fishing Park, or simply relax at one of the many massage parlours in town.
Nong Khai is a truly local experience, so don't expect any of the major tourist traps of Bangkok. There are no superclubs, go-go bars or mega shopping malls here. What you will find is a fantastic place to chill by the Mekong River, as you recharge and revitalise on your holiday. Why wait to go and experience true relaxation? Book your Nong Khai hotel and flight to Bangkok today and take the time out you really need.
Image credit Oatz
Hotels in Nong Khai start at AU$19 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.