Thursday, December 9, 2010

Where the heck is Khon Kaen?

This weekend Eric, Greg, Mary and I traveled to Khon Kaen, a city I had never even heard of until we were invited by our friend Aor to celebrate the King's birthday with her and her family. After a quick perusal of the itinerary and info Aor gave us before the trip I was able to learn some basic info about Khon Kaen. I don't know if all Thai's are this organized when it comes to trips, or if it is just the Thai engineers that work with Eric, but on every trip we've gone on with one of them, they have given us a detailed timeline and background info on the sights we were going to see. It is kind of awesome.

Khon Kaen is located northeast of Bangkok in an area of Thailand known as Issan and is 10 hours by train, 6 hours by bus or 1 hour by plane. We chose the last form of transportation and arrived in Khon Kaen bright and early Saturday morning. We were met by Aor's family and immediately began our sightseeing tour with a visit to the Khon Kaen City Pillar Shrine.

There is a 1,000 year old sandstone pillar inside the shrine

Aor described the City Pillar Shrine as a "spirit house for Khon Kaen" It is not a temple, but many local Thai's come and make offerings to the spirits of the city. Aor's parents thought it would be good for us to visit the shrine as this was our first visit to the city, and they wanted to make sure we started out on the right foot!

Trying to not make a fool of ourselves
A man selling birds to release
We could see the shrine from our hotel room

After a wonderful breakfast of sweet sausage sandwiches ( say THAT 10 times fast), we made our way to a dinosaur museum. They actually found dinosaur bones outside of Khon Kaen, and the city really embraced their dino heritage. There were random dinosaur sculptures everywhere in the city, from the airport to this one we found in a small back alley.

I call this one Mega Toeasaurus
Look, I made a friend!
It's all fun and games until a dino rips your head off.

The elusive Stringosaurus
Our other sightseeing visits included a beautiful temple on the top of a hill, a hydroelectric dam, the King Cobra Village and the Nine Story Stupa at Wat Nong Waeng.

Yes, we did climb all those steps

On Sunday we went to the Silk Fair in Khon Kaen to celebrate the King's birtday with what seemed like the entire population of the city! There were so many people, that it was hard to maneuver though the crowd, but Aor was able to steer us towards a front row spot so we could see how the city celebrated the King's birthday. After all of the government workers in the city presented gifts for the King, a marching band struck up and the crowd sang for the King while holding candles. After that- fireworks!! 

Aor and her sister Oh

Even though we saw many beautiful sights, all four of us agreed that the highlight of the whole trip was spending time with Aor and her kind and generous family. They prepared a feast for us on Saturday night and played tour guide for the whole weekend. They have already invited us back, and I am sure we will take them up on that offer soon.


  1. happy to hear you enjoy this wonderful city. Please come back

  2. Duncan, I am sure I will be back! I loved the beautiful scenery and the friendly people.