Chiang Khan , Nong Khai, two different faces of the Mekong river

Mekong, Chiang Khan, Thailand

Separating Laos, Cambodia and Thailand is the tranquil and large Mekong.

We invite you t discover the Mekong trough a city and a town settled on the shore, one for the Thai tourism, the other more for the Occidental tourists.

Walking along the Mekong, Chiang Khan, Thaïlande

Chiang Khan is in every way a small town, almost a village. Few streets and a walkway. Several hundreds of inhabitants living in stilt wooden houses. Some restaurants also, very reasonable. truth is it is hard to come here without your own wheels, you need to take several buses and songthaews (pickup converted to rough public buses used by local people, like schoolboyes after school).
Here you are accommodated in guest-houses, for us lovely old people not speaking a word of English, a good occasion to improve in sketching, sign speaking and miming.

With thais people who invited us for diner, Chiang Khan, Thailand

Thais tourists are not really used to see foreigner tourists here, but they didn’t hold grudges : a teachers group invited us to join their (very spicy) meal as we were passing by their table in the street. With their few words of English they managed to share they joy to meet foreigners, to be in vacation and to taste good Thai whiskey. The physical education teacher even shows us move of Muai Thai (Thai boxing).

Going down the water of the Mekong (or 6 hours by buses as there are rapids), you arrive to Nong Khai. As a border-crossing point to Laos, and a direct train-journey from Bangkok, Nong Khai is obviously preferred by foreigners. The magical Mekong is still here, but so are the hostess bars, one of the saddest thing to see in Thailand : kitch-flashy bars, but a bit worn out, old snookers, sad hostesses who act like if they were happy and like if they had a good time, like their 50 years old customers… Priced pleasures, are you really pleasures?

Mekong, Nong Khai, Thailand

Hostels are foreign-managed, and are perfect to make you not travel : live football games (Manchester vs Barcelona), US music and laptop and free WiFi for everybody!
Fortunately it is possible to hide away over the Mekong. This river is peaceful but the current is very strong, sweeping along the fisherman and the net he is laying down. The sunset highlight the silhouette of people in the other side, Laotian silhouettes …

Happy Mekong, your tranquility overflows people living nearby you.\

2 comments for “Chiang Khan , Nong Khai, two different faces of the Mekong river”

  1. Encore un beau reportage.
    J’aime cette ambiance de sérénité et de calme, à l’unisson de ces terres de sagesse et de culture ancestrales, le long du grand fleuve nourricier, que même la parenthèse occidentale ne parvient pas réellement à bouleverser.
    Bravo encore et merci de vos émotions partagées.

  2. Le Mekong c’est exactement ca! DOmmage qu’on ne puisse pas naviguer a la voile sur ce fleuve, quoiqu’avec un deriveur integral peut etre …

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