Fall in love with "Loei"

"Loei" is one of the top attractive province in the northeast of Thailand. Full of many interesting activities, whether it be a chilled vacation by Mekong river, or climbing up the mountain summits whose are covered by fog and abundant of varied flora, or visiting historical site and enjoy some ancient art. The most important thing is “Loei” is a nice and small town, people are kind and cheerful. Therefore “Loei” attracts every generation of tourists.

Visit just once and you will fall in love with “Loei”.

Bun Luang Festival and Phi Ta Khon

Phi Ta Khon is one of the unique Thai traditional festival of Loei province. It held annually in Dan Sai District and have been a long-preserved festival for the many generations. Phi Ta Khon parades are organized in the Bun Luang Festival or Bun Phra Wet Festival every July. These festivals are related to the belief and faith in Buddhism and the spirit of ancestors. Also, are related with Bun Phra Wet or a series of all 13 chapters of the Great Birth Sermon which is the big combination festival of merit making and Bun Bung Fai festival (the firing-rocket festival). There will be a parade of Phra Upakhut procession proceeds from Man River to Wat Phon Chai. A hundred of Phi Ta Khon or a people who is wearing mask and a unique costume will join this parade. These people must wear a scary ghost mask with a long and messy hair, and a unique colorful costume.

For Phi Ta Khon Festival and a local traditional life of Dan Sai district, every year Phi Ta Khon Noi, Phi Ta Khon Yai, Thai folk dancer parade, and the parades from other district will join this festival. Also. there will be a Phi Ta Khon dancing competition, and other entertainment too. But if you cannot attend the festival, Phi Ta Khon can be found at Dan Sai district museum.

Location: Dan Sai district, Loei province

Chiang Khan District

On Mekong river with Laos on the other side, there is a one small town called Chiang Khan. Charming peaceful town surrounded by nice and kind people is one of a very popular destination for Loei province. Still preserve the local traditional culture and lifestyle with a nice weather throughout the year. It is suited for a slow-life travel as you can walk, eat, sleep and chill out around the town. Another unique is an old wood house of Chiang Khan village.

In the evening around 5 – 9 pm every day, you can enjoy shopping and eating at Chiang Khan Walking Street on Chai Kong street along with the over 100 years old building for more than 1 Km since soi 5 to soi 20. Somes will be the hostel, a guesthouse, a restaurant, a coffee shop, food, and other local products. But the most crowded time is on the weekend. There will be a local entertainment show.

In the morning every day, there is a sticky rice making merit activity. Many monks will walk pass the street and a local people will be waiting and make merit. It is a traditional culture. Many tourists come for this activity. If you did not prepare any making merit things, you can tell the hotel and they will arrange it for you. If you are a bike lover, you can rent a bicycle to ride along the Mekong river. You can see the Laos from here. There are many interesting places nearby whether an ancient temple; Wat Sri Kun Mueng which has a combination of Lanna and Lan Chang art with the wood Buddha statue, Wat Maha That, Wat Pa Klang, Wat Tha Kok. And there is nearby mountain for sightseeing such as Phu Tok, a small mountain that can see a top view of Chiang Khan, or to watch a sunrise, a foggy sea, some mountain ranges, or Mekong river. It is a very great spot!

Location: Chiang Khan District, Loei province

Kaeng Khut Khu

Kaeng Khut Khu is one of the attractive place in Chiang Khan district. It is located far from the Chiang Khan town only 3 Km. Because its beautiful view and nice weather, this place is the most relaxing place for both local people and foreigner. Kaeng Khut Khu is one of the large rock cluster of Thailand and is well known for its colorful boulders that are clearly visible during the dry season and totally submerged in other seasons.

We can see the nature on the both side of Mekong river between Thailand and Laos border which is one of the great spot to see Laos. In the dry season (around February through May), we can see a lot of boulders with a different beautiful shape. If the water level is low enough, there will be a wide sand beach to walk around and be able closely touch Mekong river. Or in the early morning of winter season, you will see the foggy sea from here. Around Kaeng Khut Khu, there are many cottages sell a tasty local and many traditional northeastern foods. And do not miss a top list menu such as grilled-Mekong fish, freshwater shrimp, or Khao Poon Horn (a fresh rice vermicelli), or Som Tum. There are also souvenir shops around the area and a boat which can be chartered to enjoy the views along Mekong river. Or you can drive a car across the border to Laos from Kaeng Khut Khu.

