Ubon Ratchathani is northeast Thailand's easternmost province and is bordered to the east by the Mekong River and Laos, and to the south by Cambodia. The provincial capital is some 630 kilometers northeast of Bangkok, and the province covers an area of 15,819 square kilometers.
Ubon Ratchathani is well known for a strong Buddhist tradition, particularly forest dwelling handicrafts and traditional events such as the Candle Festival each July.
Attractions - in the city
Thung Si Muang
This central ground is a major recreation area, and houses the City Pillar on its southern edge.
Wat Thung Si Muang
Located on Luang Road, this Buddhist temple dates from the 1800s, and is best known for its scriptural repository, in the middle of a pond, and mural paintings depicting local culture some 200 years ago.
This riverside royal temple dates from the mid-1800s and enjoys a bucolic setting. The ordination chapel is an eclectic mixture of Thai, Chinese and European styles, reflecting the major influences of the period when the temple was built.
Wat Si Ubon Rattanaram
This royal temple on Uparat Road beside the City Hall has an ordination chapel constructed in the style of Bangkok's Marble Temple (Wat Benchamabopitr). The revered Topaz Buddha image was originally from Laos.
The National Museum
This exhibits local artifacts ranging from prehistoric times until the present day. The museum is open daily from 9.00 AM until 4.00 PM, except on Mondays, Tuesdays and national holidays.
Wat Ban Na Muang
This temple contains a distinctive ordination chapel made of ceramics in the shape of the Suphannahongse Royal Barge, the vessel that formerly transported H.M. the King during religious ceremonial in Bangkok.
Wat Nong Bua
Located on the city outskirts, just off Km. 3 on Route 212 to Amnat Charoen, the temple is best known for a rectangular chedi resembling that in India's Bodhagaya, the site of the Buddha's enlightenment, more than 2,500 years ago.
Attractions - out of the city
Ban Pa Ao
21 kilometers outside the provincial capital, along Route 23, this more than 200- year-old village has a rich cultural tradition, namely manufacturing bronze-ware and weaving beautiful silk, handed down to local villagers by their Laotian ancestors.
Wat Nong Pa Phong
Located some 6 kilometer's from the provincial capital, off Highway 2178, this forest temple and meditation center was founded by the revered ecclesiastic, the late Achan Cha, who taught many foreign males the discipline of Buddhist meditation.
Wat Pa Nanachat
Located 12 kilometres outside the provincial capital, along Highway 226, this forest temple is populated exclusively by foreign disciples of the late Achan Cha. Visits are possible between 6.00 and 11.00 AM, largely because the foreign monks spend their time in meditation, or contemplation, and obey the discipline of silence after their final morning meal.
This is the most beautiful cataract in Ubon Ratchathani province. Located 45 kilometers east of the provincial capital in Phibun Mangsahan district, the Mun River site is a popular riverside recreation area.
Located 70 kilometers from the provincial capital along Highway 217, this dam has accommodation for visitors wishing to savor the tranquil area. Reservations may be made with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.
Chong Mek Checkpoint
This marks the Thai-Lao border and the end of the 89-kilometre-long Highway 217. The area will become a major gateway to Indochina, linked via a 38-kilometre-road in Laos to Pak Sae, which will be part of the Asian Highway.
Kaeng Tana National Park
This approximately 20,000-acre national park contains rock formations and waterfalls, including the Kaeng Tana cataract, and offers accommodation facilities. The park is reached via Highway 2222.
Wat Tham Khu Ha Sawan
This temple, on Highway 2222, about 6 kilometers before reaching Khong Chiam district, was the residence of a revered I-San ecclesiastic. The temple offers scenic viewpoints of the Mekong River and Laos.
The 'Two-Coloured' River
This marks the spot in Khong Chiam district, some 84 kilometers from the provincial capital, where the muddy brown Mekong and blue Mun rivers unite.
Located on Highway 2112, some 11 kilometers from the district office en route to Pha Taem, this natural rock formation forms a mushroom-like mass. Fossilized seashells, pebbles and sand grains can be seen in the stone slabs. Geologists believe the area must have been on the seabed about 1,000,000 years ago.
Some 98 kilometers from the provincial capital, on Highway 2112, this riverside cliff overlooks the Mekong River and boasts prehistoric rock paintings, believed to be between 3,000 and 4,000 years old of animals, fish and hunting scenes.
Soi Sawan, Thung Na Muang & Saengchan Waterfalls
These three cascades, essentially the same waterway at different elevations, are located beside Route 2112, the first (Soi Sawan) some 30 kilometers from Khong Chiam district. Each waterfall enjoys verdant surroundings.
Phu Chong-Na Yoi National Park
This is some 4 kilometers from the Na Chaluai district office and is part of the so-called 'Emerald Triangle', the designation given the forested area where the borders of Thailand, Cambodia and Laos converge. The verdant area has a great many trees and flowers, nocturnal opportunities for viewing wildlife - including tigers and deer and has accommodation facilities. There is also the scenic Huai Luang waterfall.
Ubon Ratchathani is well known for many distinctive handicrafts, including silk and cotton products, khit pillows.
Songkran Festival - April 12-15
This festival, the traditional Thai New Year, is staged at Phibun Mangsahan district, beside Kaeng Saphue. The festival features religious rites and merit making, Isan folk music, dancing and cultural contests and popular folk entertainment.
Candle Festival Asalha Puja Day & Khao Phansa Day (usually July)
The provincial capital celebrates the annual three-month Rains Retreat (when Buddhist monks traditionally forego travel and remain inside their monasteries to meditate) with a beautiful festival featuring hand-made gigantic beeswax candles. Processions, entertainment and religious merit making show the provincial capital at its best.