Andrew Leeson


Udon Thani Thailand

Some 560kms north of Bangkok you’ll find the delightful and bustling city of Udon Thani, the largest of four of major cities in the region, and the gateway to Laos, northern Vietnam and southern China. The city is home to around 400,000, whilst the Province has over 1.6 million inhabitants. Udon Thani may not grab the headlines like some other famous Thai locations, but it offers an incredibly rich and authentic experience of what life is like away from the glitz and glamour. It’s also becoming an increasingly popular home for many expat retirees, who enjoy the very low cost of living and genuine sense of community the region offers.

Things to do in Isaan

Many visitors who enjoy the nightlife in places like Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui and Pattaya may have struck up a conversation with one of the ladies who work in the bars and restaurants. In asking where they come from, its not uncommon to get the answer, Isaan, and a further comment “it’s up north”.

So just what is there to do in Isaan?

An hours drive from Udon Thani airport is one of the most beautiful attractions in the region (and some say arguably in all of Thailand), the Red Lotus Sea of Kumphawapi. Hop onto a pontoon boat and be absorbed into an unending sea of hot pink flowers (its truly unique). The blooms are seasonal and best observed between early December and late February (in the mornings, when the temperature is cooler)

The Rock Spa and Salt fields of Ban Dung offer some of the most wonderful and rejuvenating spa and massages you’ll get anywhere in the country, and once you’re relaxed, why not explore the beautiful temples in Non Prajak Park. For a sample of local community ecotourism at its finest, a visit to Khiri Wongkot Village in Na Yung is a must.

A crown jewel in the region is the Ban Chiang National Museum, and Wat Pho Sri Nai. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992, Ban Chiang is one of South East Asia’s most important archaeological sites. There are extraordinary displays of historical remains and artifacts, some dating back 3,600 BC.

The huge white marble reclining Buddha found in the town of Wat Pa Phu Kon, with its backdrop of lush mountains is another recommended location, as is having a picnic lunch beside Nam Pan Lake.

Udon Thani

The city is a great base to explore everything Isaan has to offer. It has a good range of shopping options, with the typical Tesco Lotus and Big C, joined by local favourites, Central Plaza, Landmark Plaza, UD Town, and Centre Point, which has a great selection of outdoor vendors seeling various goods and food along Prajak Sillapakom Road.

Udon Thani has accommodation at all price points, whether you enjoy camping, are on a budget, or are seeking the highest quality resort. As with every major Thai city it also offers an excellent choice in cuisine (including traditional local food), and a reasonably lively nightlife.

Longer Stay Visitors

The area has seen an increasing number of retirees and long stay expats call it home. The cost of living is significantly cheaper than in many other locations are Thailand, plus many enjoy the more relaxed laid back lifestyle. For some it also happens to be the home region of their loved one, so its very popular with families.

This has seen a solid expat community develop, and for anyone considering this area has a potential new home we’d strongly suggest visiting the local expats club, www.udonexpatsclub.com

And if you’re seeking some research on everything ‘Isaan’ there is no better site than the excellent www.tonyinthailand.com written by a gentleman who moved there from Canberra.

Getting to Thailand

Getting to Udon Thani

Getting there

Udon Thani International Airport (UTH) has regular services with both of Bangkok’s two major airports (BKK and DMK) in addition to Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Phuket and Utapao. There’s also a major Bus Terminal providing good links to other major towns and across the border to Laos. The Northeast Train line runs from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Station to Udon Thani, but will take around 9 to 10 hours. An interesting trip if you’re not in a hurry.

Authentic Thailand

Isaan has a character all of its own. The people are friendly, humble and genuinely welcoming. A visit to this part of Thailand will often surprise, enrich and stay with you long after your journey has taken you elsewhere.

If you’d like more information or have any questions, please feel free to call 1800-961-377 or email in**@re**********.au and let the team at Retire to Asia help make your dream lifestyle a reality.

Andrew Leeson

Andrew Leeson

Over 20 years of experience helping people live a better life in SE Asia. Having worked in financial services in Asia I understand the challenges when moving to and living in a new country. I have travelled extensively throughout the region and experienced what SE Asia has to offer to retirees.

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