Khon Kaen is a small town but it’s the epicenter for education, transport and business in Thailand’s Isan region. An up-and-coming hub, Khon Kaen is a youthful city and one that is constantly on the move. While it could easily be on a top list of the best places to live in Thailand, few travelers stop by in Khon Kaen. The city is mostly used as a base for exploring the surrounding region, but those who choose to spend a few days here will be pleasantly surprised.
Wat Nong Wang
If you only have time to see one thing in Khon Kaen, make it Wat Nong Wang. This impressive temple resembles a pyramid – a Chinese-inspired pyramid, if you will. Contained within its golden walls, you’ll find Phra That Kaen Nakhon: now used as museum filled with Buddhist relics, a scripture library and a meditation hall. For a panoramic view of the city, check out the balconies on all the nine floors of this wat.
Walking Street Market
Every Saturday, local artists, students and craftsmen come out to play on the streets of Khon Kaen. Lining the street of Th Na Sunratchakan you’ll find plenty of stalls selling handmade products such as T-shirts and hand bags. Local musicians and dancers take advantage of strategic points to show off their skills. And the whole place is decorated with Chinese lanterns, adding to the festive atmosphere.
Khon Kaen Hall of Culture and Heritage
The Khon Kaen Hall of Culture and Heritage is set in such a discreet building, you might actually miss it if you’re not paying attention. On the Bueng Kaen Nakhon Lake’s northern shores, you’ll find a massive amphitheater and this hall is located in dim underground space just next to it. Its interior, however, is rich with life-sized figures in various settings and a collection of printed artworks. If you have to choose between this, and the Khon Kaen National Museum, opt for the Hall of Culture and Heritage: you’ll learn a lot more about the local culture here.
Bueng Kaen Nakhon Lake
You can easily escape the city noise without even having to leave it. Stretching from Khon Kaen’s old town, Bueng Kaen Nakhon Lake sprawls for nearly 250 acres of balmy waters. Its shores are lined with green parks, temples, shrines and even restaurants. If it’s not too hot out, stroll along the lake’s coast for a pleasant afternoon.
Phu Wiang National Park and the Dinosaur Museum
If dinosaurs are your thing, Khon Kaen is a must on your Thai itinerary. Hundreds of millions of years ago, actual dinosaurs roamed about in this area. The Phu Wian National Park features a number of excavation sites where fossils were discovered and some of them are open to the public for visits. The park also houses a comprehensive Dinosaur Museum that explains the most important archaeological finds of the area.
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