Chiang Khan is in Loei Province (as you all know... just in case you don't know). I have planned to travel to Chiang Khan for 2 days and 1 night and it will be a short simple trip. There is not much I need to prepare except the accommodation arrangement because it is in high demand for tourists. We have ended up making a reservation at ...."Tao Kae Lao" ...., a guesthouse by the River Khong. It is located in peaceful neighborhood and just a short walk from the famous walking street.
By the way,... you are able to travel to Chiang Khan all year round. For us, we choose to travel in June which is in the rainy season. Even though there are some rains during our trip, that won't stop us from traveling. On the other hand, summer and winter are the high seasons.
Our journey gets started when booking a bus ticket is completed. It is 419 THB for the ticket and the bus we choose to travel with this time, is run by the Transport Company Limited. Then I will meet my friend at the bus terminal directly before we are traveling to... Chiang Khan... For those who don't want to travel with this bus company, you can travel with other companies as well. There are numbers of them available. We choose this one because the service is pretty nice and the bus terminal is close to our place.
Let's go to Chiang Khan!... The bus departs on Friday night and will arrive in Chiang Khan in the morning. The bus drops us off in front of Chiang Khan Market when we arrive. This is good since we can go into the market right away to look for something to eat. Or if you prefer to offer food to the monk, you can also do it here since monks will travel passing by the market.
We just had something for breakfast and will go to our accommodation straight away. Well, the accommodations here in Chiang Khan are mostly located by the River Khong. And there are so many new lodgings building up recently including hotels, guesthouses, and so on. Therefore, you can choose one according to your preference.
As we have reserved a room in advance, we just need to walk to that place directly. Those first timers might be afraid of how to get to your accommodations. Well, it is not difficult nor far at all... From Chiang Khan Market, you just need to cross the street and walk toward the River Khong... It is not even 500 meters, I guess. I recommend you to walk rather than taking transportation. You can save some money, let your digestive system work properly, and have more time taking photos along the way..... The morning time is also actually a good time to enjoy taking photos since there are less people. Furthermore, we have found a motorbike rental service as well and we don't hesitate to rent one of them right away. The rental service fee is only 250 THB per day.
We have got a motorbike now so let's drive to our guesthouse straight ahead! Our guesthouse is a kind of self-service accommodation because there is no staff standing by in the morning. You need to call them upon arrival. Tao Kae Lao Guesthouse is a 2-storey building with only 3 - 4 guestrooms. Our room has a clean shared bathroom. The Wi-Fi connection is also impressive... More importantly, we choose to stay by the River Khong because it offers a fantastic view.
****This is in front of our guesthouse. Our room can accommodate two persons comfortably and it costs 700 THB only. It is not expensive at all.
****Look at them! They are waiting to offer food to the monk. You can ask the guesthouse to prepare the food for you but we have planned to do this at the walking street. There are many service providers for offering food to the monk over there as it is the main street for doing this. The food set for the monk is 50 THB if I am not mistaken.
****This is our room. It is equipped with air conditioner and electric fan.
**** Our guesthouse also has a cafe on the other side of the street. They have created a nice photo shooting spot as well.
***This is the amazing view we have got from our room. It is totally worth it.
After completing the registration process at the guesthouse, freshening up, and storing our luggage, we are good to go.
****We will be able to get into our room in the afternoon... Therefore, we will start to travel around right away. We will start with Phu Thok .....Well, there are a few Phu Thoks in this region such as in Bueng Kan but the one we are heading to is in Chiang Khan.
Unfortunately, we are not that lucky when we arrive up there. The fog has covered everything including the view. Therefore, you should plan well before coming here. People are normally here during the sunrise. On the other hand, we are here late in the morning during rainy season. No wonder why we have experienced such a thing but never mind, we are still able to get some photos.
***It is fun to take a candid photo of my friend and also other tourists.
*****From Chiang Khan, you just need to follow the sign to Phu Thok of Chiang Khan. It is not far, about 8 kilometers. Then you need to get the transfer to the top driven by locals, as the road is very steep. It is not allowed to drive up there yourself either. The round trip transfer is only 25 THB. This is totally cheap and we at least generate some money to those locals as well.
