Sakon Nakhon is one of the most ancient cities in the entire country of Thailand. The history of this town can be dated back to over 3,000 years. The town and its nearby locations are filled with many remarkable spots, which attract travelers from around the world, year round. The town went through various names, throughout time. When it was under the rule of the Siamese Kingdom, it was renamed Sakon Thavapi. Then, during the reign of King Rama III in 1830, it was again renamed Sakon Nakhon.
The town is well known for its Buddhist culture and its main five Buddhist stupas. Apart from centuries old Buddhist temples and monasteries, there are various beautiful places that will completely amaze you with their natural beauty. The major attractions of Sakon Nakhon, mentioned here, will surely guarantee a great trip.
1. Visit the Sacred Phra That Choeng Chum
One of the most sacred and religious monuments in the province of Sakon Nakhon, in Northeast Thailand, is Phra That Choeng Chum. The height of this monument is 24 meters (78.7 feet) and it is made of bricks and mortar. If you look at a Thai ten-satang coin, you will find it featured on the reverse side.
Phra That Choeng Chum is located close to the vast Nong Han Lake. It is believed by Buddhist monks and followers that this place was visited by the four incarnations of Buddha, who pressed their footprints into the soil. Later, the chedi was constructed to protect the footprints of the four Buddhas. Due to this reason, this place is highly revered and sacred to Thai Buddhists. The views here are very compelling. You will get to see a large, five-headed Naga serpent wrapped around the temple, Chinese style lions as the temple guardians and a good number of stones, in the shape of large cannon balls.
Phra That Choeng Chum
Address: That Choeng Chum, Mueang Sakon Nakhon District, Sakon Nakhon – 47000, Thailand
Contact: +66 42 711 132
2. The tranquil atmosphere at Nong Han Lake will calm your mind
Nong Han Lake is a large, freshwater water lake, situated in the northeast of Sakon Nakhon. The lake covers an area of 125.2 square kilometers (48.3 square miles) and is directly connected with the Nam Pung River. The water of Nong Han Lake flows into the Mekong, a trans-boundary river in Southeast Asia.
Nong Han Lake attracts tourists from various parts of the world, due to its scenic, natural location. Much of the shore was turned into a public park for the nearby city. You can see fishermen catching fish here, mainly in the morning and the natural beauty found here will surely make you feel that time has stopped.
Nong Han Lake
Address: Puphan Road, Muang Lai, Muang Sakon Nakhon, Sakon Nakhon – 47000 Thailand
3. Phu Phan National Park offers diverse species of animals
Situated at a distance of 24-25 km (14.9-15.5 miles) from Sakon Nakhon, Phu Phan National Park geographically covers a wide forest area in the Phu Phan Mountains of Isan. This park is spread over an area of 664 square kilometers (256.4 square miles). You can reach it by taking a local bus from Sakon Nakhon to Ban Comb Lie, on Highway 213.
A trip to Sakon Nakhon must include Phu Phan National Park. You can spend plenty of hours here, at multiple waterfalls, such as the Pree-cha Suk-san, Kam Hom and Kreng Ka-arm Waterfalls. Have your camera at the ready, to capture the snaps of the various animals found here, as the park houses 162 different species. You can see various birds here, including herds of wild elephants, wild pigs, barking deer, monkeys and monitor lizards. On the other hand, you can take a rest at Phra That Phu Pek, the ruins of an ancient Khmer Temple, also found inside the park.
The temperature in this place can be as high as 39-40 degrees Celsius (102.2-104 degrees Fahrenheit) during the summer. The rainy season usually starts around June and continues until the end of October. After this, the temperature becomes moderate, around 17 degrees Celsius (62.6 degrees Fahrenheit) during the daytime, between November and January. This is the best time to visit the park as it will be completely green.
Phu Phan National Park
Address: Unnamed Rd, 47180, Huai Yang, Mueang Sakon Nakhon District, Sakon Nakhon, Thailand
4. Wax Castle Parade and Long Boat Race
If you are visiting Sakon Nakhon in October, don’t miss the Wax Castle Parade and the Long Boat Race, that take place during the 12th to 15th days of the waxing moon of the 11th lunar month (October). This is a beautiful festival, in which various communities from around the province get involved and spend a significant amount of money and time in constructing large Buddhist temples or monasteries out of wax. Then, during the time of the parade, these large, extraordinary models are loaded into trailers for a procession, for all to see.
Apart from this, you will be amused to see the boat races and varied cultural performances that have been practiced for several decades and even centuries, to maintain the spirit of the local inhabitants.
Wax Castle Parade and Long Boat Race
Festival Period: Celebrated annually from October 12-15, to mark the end of Buddhist Lent.
Venue: Ming Muang ground and the HRM Srinakarin Park, Sakon Nakon Municipal Office
Contact: +66 4273 3168 (Sakon Nakon City Municipality), +66 4251 3490-1 (TAT Nakhon Phanom Office)
5. Phra Archan Man Phurithatto Museum
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Phra Archan Man Phurithatto Museum is one of the best tourist attractions in the area, located on Sookkasen Road. Once you walk inside, you will find a fantastic homage to Buddhism, here. A statue of the Buddhist Master Mun Bhuridatta aka Master Man Phurithatto (who lived between 1870 and 1949), is a major attraction here, mainly for Buddhists. Here, you will also get to see and learn about the eight necessities of a Buddhist saint.
Phra Archan Man Phurithatto Museum
Address: Sookkasen Rd., Dong Mafai, Muang Sakon Nakhon, Sakon Nakhon – 47000 Thailand
6. Wat Tham Phae Daen preserves Lord Buddha’s footprint
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
The Wat Tham Phae Daen temple, located in the town of Sakon Nakhon, attracts several thousand tourists every year, from various parts of the globe, for its brilliantly carved images of Gautama Buddha and demigods, on the façade. You can ask the temple executives for the way to Buddha’s footprint, which can be found on top of the mountain.
The view here is simply awesome and it provides you with an unusual opportunity to sit in solitude somewhere and get a moment of full mental relaxation. You can reach the temple via Ban Na Kap Kae (the distance is just 4 kilometers/2.5 miles). Wat Tham Pha Daen is located nearby Ban Dong Noi and Phu Pha Daen.
Wat Tham Phae Daen Temple
Address: Highway 2339, Moo 9, Dongmafai Subdistrict, Sakon Nakhon – 47000, Thailand
How to reach Sakon Nakhon
Sakon Nakhon has a regional airport on the north side of the city. If you are traveling from Bangkok, you can take a private bus, that operates daily from Bangkok to Sakon Nakhon. Or, you can make use of the daily train service from Bangkok to Udon Thani. From there, you can catch a bus to Sakon Nakhon. On the other hand, the fastest way is obviously the air route between Bangkok and Sakon Nakhon.
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