Location: Chiang Khan District, Loei province

Phu Pa Po

Phu Pa Po is located at Pha Wai village. The highlight is the viewpoint is 900m above sea level which allow us to see Phu Ho, which has a distinctive slope. In the winter period, Phu Ho summit will be covered by fog which make Phu Ho resembled Japan’s famous Mount Fuji. That is why Phu Ho is well known in the other name as “Loei’s Fuji Mount”. For Phu Pa Po, because it is surrounded by many Po bamboo (one kind of bamboo), that is why it is called Phu Pa Po (Phu means mountain and Pa means forest). Along the way up to the top, there are a varied winter flora such as Bua Tong, Por Tuang, and there are many local agricultural field along the way. In the past, this place was the national reserved forest but some people invaded and did farming which damaged the area. Then the village headman, national forest chief and the villagers altogether tried to revive it back to normal state. And it became one of a popular conservative tourist spot nowadays.

There are 3 viewpoints spot in a different height. The first spot will let us see the most beautiful view with no obstacle. We will see Phu Ho very closely. The second will be a wide range view type. And the third, we have to walk up the hill around 200m, which is the highest point to see a panorama view of a foggy sea, sunset and sunrise, also a clear view of the Pha Hin Ngam, Pha Nok Kao, Phu Kra Dueng and other province national forest. Let say it is worth climbing up to the top. Different season will show a different beautiful Phu Pa Po whether in summer season, we will see a glassfield and the yellow mountain, or in a raining season, it will be a green mountain and a rice field. And for winter, which is the perfect time for Phu Pa Po because we will see a foggy sea with a cold weather as if you were in Europe!

Location: Puan Pu, Nong Hin District, Loei province

Phu Ruea National Park

This national park shares the border with Laos which located almost 1,400 m above sea level. Phu Ruea means “Boat mountain”, a name which inspired from a shape of a cliff at the peak. Also, there is a plateau on the top which looks like a ship bottom. Due to the top is very high, there is the cool climate around the year and also have been the coldest location in Thailand during the winter season for several years.  Especially in the winter, the temperature may drop to freezing point that the glass dew drops can change to frost. Also, you may be able to see an endlessly foggy sea. This is a very popular spot for Loei, and many tourists will wake up early to watch the sunrise with this foggy sea.

Other attractions in the national park include a pine forest, a flora garden, a glass field, waterfall, cliff, and there is a nature exploring path which offers a spectacular view of pine tree, rock garden, wild rose, moss, fern, and many wild orchid species. You can come travelling Phu Ruea all year and it is very convenient that you can drive a car to the top then walk just a few steps to watch a foggy sea and feel the cold. Moreover, the winter season is the great birdwatching period to see many migratory birds from China. And in the clear sunny day, you can see a beautiful scenery of Huang and Khong Rivers.

Location: Nhong Bua, Phu Ruea District & Tha Li District, Loei province

Thai Dam Cultural Village

Thai Dam cultural village is located at Ban Na Pa Nat, 17km from Chiang Khan District. During the Hor war period, these Thai Dam people lived in Chiang Kwang, the city in Laos. After the war, they migrated to Thailand since King Rama the 5th reign. Most of them were the royal Thai Dam family. Since then, the Thai Dam people have been living in Thailand for more than a hundred year which their 4th generation are completely Thai citizen now.

This village was established in 1996, and is where to learn about the traditions, culture, daily life things and history of Thai Dam people. In the village, there is an old folk house models which shows their lifestyle, a traditional dancing and the traditional unique weaving pattern which called “Sin Nang Harn” the preserved pattern for more than a hundred years. Tourist can buy some beautiful handcrafts whether a weaving cloth, herbal soap, artificial flower as a souvenir. Moreover, there are homestays in case you want to have the Thai Dam authentic experience.

Location: Khao Kaew, Chiang Khan District, Loei province

Phu Kra Dueng National Park

Phu Kra Dueng is very popular among every tourist for decades which still have the endlessly charm. This is one of the best place to refresh your mind and soul because of their nature and beautiful scenery and especially the cold climate in winter season. Many people have an ultimate dream to be the conqueror of Phu Kra Dueng. The hiking path is not that difficult but it may be a little steep and far. We have to walk pass the forest around 5km and continue the flat path for 3 - 4km. It takes about 4 - 5 hrs to finish to the top. There are some stop points and several restaurants along the way.

Generally, Phu Kra Dueng are home to a variety of creatures and nature whether a pine savanna, wildlife, small river and waterfall. The main highlight tourist recommended spot is the red maple trees near the waterfall river. The good thing is all attraction places in Phu Kra Dueng are connected. If you are interested to spend the night, there is an accommodation that provided by the national park. You can contact them directly. The best season for beautiful waterfall is October to November, for the red maples are from December to January. However, it is not safe to travel in rainy season, that is why the national park is closed between 1st June to 30th September.

