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Isaan getaway: Nakhon Phanom
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  1. #1
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    Isaan getaway: Nakhon Phanom



    Chedi of Wat Phra That Phanom.

    ISAAN GETAWAY


    In the gleam of the Mekong
    By Vipasai Niyamabha
    Special to Daily Xpress

    Swirling round the Northeast's most sacred site, the rich currents of life in Nakhon Phanom run from fiery food to magnificent temples

    Anyone tired of the neon glare of Bangkok can find fresh inspiration in the glimmering lights of the riverbank in Nakhon Phanom. And if the night-long bus trip to the Isaan province sounds too exhausting, your escape can be made by air.

    It's often love at first sight for visitors to this town by the mighty Mekong. But the more you look, the deeper and more various its charms become.

    For a romantic introduction, take an evening stroll along the riverbank where you'll find the gaudy but gorgeous Sri Buaban temple, which looms up like an ocean liner decked with lights. Along the way, you might want to check out one of the riverside restaurants that specialise in fiery Isaan food for those with iron-lined stomachs. Or there's the night market, where for just a few baht you get a choice of everything from simple egg noodles to sticky rice and mango to Vietnamese-style bread.

    In the morning, food lovers who wake up with a hunger should head to Pornthep, the most popular breakfast eatery in town. Order their speciality, kai gata - "egg in a wok", which comes with a hot breadroll stuffed with minced pork, then wash it down with condensed-milk coffee for an authentically local breakfast.

    Standing on the opposite bank of the Mekong is the Lao town of Tha Khaek. It's well worth a visit, especially at the end of the day when its sleepy tranquillity glows in the golden light of sunset.

    Nakhon Phanom feels like a melting pot of different ethnic traditions, with Lao's influence most obvious. There's the Lao-style curves of the chedi at Wat Phra That Phanom, for example, the most sacred sight in the whole of the Northeast. But while Phra That Phanom's architecture is certainly splendid, just as impressive a sight is the devotion of locals.

    In a constant flow, pilgrims arrive to pray in front of the temple, then walk slowly around the chedi, silently absorbing the blessing that radiates from its golden spire.

    XTRA
    Five unmissable things in Nakhon Phanom

    >> A visit to Wat Phra That Phanom

    >> A stroll along the riverside promenade to experience the unique architecture

    >> A boat trip at sunset across the Mekong River to

    Tha Khaek

    >> A visit to Renunakhin for its temple, dramatic dance, phu thai textiles and strong local whisky

    >> A dinner of local dishes at a riverside restaurant

  2. #2
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    Re: Isaan getaway: Nakhon Phanom

    Thanks, Khun Don,
    Nakhon Phanom is one of the places in Isaan I've always wanted to go see. Your pictures
    and article seals it for me. Me and the family are going first chance we get.
    " The present is an outcome of the past which will have bearings on the future."
    Bhuddhadasa Bhikku 1906-1993

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