Ubon Ratchathani Travel Guide

Photo of Ubon Ratchathani

Ubon Ratchathani Overview

Thailands easternmost city, the relatively unknown Ubon Ratchathani, sits on the northern banks of the lazy Mun River with long established Buddhist traditions, rich in Thai folk culture and proudly displaying its Isaan identity. Consequently, it is place sprinkled with charming temples, cultural attractions and natural beauty, where, those who do land on its doorstep, find themselves far removed from the mayhem of the touristy centres.

 
Similar to nearby Udon Thani, Ubon, during the Vietnam War, was a US air-base, therefore paving the way for a growing, yet not overwhelming, expat community. Boasting a nonchalant way of life, the city is a pleasant one to explore on foot, dropping into Buddhist temples, strolling along the riverbanks or watching the world drift by at the town centrepiece, Thung Si Muang Park. Perhaps the most alluring aspect of Ubon is that visitors and residents are the first in the country to witness the sunrise over the Mekong River.
 
Although being so far unspoilt by tourism and some 600km east of Bangkok, Ubon is by no means isolated from the rest of the country. Buses and trains to and from the capital run regularly throughout the day and can take between 8 and 10 hours, depending on the chosen service. Trips to Chiang Mai and Rayong last around 14 and 17 hours respectively.
 
A lazy town for the most part, Ubon is slowly increasing in popularity, both for the surrounding historical attractions of the Isaan region and as a stopping off point for those en route to Cambodia and Laos.

Things to do in Ubon Ratchathani

Thung Si Muang Park - Wonderful landscape garden in the heart of the city and a popular hangout and recreational spot for locals, expats and tourists alike. Features of the park include the Monument of Merit, commissioned by WWII POWs in thanks to the kindness of the local people, and an extravagant yellow candle sculpture dedicated to the King that has become the symbol of the city.

 
Ubon Ratchathani Temples - If it appears like there is a Thai Buddhist Temple on every corner, then it may not be far from the truth as Ubon is widely regarded to possess the highest concentration across the country. Worth a visit are Wat Pah Nana Chat, home to a number of foreign monks practicing Vipassana meditation, Wat Nong Pah Pong, home to 70 monks and a small but interesting museums, and Wat Thung Si Muang, a stilted wooden structure dating back to 1824 when it was built to house a replica Buddha footprint.
 
National Museum of Ubon Ratchathani - Housed in the former City Hall, the museum is now the home of the Fine Arts Department and showcases local exhibitions, archaeological findings and local handicrafts. Opening times are 9am - 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday. Entrance 30 baht.
 
Ubon Ratchathani Beaches - Sat on the banks of the Mun River, Ubon is fortunate to possess some pleasant riverside beaches. During the dry season water levels fall creating Hat Wat Tai, a white sandy spot in the middle of the river. Further west, Hat Khu Duea is another enjoyable spot with numerous restaurants and some water sporting activities.
 
Candle Festival- Upon the arrival of Julys full moon, the festival commences to mark the coming of the monsoon season and Buddhist Lent, when all Buddhist monks retreat to their temples. In preparation for the period, monks go about creating elaborate candles and lanterns, which are displayed in Thung Si Muang Park before being paraded around town the following morning.
 
Ubon Ratchathani Nightlife - There are plenty of spots spread around town to enjoy a drink and the sounds of Isaan music. Tawan Dang is a particular favourite for music, serving up good food and drinks. E-Bar, at the Laithong Hotel, and The Rock Disco, at Ubon International, are both worth a look for live bands and local Djs. For an expat vibe, head to either Wrong Way Café or N-Joy

Hotels in Ubon Ratchathani

Budget Hotels Ubon Ratchathani

Nevada Inn Hotel - Well located hotel, close to restaurants, cinema and shopping centre. Tel (66) 45 313 351.
Sri Isan Hotel - Good value, clean and comfortable rooms and decent multi-cuisine restaurant. Tel (66) 45 261 011
Tokyo Hotel - Downtown hotel, lacking amenities but perfect for saving a few extra baht. Tel (66) 45 241 739.
 
Midrange Hotels Ubon Ratchathani
Laithong Hotel - Contemporary rooms in a hotel with restaurant, bar, nightclub and pool. Tel (66) 45 264 290.
Sunree Grand Hotel - Deluxe rooms and great amenities at affordable prices. Tel (66) 45 283 999.
 
Luxury Hotels Ubon Ratchathani
Tohsang City Hotel - Standard, deluxe and superior rooms accompanied by a piano and lobby bar. Tel (66) 45 245 531.
Tohsang Khongjiam Resort - A little out of the way but the luxury bungalows offer a fine escape along the Mekong River. Tel (66) 45 351 174

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Ubon Ratchathani Travel Resources

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