3-Day Nakhon Phanom Itinerary | Thailand

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3 Day Nakhon Phanom Itinerary, Thailand


Day 1 City and Organic Farming

Be sure to get an early start on your first day in Nakhon Phanom as there’s lots to see. Exploring the city will keep you busy in the morning, then in the afternoon, head out of town to learn all about organic farming.
You can explore Nakhon Phanom by foot, bicycle or skylab, Nakhon Phanom’s version of a tuk tuk, so-called because of the way the front points skywards. Which you choose, will be down to personal choice, but I think skylab is the best option.


Wats and a Church

Wat Phra In Plaeng in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand

Saint Anna Nong Saeng Catholic Church in Nakhon Phanom


Naga Monument 

Naga Monument in Nakhon Phanom

Before you leave the riverside area pop over the road to admire the famous, main landmark of Nakhon Phanom the Naga Monument (Paya Sri Satta Nakarat). This seven-headed, highly revered naga statue has a prominent place looking over the river towards LaosLocals flock to the Naga Monument to pray, and then buy lottery tickets fro stallholders nearby, hoping for some luck.


Naga Monument at Night in Nakhon Phanom
3D Artwork in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand


Backstreets and Coffee

Wacky Races Skylabs in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand
Cafe Le Landmark in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand


Sun Tree Art and Culture Organic Market

Suntree Art and Culture Organic Market in Nakhon Phanom
Bua Loy at Suntree Organic Market in Nakhon Phanom
I particularly liked watching the workshop where naga statues were being made from banana leaves and bamboo. The artisans crafting these intricate statues were so talented.


Khao Kun Mae Organic Farm

Khao Kun Mae Organic Farm near Nakhon Phanom

Win Win Smile Co., Ltd Business Card, Nakhon Phanom

They should be able to help you out with self-drive car rental or a car and driver if you prefer. Khao Kun Mae Organic Farm is a family run business.


Rice Products from Khao Kun Mae Organic Farm in Nakhon Phanom
The tour ends with you sitting on straw bales in a covered area to watch a short film made by the family. It tells the story of how the business started and grew to what it is today. It was amazing to see what this family have achieved and their future ambitions.


Planting Rice at Khao Kun Mae Organic Farm

Day 2 Tribal Tourism, Relaxation and Food

The second day of your Nakhon Phanom itinerary is all about learning about the culture and traditions of tribal villages. It’s finished off with a sunset river cruise and street food feast.

Tribal Village Experience

Tribal Village Experience near Nakhon Phanom, Thailand
Each village has its own unique culture and traditions, trades, food, traditional costumes, music and dance. This means trying to decide which of the villages to visit is likely to result in choice paralysis. The best way to decide is to research each and choose that which interests you the most. 
I was lucky enough to visit two of the tribal villages as part of the MTF 2018 activities, one belonged to the Tai Kha people and one to the Tai Guan peopleBoth villages welcomed us dressed in their traditional costumes with music, dancing and floral garlands.


Traditional Isaan Thai Food in Tribal Village near Nakhon Phanom
Shamen Ceremony in Tribal Village near Nakhon Phanom
Chopping Leaves to Feed Silkworms

Foot Massage in a Tribal Village near Nakhon Phanom

The Tai Guan village centres around a school. On arrival, we met an excitable gaggle of young school children, dressed all in white ready for a Buddhist ceremony. Some village women treated us to a relaxing turmeric, coffee and salt foot massage. We then took a short tram trip through a small town and green paddy fields to a farm and blacksmiths.


Forging a Machete at a Blacksmiths in a Tribal Village near Nakhon Phanom
We wondered if the fantastic cultural shows the villagers performed for us were for show (despite assurances they weren’t). They may well have been, yet I’m sure the warm welcomes and friendly smiles we received weren’t fake. Every villager we met seemed genuinely happy to welcome us into their homes and share a snippet of their lives with us.
As the tribal villages aren’t mainstream tourism there are some logistical challenges in planning a visit or homestay. Your best bet is to contact Win Win Smile and Co., Ltd (see image above for contact details) or TEATA who will be able to help you with the arrangements.


Sunset Riverboat Cruise

The River Riverboat Cruise in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand

Sunset River Cruise in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand

Walking Street Night Market

Walking Street Night Market in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand
Bar in Nakhon Phanom

Day 3 – Cycling and Sightseeing

Get an early start on the third day of your Nakhon Phanom itinerary. You’ll need time to fit in a cycle ride, a visit to the out of town Wat Phra That Phanom and hopefully Hoh Chi Minh’s house.

Early Morning Riverside Cycle Ride

Cycle Path in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand

By the third day in Nakhon Phanom, you’ll have noticed the cycle path that runs alongside the Mekong river. Interestingly, it’s the longest cycle path and walkway in Thailand, so it would be amiss to not enjoy it.

You can rent a bicycle and helmet from some hotels or shops near the Naga Monument. River Hotel rents city bikes for 20 baht (£0.47) per hour and mountain bikes for 40 baht (£0.94) per hour. Early morning is definitely the best time for a cycle ride whilst the city is still relatively quiet.
Exercise Machines in Nakhon Phanom
Naga Tunnel in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand

You can cycle all the way up to the Third Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge, passing through the Naga Tunnel on the way.

The Third Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge joins Nakhon Phanom Province in Thailand with Khammouane Province in Laos. The route to the bridge is about 12 km in each direction and takes two to three hours depending on how often you stop for photos.


