Nong Khai Province
Nong Khai (Thai: หนองคาย, pronounced [nɔ̌ːŋ kʰāːj]) was the northernmost of the northeastern (Isan) provinces (changwat) of Thailand until its eight eastern districts were split off to form Thailand's newest province (Bueng Kan) in 2011. Neighbouring provinces are (from east clockwise) Bueng Kan, Sakon Nakhon, Udon Thani, and Loei. To the north it borders Vientiane Province, Vientiane Prefecture, and Bolikhamxai of Laos.
Map of Thailand highlighting Nong Khai Province
|• Governor||Suchat Nopphawan (since November 2014)|
|• Total||3,027 km2 (1,169 sq mi)|
|Area rank||Ranked 27th|
|• Rank||Ranked 22nd|
|• Density rank||Ranked 37th|
|Time zone||UTC+7 (ICT)|
|ISO 3166 code||TH-43|
The province is in the valley of the Mae Nam Kong (Mekong River), which also forms the border with Laos. There are highlands to the south. The Laotian capital Vientiane is only 25 kilometres away from the provincial capital of Nong Khai. The Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge, which connects the two countries, was built jointly by the governments of Thailand, Laos, and Australia, and was opened in 1994.
In more recent years, Nong Khai has become a popular destination during the Buddhist Lent festival when mysterious balls of light, or Naga fireballs, rise from the Mekong River. The balls resemble an orange sun. They rise out of the river approximately 6–9 meters (20 to 30 feet) and disappear after three to five seconds. Although the fireballs can be seen at other times, most Thais travel to see them during the full moon in October when the incidence of them is considered to be much higher.
Nong Khai's main sight is Sala Keoku (alternatively spelled as Sala Kaew Ku, also known as Wat Khaek), a park of colossal sculptures, some over 20 m tall. The park is the handiwork of the mystic Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat, who bought the land in 1978 when he was exiled from his native Laos, where he had built a similar park in Vientiane in the 1950s. Synthesizing Buddhist and Hinduist ideologies, Buddhas, many-armed goddesses, a seven-headed Naga snake, and various human-animal hybrids dominate the site.
|The provincial seal shows a pond with a bamboo clump close to it. The bamboo symbolizes stability, glory, and continuity for the peaceful and fertile land.|
The provincial tree is the tamalan or Burma pallisander (Dalbergia oliveri).
As of 23 March 2011, the province is divided into nine districts (amphoes). The districts are further subdivided into 62 subdistricts (tambons) and 705 villages (mubans). The eight districts of Bueng Kan were districts of Nong Khai before they were split off to form Bueng Kan Province.
The nearest airport is Udon Thani International Airport, 56 km from Nong Khai.
The main railway station in Nong Khai is Nong Khai Railway Station.
The Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge was largely funded by a gift to the Lao government from the Australian government. It is the road and railway gateway to Laos's capital, Vientiane, 25 kilometers upriver, on the north bank opposite the Thai town of Si Chiang Mai District. Construction of a rail spur to Thanaleng outside of Vientiane was begun early-2007 and officially opened 5 March 2009.
- "Population of the Kingdom" (PDF). Department of Provincial Affairs (DOPA) Thailand (in Thai). 2014-12-31. Retrieved 19 Mar 2015.
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- "Nong Khai". Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- "Prap Ho Monument". Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- "The Naga fireballs, Nong Khai". Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- "Sala Kaeo Ku or Wat Khaek". Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Archived from the original on 22 May 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- Masure, Yves. "Nong Khai". THAILEX Travel Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- Australian Govt Dept of Foreign Trade, Feb 9 2008, "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-31. Retrieved 2014-11-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link),
- Spooner, Andrew (2009-02-27). "First Train to Laos". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- "Distance: Bangkok to Nong Khai". Google Maps. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- "Distance: Udon Thani to Nong Khai". Google Maps. Retrieved 22 May 2015.