Friday, May 30, 2008

Khon Kaen

Thailand’s fourth largest city is a major northeastern center of silk production and host of an annual silk fair.

Fast-Growing City
Famous for its December silk fairs, Khon Kaen is one of Isan’s most important cities and Thailand’s fourth largest. It is growing fast, with international restaurants and hotels opening all over town.

Silk Industry
Fine mudmee silk is the main industry of Chonnabot Village, about 50-km southwest of the city. Tourists can see the whole silk production process, from cocoons to looms: one good workshop to visit is the Local Handicraft Center across from Wat Pho Si Sa-at, open from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. every day. Silk is for sale as garments or by the yard/meter both here and in shops throughout Khon Kaen. Rin Thai Silk in Namuang Road, Khon Kaen is a good silk center with affordable prices.

Popular celebrations in Khon Kaen include the ten-day Silk & Pook Siaw (friend tying) Festival in late November/early December, during which you can experience Isan folk music and dancing, parades and local food. During the Thai New Year (Songkran) in April, the people of Khon Kaen ritually bathe the most sacred Buddha statues of their temples. This festival includes khaen pipe music and floats decorated with colorful flowers and garlands.

Temple Ruins
About an hour’s drive to the southeast of Khon Kaen, Prasat Peuay Noi is a ruined Khmer temple built in the 12th century. The structure and surrounding area contain ornately carved stonework.

Khon Kaen boasts of a lengthy history and has been the birthplace of so many thriving civilizations and cultures. This is an area where the first dinosaur fossils were found in Thailand. Once the quiet capital of one of the poorest provinces in the Northeast, it has undergone dramatic changes and is now a prosperous, bustling town. Located at the heart of the region, it is the focal point of many regional development projects, including the site of the region’s largest public university, commerce activities and abounds with beautiful, natural surroundings.

Khon Kaen is 445 kilometres from Bangkok and has an area of about 10,886 square kilometres. It comprises the districts of Muang, Ban Phai, Phon, Nam Phong, Chum Phae, Phu Wiang, Mancha Khiri, Nong Ruea, Kranuan, Nong Song Hong, Chonnabot, Si Chomphu, Waeng Noi, Ubolratana, Ban Fang, Khao Suan Kwang, Phra Yuen, Waeng Yai, Pueai Noi, Phu Pha Man, Khok Pho Chai, Nong Na Kham, Sam Sung and Ban Haet

General Information

How to get there
From Bangkok, take Highway No. 1 to Saraburi and Highway No. 2 to Khon Kaen via Nakhon Ratchasima, a total distance of 449 kilometres

Buses depart from Bangkok’s Mochit 2 Bus Terminal to Khon Kaen every day. Contact Transport Co.Ltd at Tel: 0 2936 2852-66 for more information

Regular trains depart from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Railway Station to Khon Kaen every day. Call 1690, 0 2223 7010-20 for more information.

Thai Airways flies from Bangkok to Khon Kaen every day. Call 1566, 0 2280 0060, 0 2628 2000 for more information.

Dok Khun Siang Khaen Festival
Dok Khun Siang Khaen Festival is held during April 13-15 every year at Bung Kaen Nakhon. The day starts with merit making, followed by pouring holy water on Buddha images, local dramatic arts, floral cart procession, northeastern food contest, boat race in Bung Kaen Nakhon, and shops selling a variety of products.

Silk and Phuk Sieo Festival
Silk and Phuk Sieo Festival is held annually on 29 November-10 December at the front area of Khon Kaen town hall. The main events are the display of the local silk and its contest and I-san making friend tradition called Phuk Sieo. Pha Laeng, a wonderful I-san dinner is also available.

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