Wat Phra That Phanom

Wat Phra That Phanom in Thailand
Chedi at Wat Phra That Phanom in Thailand
At the time we visited there were also many locals and domestic Thai tourists paying their respects. There was a steady stream of people making offerings of incense, candles and lotus flowers. After making their offering they walked clockwise three times around the base of the chedi. It’s thought that those who do this on seven different occasions will have a lifetime of prosperity and happiness.
There’s also an on-site museum with many painting and hand-written information boards telling the various legends of Phra That and its history over the ages.


Hoh Chi Minh House

Depending on how long you spend at Wat Phra That Phanom you may also have time to fit in a visit to Hoh Chi Minh’s House. Hoh Chi Minh lived there under royal protection between 1924 and 1931 whilst he planned the revolution to free Vietnam from French rule. There’s also some lovely gardens and a museum on-site

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to visit but Paul from Chow Traveller has written a bit more about the real Hoh Chi Minh’s House in his post on Nakhon Phanom. 

Nakhon Phanom Hotels

I was hosted for the five nights of the Mekong Tourism Forum 2018 by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and The River Hotel. Read more in our full Product Review Disclosure.

The River Hotel 

The River Hotel in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand

The hotel has four types of rooms at a range of prices which are: River Honeymoon Suite at 2,490 baht (£59), River Paradise Suite at 1,490 baht (£34), River Sky View at 990 baht (£24) and River Mountain View at 790 baht. They all either have a balcony or glass doors that open out with a view of the beautifully manicured gardens and river. 

River Mountain View Room at The River Hotel in Nakhon Phanom

There was wifi in the rooms but it was quite problematic, although the reception staff were very helpful in resolving the problem; in the rest of the hotel, it was fine.

View from The River Hotel in Nakhon Phanom

Opposite the lobby is the River Bar and Restaurant where breakfast is served daily and included in the room price. There was a good selection of continental and Asian breakfast dishes including eggs ‘your style’ and a great noodle or rice soup cooked in front of you to your preference.

The lunch and dinner menu had Asian, Japanese and European dishes at quite reasonable prices. Each night a live band plays in the bar so it can get quite lively and makes for some great entertainment. The hotel also has a coffee shop and spa which sadly I didn’t get a chance to try.

I very much enjoyed my stay at The River Hotel and wouldn’t hesitate to return if I’m lucky enough to visit Nakhon Phanom again in the future.

Other Hotels in Nakhon Phanom

There are several other accommodation options in Nakhon Phanom, many of which were stayed at by other travel bloggers in my group. From their feedback and from visiting most myself, the following also seemed to be good hotels: R Photo Hotel, Fortune River Hotel, Chid Chid Kong, Fortune View Kong Hotel. These and other hotels can all be booked below:


Other Activities

Should you be lucky enough to have some extra time in Nakhon Phanom there are several other activities you could consider including getting a massage, watching an alms giving ceremony and visiting the morning market. Jen from Two Can Travel talks about these and some other activities in her post 15 Awesome Things to Do in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand

So there you have it, my suggested itinerary for 3 days in Nakhon Phanom. I hope you find it useful and it encourages you to visit this wonderful off the beaten track destination during your Thailand travel.

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Have you been to Nakhon Phanom? Have I missed anything from this itinerary or can you suggest any nearby not to be missed activities?

P.S. If you’re looking for other off the beaten track destinations in Thailand why not read about Koh Kood Island via the following link: 

Product Review Disclosure: The River Hotel and the Tourism Authority of Thailand hosted my stay in Nakhon Phanom. I also participated in many of the activities mentioned as part of the Mekong Tourism Forum 2018. This did not influence my post in any way and as always I’ve provided balanced and honest reviews.


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19 thoughts on “3-Day Nakhon Phanom Itinerary | Thailand

  1. Anne / FinnsAway

    Nice to read about such destinations that are not on every travelers itinerary. Need to get back to Thailand some day, to explore it more. Oh and this post made me also miss the authentic, spicy thai food! 🙂

    1. TanyaKorteling Post author

      Thanks – I really do love exploring more off the beaten track places and I definitely miss Thai Food too!

  2. carrie

    I think this is the first post I’ve ever seen written about Nakhon Phanom … glad to see it’s getting some love! I stopped here for a couple nights six years ago on my way into Thailand from Laos, and was impressed with its laid-back atmosphere. Definitely didn’t do as much exploring as you did though…I think the only thing I really saw was the night market and the Naga sculpture. It was just soooo nice to be somewhere less touristy in Thailand that I mostly just wandered around the whole time.

    1. TanyaKorteling Post author

      It’s such a lovely city, isn’t it? It must have been even more off the beaten track 6 years ago. I want to go back at some point with my husband to explore some more!

  3. Marlies

    I have been to Thailand many times but I have never visited Nakhon Phanom! This place looks very nice and wouldn’t mind go visit it. I think I need to go back to Thailand 😉 Thanks for the tips!

    1. TanyaKorteling Post author

      I’m not surprised you hadn’t heard of it, it’s still relatively unknown – which I guess is part of its charm.

      It’s definitely worth a visit though 🙂

  4. Ketki Gadre

    I absolutely loved this guide as you have covered everything possible to do in 3 days! Nakhon Phanom is amazing and needs more tourist attention. I hope to go back someday 🙂

  5. Shayan

    An amazing comprehensive guide there! This city was amazing, even if I hadn’t been there myself, I’d be convinced to go. Great photos too!

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