Nakhon Phanom, which means "city of mountains", sits along the Mekong River in northeastern Thailand. It offers visitors some of the best views of the river in the region. This is the poorest and least visited area in all of Thailand. On the opposite side of the river is the country of Laos. Lao and Vietnamese culture are highly influential within this area. Tourists are actually closer to the capital of Vietnam, rather than the capital of Thailand. Nakhon Phanom is known for its relaxing atmosphere, old temples, and views of the nearby mountains.
Best Place to Rent a Car in Nakhon Phanom
There are no major car rental agencies located within the city limits. Therefore, the best place to rent a car will be the Nakhon Phanom Airport. This is a small regional airport. Most visitors arrive via Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Avis, Budget, and ThaiRentaCar are the only rental agencies on hand. The rental kiosks are located just before exiting the building. Travelers should book a rental car early with Skyscanner to ensure that the preferred vehicle is available.
Driving Around Nakhon Phanom
At first, driving in Thailand may seem intimidating and chaotic. Traffic laws do exist but are seldom followed or enforced. As a tourist, it is much safer to travel through Thailand in a rental car and not by scooter. As most locals travel by scooter and not by car, the streets may seem overwhelmed with scooters. Vehicles have the steering wheel on the right-hand side of the car and traffic travels on the left. Initially, roundabouts may seem foreign. Remember, vehicles already in the roundabout always have the right of way.
When driving, make slow and deliberate lane changes. Throughout Thailand, drivers honk to notify others of their presence. Honking is not usually used to express danger or harm. Route 22 is the main road from the airport to the city center. It is well maintained and traffic is usually light. Traffic will begin to increase when approaching the city of Nakhon Phanom. Stay to the left and allow faster traffic to pass. Adding a GPS navigation system with the car rental will offer drivers the ability to anticipate turns, changes in road conditions, and provide more time to keep their eyes on the road.
Best Things to Do in Nakhon Phanom
Begin the day by driving along the Mekong River. Watch the sun emerge from behind the mountains of Laos. To get a closer look of the mountains, head to the Third Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge. The bridge is the gateway between Thailand and Vietnam. The Asian Highway, as it's known, provides tourists with the ability to drive all the way to the South China Sea.
Near the Friendship Bridge is the Wat Mahathat Temple. It's considered one of the most important temples in the province. It is one of the many riverside temples sitting along the Mekong that tourists are welcome to visit.
Driving towards the airport on Highway 22 is the home of Ho Chi Minh. He lived here between 1928 and 1931. Visitors can tour the home where he planned his resistance movement. Afterward, visit the attached Ho Chi Minh museum. End the day by taking a sunset boat cruise along the Mekong River. Boats begin departing just south of the main pier around 5 p.m.
Don't forget to book a car on Skyscanner before a trip to Nakhon Phanom to be sure everything goes smoothly.