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Short Trips from Udon Thani

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Situated in northeastern Thailand, the regional hub of Udon Thani – or Udon for short – was once a sleepy, far-flung provincial town until it became a major USAF airbase during the Vietnam War. It has since grown into a multiculturally-diverse base you see today, home to one of the largest expat populations in Thailand.

Archeological sites

Udon is home to one of the world’s earliest bronze-age civilisations, at Ban Chiang. Here you’ll see archaeological evidence of prehistoric settlements that existed between 2100BC and 200AD. This UNESCO site contains burial remains of more than 300 skeletons, earthenware pottery and bronze fragments.

At Phu Phra Baht Historical Park in Ban Phue, there are sandstone caves, caverns, Bronze-age cave paintings, as well as dinosaur footprints and Buddhist structures. The park dates back more than three thousand years, and it’s particularly known for its mysterious rock formations.

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Cave

Situated an hour away, Erawan Cave is situated in an imposing limestone outcrop where a winding scenic climb (over 600 concrete steps) takes you to a giant Buddha statue and the entrance to the temple cave. As it’s a sacred site, the cave’s stalagmite and stalactite formations are decorated with temple artifacts.

erawan-cave

Lake

In Kumphawapi, an hour from Udon Thani, lies the spectacular Talay Bua Daeng, or Red Lotus Sea, a lake that is home to millions of floating hot pink lotus flowers. While it may not look like much from the lake’s edge, a boat ride (45-90 mins) can take you through this flowery highway to the centre of the lake where you’ll find yourself surrounded by an unending sea of pink flowers.

The blooms are seasonal and best observed between the beginning of December to the end of February, and the best time to observe them is in the morning when it is cooler (the flowers close when the sun is hottest). The lake is also dotted with a few small islands, which are home to Buddha statues, shrines, and pagodas.

lake

For more on Udon Thani, check out our Mar/Apr issue – you can read it online for free here.

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