I just got back from a two day trip to beautiful Chiang Khan, located in Loei. It was my first time in Issan, and even though I was only there briefly, it left a strong impression in my mind.
The food, the people, the culture…everything was memorable.
The journey began with me flying to Bangkok, where I met up with three other travel writers/bloggers. We flew together into Loei, then drove about 40 minutes to Chiang Khan. We were joined by two tour guides ( one from Chiang Khan) and a camera man as we documented our travels on social media.
Chiang Khan is a popular destination for domestic tourists looking to offer alms to the monks and wander around the street market. Numerous cafes and small restaurants line the main streets and serve Loei specialties, such as naem moo and nam prik maeng da ( which tastes very metallic).
The bucolic riverside town is also featured in the movie Chiang Khan, which is a love story about a young career-driven actress and her film-maker friend.
Where To Stay
There are numerous quaint homestays and hotels in the main section of Chiang Khan. We stayed at the Sri Chiang Khan Hotel, which had spacious rooms and beautiful views of the Mekong. When I eventually take my family to visit Loei, we will stay at our friend’s homestay ( called the Ban Hao Hotel on Agoda).
Lodging is generally quite cheap, ranging from 10USD a night to 40USD during low season.
What To Do
Perhaps the best thing to do in Chiang Khan is cycle around town, especially alongside of the Mekong river. This was by far the highlight of our trip. The houses you’ll pass by are each unique and with various architectural influences, and seeing people outside drinking Leo or hanging laundry will give you a glimpse into daily life in Loei.
Giving alms to the local monks is also a must. It was a very touching experience for me, despite me being half asleep at 6AM when the monks came by. After you’ve given them food, they will bless you before heading to the next group of alms givers, and then back to their temples.
Chiang Khan Eats
If you’re looking for a great view plus amazing food, Krua Nucha is the perfect place for lunch. We ordered nam prik hed, tom yum nam sai, and the delicious fried baby shrimp that’s popular in Chiang Khan. The tom yum was insanely good!
Grab a steaming hot bowl of noodles at local hotspot Jum Nuea, which serves a unique flavored broth filled with noodles of your choice and topped with a pinkish fermented soybean sauce. I got mine with woonsen ( glass noodles) and it was fantastic.
Local specialties to try include naem moo, which is raw pork wrapped up and eaten with rice. Nam prik maeng da is a very strange tasting chili dip made with beetle. If you head to the wet market you’ll get even more local dishes and find fruit such as mark kho, which I’ve never had before and absolutely LOVED.
How To Get There
Getting to Chiang Khan is rather easy, thanks to Nok Air offering flights to Loei from Bangkok. Once you arrive in Loei you can take a bus to Chiang Khan or rent a car. You can also take an overnight bus from BKK to Chiang Khan, which is what many Thais.