*****This is the car used for the transfer.
*****The road up to the top with beautiful scenery along the way
After spending some times up here at Phu Thok with the fog covering everything... We are ready to go down before moving on to our next destination which is Wat Pra Putthabat Phu Kwai Ngoen. From Phu Thok, you need to turn right. This temple is on the hill where it offers another good kind of view. Wat Pra Putthabat Phu Kwai Ngoen is famous for its merit making and rabbit feeding.
*****The ordination hall
***Inside the ordination hall
*****Wide angle of the area
****The cage where we can feed the rabbits
***They enjoy eating very much, I can tell.
*****There are morning glory and rabbit pellets available to purchase and this can be considered as merit making as well.
We feel so good after making merit at Wat Pra Putthabat Phu Kwai Ngoen and we are now ready to go to Kaeng Khut Khu. We will find something to eat over there. In addition, Kaeng Khut Khu is famous for the souvenir shops. There are so many local products and local souvenirs you can find there but two most famous souvenirs can't be anything but Coconut Candy (I am not sure if they call it this way though) and the T-shirt screening Chiang Khan. You can also find some good foods there such Papaya Salad as an example.
***The road to Kaeng Khut Khu
***We have arrived at Kaeng Khut Khu safe and sound. There is a myth about this place but I would skip it. You can study about it when you are here. Kaeng Khut Khu offers different scenery of the landscape according to the season. It presents its colorful boulders that are clearly visible during the dry season and totally submerged in other seasons.
****The view of Kaeng Khut Khu in wide angle
****The view from a restaurant
****Local way of living
We are done eating, taking photos, and admiring the nice ambiance, it is time to go back to our guesthouse. But well, there are a few interesting stop along the way such as viewpoint, the border, and temples so we will take a quick look into them.
By the way,.... Chiang Khan is a perfect destination for those who like to make merit because there are so many temples here.
****The border close to Wat Tha Khaek
*****This cafe offers such a nice view overlooking the river.
****This is another temple just right before we reach the guesthouse (I am sorry that I can't remember the name of the temple but one thing I want to tell you is that, please don't forget to ask for a map from the motorbike rental service! They have all places listed in there).
***The park, the exercise venue, and the photo shooting location by the river
******The landmark right in the middle of the walking street
****This is the famous local shrimp skewer. You can find it everywhere.
*****The atmosphere of the walking street
***There are numbers of guesthouses here on the walking street itself.
****This is another one of them.
***Ban Ta Ka Yai
We have so much fun wandering around, doing some shopping, and trying local foods. We will go back to the guesthouse and rest now because we need to wake up early for almsgiving ceremony, go to Tai Dam village, and make merit before going back to Bangkok tomorrow. We have only 2 days here and we have got to make the best out of it.
***Let's offer food to the monk!
***The food set available for you to purchase for almsgiving.
*****This is the way they prepare the food set for almsgiving for the tourists to purchase and you can choose to sit anywhere you want. The daily ceremony starts from 6 - 7 AM so you shouldn't be here later than this.
We have finished offering food to the monk. We will go and look for the breakfast before going back to our guesthouse. We need to take a shower and pack soon because we are going back to Bangkok this evening with the bus from the same company we took earlier. That's why we rent the motorbike for only half day today and without it, we don't know how to travel around.
This is the view by the River Khong in the early morning that I want to show you before I will go back to the guesthouse and take a shower.
*****The sun is not up yet and it is pretty foggy right now. We hardly see anything. And yes, it is Laos on the other side of the river.
****Let's ride a bike around!
*****Do you agree that this is hard to tell whether it is in the morning or late afternoon from the photo?
We are going to Tai Dam village which is about 12 kilometers from downtown Chiang Khan. The way is the same direction to Bangkok... The village is right by the main road and there is a clear sign directing you there so you won't get lost.
****This wooden house can host the tourists. You can stay here alone or in a group. The room rate is totally cheap range from 100 - 300 THB only. You will also have got a chance to try traditional Tai Dam cuisine but don't forget to tell them in advance so they can prepare the food for you accordingly.
****General view around the village
We have such a great time here and it is time to go home. Our bus will depart at 6 PM and this trip will end here. This short trip with no car is not a problem. We can always find something.
*****I highly recommend this restaurant. The foods are superb at reasonable price. It opens from dawn to dark so you can have breakfast and dinner here. The popular dishes are Indochina pan-fried egg, sweet sticky rice, and boiled rice.
******The view from a restaurant
****Almost the very end of the trip
****On the side of a house
*****And another landmark of Chiang Khan