Chiang Khan is a small peaceful town in Loei province in Northeast Thailand, located on the bank of the Mekong River with Laos on the other side of the river. Chiang Khan is an old town and a very popular destination for Thai tourists. The town is famous for its simple wooden houses adapted to be guest houses, coffee shops, and souvenir shops. Chiang Khan is a compact town so you can just hire a bicycle and ride around the town visiting all attractions.
Chiang Khan may well be the nicest Thai destination you’ve never heard of.
Tucked right up on the Mekhong river which forms the border with Laos in the Isaan province of Loei, Chiang Khan is a popular destination for Thai people but is relatively off the radar for visitors.
There are several temples presenting the art of Lanna and Lan Chang in Chiang Khan. The town is also typified by local people and tourists giving alms to the Buddhist monks very early in the morning, a ritual that can be seen in Luang Prabang, Laos.
What was once a quiet, little-known Mekongside town full of traditional timber shophouses became a trendy destination for Thais and is now full of gift shops, cute cafes, and places for taking selfies. That said, Chiang Khan is far from spoiled and is still a charming place to visit. The photogenic views of the river and the Lao mountains beyond are still there, as are the old buildings, and things remain peaceful in the daytime before the evening shopping stampede begins. Every evening Th Chai Khong turns into a busy Walking Street market with buskers, artists, and street-food vendors.
What to do in Chiang Khan
Chai Khong Road, which runs parallel to the Mekong River and is separated from it just by one line of wooden houses, is the main tourist attraction in Chiang Khan. Rows of teakwood buildings, housing small restaurants, bars, shops, and guesthouses, line the street. On weekends Chai Khong Road becomes the Walking Street and fills up with crowds of visitors. Clothes, local arts and crafts are sold at the shops and some really authentic goods can be found here. Various local delicacies are on offer at the restaurants and the street food stalls of Walking Street.
Mekong River Front
One of the main attractions in the peaceful town of Chiang Khan is the promenade on the riverfront of Mekong. It’s a perfect place for taking a walk in a calm atmosphere and enjoying the view of the mighty river and the forests on Laos’s side. And in the evening here you will be rewarded with the most romantic sunset view.
Phu Tok is a small mountain located 3 km from Chiang Khan. From the top of it, you can enjoy stunning panoramic views of the town, the Mekong River, and surrounding mountains. The best time to visit Phu Tok is early in the morning when a sea of fog covers all the surroundings and the rising sun adds even more mysticism to this breathtaking scenery.
The Morning Monks Offering
Much of the charm in Chiang Khan comes with the morning alms offering (Tak Baht/Bintabaht) when a procession of monks walk the length of Chiang Khan’s walking street (between 06:00 AM and 08:00 AM) where locals and tourists wait with offerings for the surrounding temples. These offerings are typically things like rice, snacks, incense, and flowers, and tourists can easily join by buying these simple sets of offerings from small shops and vendors set-up along the same length of the walking street.
The Mekong Riverside Promenade
So a rather well-kept riverside promenade runs parallel to Chiang Khan’s walking street, as well as the Mekhong River, with occasional balconies and viewpoints facing out towards Laos on the opposite side. And, again, it’s just a really relaxed and charming stretch to explore, where, in the mornings and evenings, it will be busy with walkers, cyclists, and tourists watching over the sunrise/sunset. In the evening it is also a popular spot for restaurants and it also has an amiable and relaxed bar scene with domestic, local Thai tourists, rather than the usual generic backpacker crowds found in more popular destinations. And it is more of a laid-back local vibe.
The Chiang Khan Skywalk
Another spectacular viewpoint is about 20 km West of Chiang Khan where the Mekong flows into Thailand from Laos and merges with the Huang river. This huge installation consists of two sky bridges, three glass platforms towering 80 meters above the landscape, and a 19 meters high Buddha statue. It offers fantastic views of the landscape and the river’s duo-tone caused by the coalescence. Note that the shuttle bus from the parking charges THB25 per person and the rental fee for special shoes is THB30 for a pair.
Where to Stay in Chiang Khan
The best place to stay in Chiang Khan is near Walking Street the center of life in this quiet Isan town. Chiang Khan is a very popular destination for Thais, so you should book accommodation in advance if you are going there on a weekend or national holiday.
The first time we visited the town we stayed right in the center of Chiang Khan at Poonsawasadi in an old wooden house, basic but a great location and we see the monks walking in the street every morning. The owners will help you with all your trips and can also arrange trips to the Phu Tok mountains to see the sunrise. Rooms are around 16 Euro a night, Book Now
If you have more budget we recommend BaanXiaokan as they have beautiful river view rooms and are right in the center with a view over the Mekong river rooms are around 40 Eur a night with breakfast. Book Now
Chiang Klong Riverside Resort The second time we visit Chiang Khan we decided to stay outside the town alongside the river it's beautiful and affordable but you need a car to discover the area, it's a 5-minute ride to Chiang Khan. Rooms are around 30 Euro a night including breakfast. Book Now
River Tree Resort, Chiangkhan Lovely resort with a great cafe restaurant, and swimming pool, its within bicycle distance to the center of Chiang Khan. Rooms including breakfast about 40 Euro a night Book Now
How to get to Chiang Khan?
You can reach Chiang Khan by air or by bus.
Flights to Chiang Khan
The nearest airport to Chiang Khan is Loei Airport
Loei is about 50 km from Chiang Khan and can be reached by bus or songtaew. The airport is served by 2 low-cost airlines, offering domestic flights from Bangkok. Flight deals can be found here: Flights from Bangkok to Loei
Buses to Chiang Khan
There are direct daily and night buses coming from Bangkok to Chiang Khan. The town is well connected with Loei and a few other cities in the region, such as Nong Khai and Nakhon Ratchasima. Tickets for these bus routes can be booked here:
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