Touching down in Udon Thani International airport, I was excited as to what the next few days were going to bring. I was in Thailand as part of the Women’s Journey Campaign, a tourism campaign to showcase Thailand from a female perspective. Things to do in Udon Thani province included visiting local villages, temples, markets and local markets.
Udon Thani is the capital of the Udon Thani province in the Isaan region in Thailand’s North East. It is approximately 560km north of Bangkok and easily accessible by a short domestic flight that takes about one hour.
Things to do in Udon Thani
1- Visit the Indigo Dye Village
Our first stop was straight to an Indigo-Dyed cotton village about 1.5 hour’s drive away.
If the luscious countryside scenery wasn’t nice enough on the way there, the delighted faces and warm welcome of the ladies who work in the cotton dyeing village were definitely a treat.
Although they were initially a bit shy to pose for photos, it didn’t take too long before they were happily showing us how they work.
We were fascinated with the process, from hand-weaving the fabrics into intricate patterns to extracting the indigo dye from the plants grown and carefully dyeing each piece by soaking it in each pot to gain the desired depth of colour.
2- Experience the serenity of an Udon Thani temple
Next stop on the list of Udon Thani things to do was to visit Kham Chanot, which is a Buddhist forest temple.
This Udon Thani temple is located in the Wang Nakhin area at a lake, where it is believed the Naga Lord Sisotho – a large mythical snake lives.
It is believed the Naga serpent plays a role in the protection of Buddhism and the worship of this Naga lord is one of the main features in this small forest monastery.
Local Thai people, and also some from Laos, still believe the Naga lord has a hideaway on the island.
People come to visit and give offerings of flowers, candles and incense.
3- Shop at the Udon Thani market
The following morning we set off to explore the local market and experience the local way of life.
The market was a hive of activity and I wasn’t surprised to learn that it’s one of the more popular Udon Thani attractions.
There were lots of stalls selling an array of different food items, freshly made Thai dishes, fruit, vegetables, fish, clothing, trinkets. You name it, you can probably find it.
Like many other markets in Thailand, the food looked delicious and we tried a few things. But some items were just a little too adventurous for us and we left those to the locals!
Photographing the strange types of food is probably considered one of the more bizarre Udon Thani tourist attractions!
I should give a special mention to the iced coffee though. It’s the best I’ve ever had anywhere, even when compared to the drinks served at the Udon Thani restaurants we tried.
4- Meditate at Wat Pa Baan Tat Temple
After we’d spent a good few hours wandering the markets (I would suggest allowing at least two hours), we departed for Wat Pa Baan Tat Temple.
This peaceful Buddhist monastery has long been a place for meditation.
Since the beginning, it has been a place solely for developing the mind. It was established in 1955 and is set in a small forest which is well looked after.
There is lush beautiful vegetation and much to my delight, we spotted many forest animals in the area.
My favourite area of this forest temple though would definitely be the ‘walking meditation’ area. Walking meditation is another form of meditation. As its name suggests, you walk while you meditate.
You are encouraged to become mindful of the experience of simply walking. You need to pay attention to each step as the soles of your feet touch the ground and get in touch with the natural sensations throughout your body while walking.
It really was quite a profound and a blissful experience in such beautiful surroundings.
5- Explore Ban Chiang Archaeological Site
History lovers wondering what to do in Udon Thani will definitely want to spend some time at the Ban Chiang Archaeological site in the Nong Han District.
Ban Chiang is considered to be the most important prehistoric settlement discovered in South East Asia to date. It is a prehistoric human habitation and burial site, which was abandoned and buried underground.
The site was first discovered in 1966, with the first scientific excavation being carried out in 1967.
The site shows early evidence of farming in the region, the manufacture and use of metals and the production of pottery by prehistoric people in Ban Chiang.
Over the years, Ban Chiang has been extensively excavated and the earliest evidence of human existence dates back 5600 years ago. There has been evidence found of people living here from the late Stone Age through the Bronze Age and into the Iron Age.
It has been listed on UNESCO World Heritage site since 1992. If you’re a history buff then Ban Chiang should be a must-see on your to-do list.
Afterwards, we were treated to a lesson in how to make and paint our own pottery by very talented locals.
Discover Udon Thani
Where is Udon Thani?
Udon Thani is located in the Udon Thani province, which is part of the region of Isaan. It is the provincial and a city in northeast Thailand. The distance between Udon Thani and Bangkok is around 560km. A domestic flight takes about one hour.
What are the best Udon Thani hotels?
Staying in Udon Thani is a cost-effective option for travellers, as there are plenty of budget local hotels. You can get clean local dormitory accommodation for as little as $10 a night but the best Udon Thani hotels will cost $50 a night or more, depending on the time of year.
What about the Udon Thani nightlife?
You might be surprised to discover that the Udon Thani nightlife scene is hopping. There are lots of bars and nightclubs located in a small area (there are more than 30 within walking distance). Head to Soi Samphan Thamit behind Central Plaza Mall to enjoy a beer. The most popular bears include Vikings Corner Bar, Sports Bar, Zaaps and the Irish Clock.
More things to do near Udon Thani
Chiang Khan in northeast Thailand