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Khon Kaen

THAILAND | Friday, 8 June 2012 | Views [1503]

Statues of famous monks

Statues of famous monks

Time to leave Udon Thani and move on to Khon Kaen. I'm out of the hotel by 0800. The bus station is only 10 minutes walk away, but it a steaming hot already and I see if I can get a reasonably priced ride from the army of tuk tuk drivers who hang around outside at my hotel. I was willing to pay 20 Baht, but the drivers were insistant on 40. I move to walk away and the driver caves in.

It's only a 2 hour bus ride to Khon Kaen and we arrive at the bus terminal just before 11 where I got a tuk tuk driver to take me to Nam Muang Road, where a lot of the budget to mid-range hotels are listed in guide books. My first choice is Chaipat Hotel, which sounded like the best of the budget hotels in this area. The staff spoke very little English and after a lot hand gesturing and miming, we eventually work out a room for 400 Baht.

The biggest attration here is Phra Mahathat Kaen Nakhon or The 9-storey stupa housing relics of Buddha and important Buddhist scriptures:

Each floor also has beautifully decorated wood panel window shutters:

On the 9th floor is the Buddha relics. Like every other Buddha relic, it looks like spherical crystals. I don't quite understand how these crystals are related to a Lord Buddha body part:

There is a food market in the centre of the town on Klang Muang Road, 10 minutes walk from Chiapat Hotel:

I thought food in Udon Thani was cheap, here it's even cheaper and I take the opportunity to sample some of the local food. Isaan food seems to be all about spicy. Fried noodles, fried rice and other side dishes all start a fire in my mouth that no amount of yohurt, ice or water will quench and I'm impressed by the quantities of chilli the local are capable of eating. 

The sheer variety of food being sold here means that for the first time in Isaan, I've got a lot of vegetarian choices.

This spicy noodle is delicious:

This is rice dumplings in a sweet coconut soup, a delicious dessert:

Another delicious dessert. Can't remember what it's called, it's some kind of pastry with a coconut sauce and various vegetable fillings:

On day 2, there's no much else I want to see except Khon Kaen National Museum, followed by exploring the city. The museum is sadly another of the near empty museums of Isaan, despite the obvious love and attention lavished on it. The museum is so small that it's no more than a diversion for an hour or two. The labels are in good English and displays are excellent such as this statue and boundary stones:

There's not too many foreigners around the city, but I do remember one while eating at Klang Muang Road again. It's only tonight that I've noticed that there are "health spas" across the road and one European looking dude walks out with a lady. They cross the road, close enough for me to see that the man is very drunk. This man is going to get a real surprise in the morning because the lady with him is obviously a ladyboy.


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