Chiang Khan – The New Hipster Hangout of Thailand | 6 Cultural Activities in ChiangKhan Loei

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CHIANG KHAN – Nested 1 hour away from the airport of Loei is the rustic gem of Chiang Khan. You might be wondering, where is Chiang Khan, you must be talking about Chiang Mai?

Life has no limit - Chiang Khan Thailand. <a href='http://cruisingtonight.com/cruises-in-mekong-delta-cambodia/' title='Mekong river'>Mekong river</a> in the background and Laos across it!

Life has no limit –  in Chiang Khan Thailand. The Mekong River in the background and Laos right across it!

Nope, you heard me right – Chiang KHAN, spelled with a ‘K’. This little district part of the Loei province in Thailand is almost untouched by foreign tourists, with majority of the visitors coming from local Thais from surrounding cities in Thailand. It is the coldest part of Thailand during winter, and can get as cold a -6 degrees, hence Thais love to flock here to enjoy the cold.

Mekong River separating us from Laos

Mekong River separating us from Laos

We scooted over to Chiang Khan via local budget airline Nok Air, an adorable little propeller plane with their airline symbol – a bird’s beak. Flights to this destination is very affordable from Bangkok, and even with a last minute over the counter purchase, I paid around SGD$95 for a 1-way ticket. Alternatively, one can also catch a 2-way coach down 8 hours from Bangkok at 700baht.

So what’s unique about this destination that makes it any different from the other parts of Thailand like Bangkok/ Krabi/ Chiang Mai etc

6 Reasons why Chiang Khan is worth your time

1. A Pretty Little Wooden Town

Wooden Houses of Chiang Khan

Rows of Wooden Houses of Chiang Khan

One very iconic aspect about Chiang Khan is that – almost every single house here is made out of purely wood, in particular teak wood which is in ample supply here. Chiang Khan use to be a french colony, hence some of the houses here still have some french influence. But the general style is that they are all made of wood – rows and rows of wooden houses line the streets, no matter if it is an old resident house, a café, a shophouse or a hotel, there is a distinct consistent style of every single house built here. And other than 2 hotels, everything else in this little town is only at maximum of 2 storeys high. No high rise 5 star hotels or malls spotted here.

Wooden Houses and Architecture of Chiang Khan

Wooden Houses and Architecture of Chiang Khan

In some sense, the main walking street ( from Soi 1 – 25 to be exact) even feels like a movie set, with neat little wooden houses parallel to the beautiful Mekong River flowing by the side. The stunning river that hold the record of being the 10th or 12th longest river in the world. I will share more later.

(For those looking for accommodation, we stayed at the lovely wooden Sri Chiang Khan Hotel )

 

5. Visit the Black Thai Tribe Tai Dam

Visiting the Black Thai Tribe Tai Dam in Chiang Khan

Visiting the Black Thai Tribe Tai Dam in Chiang Khan

A last minute addition on our way back to the Loei airport, we stop over and got to interact with the lovely people from the Black Thai Tribe Tai Dam , dancing, dressing up in their traditional costume and enjoying the stunning view of the rice paddy fields.

Beautiful Chiang Khan and its padi fields, shot at the Black Thai Tribe Tai Dam

Striking a yoga pose in beautiful Chiang Khan and its padi fields, shot at the Black Thai Tribe Tai Dam

6. Thailand Eco Tourism

Not yet bursting out of its seams with tourists, this little destination plays its part to really be a self-sustaining and environmentally conscious destination which reduces its carbon footprint. Hardly can you find any Styrofoam boxes used here, and there isn’t massive amounts of trash generated every day. The residents really protect the natural beauty of the place and try not to destroy it. Really unexpected for a place to be big on eco tourism.

Stretches of rice padi fields - Thailand Eco Tourism

Stretches of rice padi fields – Thailand Eco Tourism efforts

In conclusion, apart from the usual popular destinations like Bangkok, Krabi, Chiang Mai and Phuket, the only word I can describe this gem of Thailand is – Rustic. A truly beautiful little place where culture meets tranquility meets the Mekong.

Come visit Chiang Khan before the rest of the world catches up with it.

Wind in my air, smile on my face in Chiang Khan -Thailand Eco Sustainable Tourism

Wind in my air, smile on my face in Chiang Khan along the Mekong River

Sunrays on the plane leaving Chiang Khan

Sunrays on the plane leaving Chiang Khan

( This trip was made possible by Thailand Eco and Adventure Tourism Association ( TEATA) and Thailand Tourism Board )

To read more about other destinations in Thailand

– Krabi – Rock Raw Rustic

Bangkok – Top 5 Places in Asia worth Revisiting

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