Nakhon Phanom (นครพนม) is the provincial capital of Nakhon Phanom Province.
Nakhon Phanom is in the Northeastern region of Thailand, approximately 456 miles northeast of Bangkok and 235 miles southwest of Hanoi, Vietnam. It borders LAOS on the Khamoun Province or the Tha Khaek district. Nakhon Phanom was well known during the days of Vietnam war, serving the American Forces of the 56th Air Commando Wing, hosted by Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base. The mission of the American Forces were search and rescue and interdiction of the Ho Chi Minh Trails in Laos 30 miles to the east.
The city has a beautiful landscape, with the Mekong river running adjacent to the city, marking the current border between Thailand and Laos.
The population of Nakhon Phanom is a diverse mix of Thais, Thai-Vietnamese, Thai-Chinese, and perhaps a few Thai-Indians. The main languages spoken are Thai, Isaan, and Vietnamese, Isaan being the most popular of them. The primary culture is Lao, as Isaan was part of Laos until the late 19th century. Ho Chi Minh resided in a small village between the city center and the air base to the west during the late 1920s and early 1930s. A new museum has been constructed; his home is preserved and is open to the public, which draws many Vietnamese tourist.
Although a small town, Nakhon Phanom is famous for its centuries old temples and beautiful landscape. The city has a reserved and traditional Isaan culture. A traveller may well find the residents of the city very hospitable and kind. The surrounding villages have many tribal cultures unique to Isaan and Laos.
PB Air  operates most of the aircraft to and from Nakhon Phanom. The flights alternate between morning and evening every other day of the week. The flight time is about 45 minutes. Much more convenient for time-sensitive travelers, a one-way flight from Bangkok to Nakhon Phanom costs approximately 2900 baht.
Two of the most common means of getting to Nakhon Phanom from Bangkok are by road in Private tour buses or government operated tour buses. These buses start from the central North and Northeastern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit) in Bangkok. The fare for bus travel ranges from 300 to 850 Baht, depending on the type of bus. A more convenient and popular bus is operated by the Transport Authority of Thailand. These VIP air conditioned buses operate under the label 99 or 999. These buses are 24-seaters, with seats as comfortable as seats in the business class of an aeroplane. A toilet is also available inside the bus. The distance between Nakhon Phanom and Bangkok is approximately 740 km. This is about an 11-hour journey. Although it seems long, a bus travelling out of Moh Chit at 7:15PM arrives at Nakhon Phanom around 6:30AM. Buses leaving from Nakhon Phanom to Bangkok at 6PM arrive at around 5:30AM.
The most convenient ways to get around the city are the famous three wheelers of the North East, more commonly referred to as "Sky Lab" There are also busses and vans running to other provinces throughout the day easily accessible from the central bus terminal or in front of the local market.
Temples are ofcourse the most visited places. Especially the Phra That Phanom Temple at the That Phanom Province 53 km from the Nakhon Phanom city center.
Sightseeing is another common reasons for visit by tourists. Tourists that are looking to stay away from other more crowded and busy tourist locations in the country or just need a getaway from the busy hustle bustle of the daily city life often travel to Nakhon Phanom to relax and see the more local and traditional Thai culture and their way of life.
Now a days with convenience of commute between Thai Laos and Vietnam, many tourist also travel through Nakhon Phanom and Laos to Vietnam. It is approximately a 5 hour journey to get into Vientam from Nakhon Phanom. Many local travel agents can arrange group visits to many attractions in Laos and Vietnam. Also with the business in Vietnam growing at ground breaking pace, many business travellers also travel through Nakhon Phanom into Vietnam for business trips, or to seek and learn about more business opportunities.
Travel to Tha Khaek across the Mekong into central Laos following Route 12 has recently become popular both for those seeing to visit the new jungle preserves created by the Democratic People's Republic of Laos as well as visit the location of the famous Ho Chi Minh Trails. Visa entry is now possible on the ferry between the two cities.
Nakhon Phanom is famous for its silk fabric and silver ornaments. However, most of the silk pattern and manufacturing is accomplished on handmade looms in the local villages in traditional Lao style, known as Isaan today within Thailand. The silver is manufactured and crafted both within Issan and Laos.
Nakhon Phanom has one of the best sticky rice and grilled chicken with papaya salad in the country. This local food is most popular amongst tourist travelling to Nakhon Phanom.
There are local bars and areas of night life within the city. Although small, it is famous amongst the young population of the city that are looking to get out and party.
There are several hotels within the city ranging in prices and amenities offered. Amongst the most popular for travellers are:
- Nakhon Phanom River View Hotel
- Menamkong Grand view Hotel
- Windsor Hotel
- Srithep Hotel
This page was last edited at 04:19, on 17 March 2009 by Jani Patokallio. Based on work by Roger Chrisman, Wikitravel user(s) Morph and DerFussi and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.