Located on the right bank of the majestic Mekong River is Nakhon Phanom an ancient city with a name that literally means of City of Hills. The lovely setting of the provincial capital is enhanced by the rugged beauty of jungle covered mountains which lie beyond the Laotian town of Tha Khaek, located on the opposite bank of the river. Nakhon Phanom is renowned as a great place with beautiful scenery and relaxing ambiance by the Mekong River.
With a history that dates back many thousands of years, the province is a melting pot of diverse ethnic cultures and traditions. However, the culture with the strongest influence on the architecture, customs and cuisine of the province is the Lao culture.
Encompassing a total area of 5,512 square kilometers, most of which are high hills and plains covered with lush and virgin forests, Nakhon Phanom is where Phra That Phanom, the most sacred and ancient religious monument of the Northeast, is located. Both Thais and Laotians usually make their pilgrimage to this highly venerated site to ask for blessings. In addition, visitors can experience the unique fusion of Thai and Lao arts and culture through customs such as the Bai-Sri-Su-Kwan ceremony (the extension of a generous welcome to guests when a potent brew of home-made liquor is usually served).
History of Nakhon Phanom
One of the important cities of upper I-San, Nakhon Phanom was once known as "Sri Kotrabun Kingdom". Most historians believe that when King Rama I ruled Vientiane, the area was named "Maruka Nakhon". It was later renamed "Nakhon Phanom", because of its outstanding geographical feature its location among many hills and mountains.
Throughout history, Laotians and people from other ethnic groups had migrated across the Mekong River. This recurring pattern of migration left its mark on the local dialects, customs and cuisine of Nakhon Phanom. Some historic treasures include folk dances such as the Sri Kotrabun dance, which is regarded as the symbolic dance of Nakhon Phanom's, the Fon Phu Thai, Sek-Ten-Sak and So Tung Bung that are performed on special occasions.
Todays Nakhon Phanom
Nakhon Phanom, which is 740 kilometers from Bangkok, covers an area of 5,512 square kilometers and is comprised of the following districts: Mueang Nakhon Phanom, Pla Bak, Tha Uthen, Phon Sawan, Ban Phaeng, That Phanom, Renu Nakhon, Na Kae, Si Songkhram, Na Wa, Na Thom and Wang Yang.