Location: Si Than, Phu Kra Dueng District, Loei province

Suan Hin Pa Ngam

Suan Him Pa Ngam is another popular place in Loei which as known as Kunming of Loei (similar to Kunming of China). The park has a beautiful maze of limestone hills and karst which are occurred naturally. The assumption is in the past, this place might be the undersea area which aged more than 200 years. Some are the high stone, some area we need to crawl under low-hanging rocks. There are many old and rare tree species along the way. Before entering the Suan Hin Pa Ngam, we will pass some local agricultural area, and a plentiful forest along with steep stone. There are some tree shades to let we hide from the sunlight. And not that far we will find the wide viewpoint balcony which allow us to see a panorama view.

At tourist service center where anyone who likes to eat should stop by. There are many original northeastern local food restaurants and many souvenir shops, parking spot, and toilet for tourist convenience. And 2km far from Suan Hin Pa Ngam, you will find “Phiang Din waterfall” and many interesting places such as 7 Colour field cave, Hin Yai Hin Ta, etc.

Location: Puan Pu, Nong Hin Districts, Loei province

Phra That Sri Song Rak

Phra That Sri Song Rak is a historical pagoda in Loei which is a symbolic on the Loei province logo. It is located on the side of Man river which was built since Ayutthaya reign with Lan Chang art style same as the other temple in Mekong river area. With 19m height, this pagoda was built as a symbol of a mutual friendship between the kings of Ayutthaya and Sri Sattana Khanahut (Vientiane). So, the style is similar to Phra That Luang which has the Lan Chang style in Laos. Both countries collaborated in building Phra That Sri Song Rak in the middle of Nan river and Mekong river which are the border of Thailand and Laos.

Because this pagoda was not built in order to keep the Buddha's relics, there is no relics inside. But the main sacred thing is the promise to not intrude each other. The Buddhist statue and the Buddhist scripture are kept inside. There is another legend about Nai Man and Nai Kong who sacrificed themselves to protect this pagoda. Also, there is the Buddha sheltered by Naga hood statue which is Tibet art inside the pagoda. The Naga hood is made of stone and the Buddha is made of bronze. Every the 15th day of the 6th waxing moon, the Dan Sai people will celebrate Phra That Sri Song Rak festival by offer the Pueng tree and Phueng flower to the pagoda. This is a holy traditional activity that happened annually. Many tourist that come to visit Loei will go to worship Phra That Sri Song Rak for their auspicious occasion.

Location: Dan Sai, Dan Sai District, Loei province

Wat Neramit Wipatsana

Wat Neramit Wipatsana, former name is “Wat Hua Na Yung”, can obviously see it on the hillside opposite Phra That Sri Song Rak. This temple is another historical place in Loei because of its ordination hall, pagoda, and Phra Kru Pawanawisutthiyarn, the former abbot who already passed away. And the stunning architecture od temple doors which made from Si La Laeng (a red-colored laterite) are created from monks and novice imagination. The Si la Laeng are brought from Lamphun and Prachinburi province. A Si La Laeng grand main hall, the biggest Si La Laeng hall in Thailand, was decorated as the Central Region Art. Inside there is an official replica of Phra Phutthachinnarat with many decorated pillars along the hall till the replica.

Moreover, there are a painting of murals depicting scenes from the Buddha’s life decorating the walls which are painted by Dan Sai people. There is the life of the Buddha story, Maha Wetsandon Chadok (the Vessantara Jataka) story, and the last 10 Jatakas story. Surrounding area around the temple are garden by many trees. Many Buddhists come to the temple to pray toward an official replica of Phra Phutthachinnarat. This place is a famous dhamma retreat location in Loei.

Location: Dan Sai District, Loei province

Must-try food and restaurant in Loei

  • Ros Lert Khai Kata ; recommended menu is Moo Yor porridge, Pork ball, and Kai Kata (pan fried egg)
  • Kanom Bueng Muang Loei ; the main dish is Kanom Bueng Yuan (Vietnamese stuffed crispy omelette) with dipping sauce
  • Loei Danang ; the original Vietnamese restaurant which is popular. Must try menus are Naem Nueng, fresh/fried spring rolls, Prawn meat with sugarcane, and Laos Som Tum
  • Raan Khao Peak Sen ; a very popular restaurant among tourist. Recommended menu is Khao Peak Sen or Vietnamese noodle

  • Raan Ma Gan ; recommended menus are Tom Lued Moo, Kanom Pang Ping, and Kai Kata
  • Noi somtum ; located in the heart of the city which mostly are northeastern menus with some Thai food whether Som Tum, Hor Mok Mekong fish, fresh Kanom Jean, grilled fish, and fried pork neck
  • Huen Luang Pra Bang ; a popular restaurant in Chiang Khan District on Mekong river side.
  • Coffee Nua@Loei ; a coffee shop which surrounded by beautiful nature to just let the heart flow and have a cup of coffee. There are many corners to take a picture.