Udonthani is one of the lagest city which is located in Northeastern Thailand (Isan region – อีสาน) after Khon Kaen and Nakorn Ratchasima. Thais normally address Udonthani as Udon. It is located around 560km from Bangkok. A land journey will takes around 7 to 8 hours. Udon is near to the Lao border which is only 1 hour by car. Sometimes it might be less.
Sometimes I go back to Udon through Laos. It saves a lot of time and cost depending on the air ticket. From Bangkok, travellers normally take express buses which depart from Mochit Bus Terminal. Ticket booths is located on the 3rd floor of the station. There are many bus companies. You can choose 24 VIP seaters, 32 seater etc. with different prices.
From Vientiane, Laos, just head to Talat Chao and buy ticket to Udon for 80 Baht. It is better if you have Lao Kip because they might charge extra if you use Thai Baht. There are many Farang staying in Udon. Mostly are retired expats from Australia, UK and US. Prajak Road is also known as Farang Road in Udon since there are many Farang and their bars there.
Udon has few big shopping malls and supermarket such as Tesco Lotus, Big C and Central Plaza. You might notice many cars from Laos in Udon as most of them cross the border to shop for household in Udon. Shopping is Udon is definitly better than the neighbouring provinces like Nong Khai, Sakon Nakorn etc. Udon has a large population of Chinese and also Vietnamese. There are many chinese gold shops in Udon where you can exchange your currency with a better rate than the one in the bank. Most of the Chinese and Vietnamese had already adopted Thai names and speak Thai.
There are also a lot of interested places outside Udon city which is located in other districts like Ban Chiang, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. So far, I only visited 3 places which is quite famous in Udon which are Ban Chiang, Kam Chanot and Phu Phra Bat Historical Park. I plan to visit more in the future. In Udon, Somtam is like a rice for me together with Kun Chiang, Mu Yong, Mu Yo and of course the Sticky Rice.
Afterall, Udon is a nice place to stay. The city is not as busy as Bangkok. There are places where you can get your mind relax. The people are great. The city is not so big and yet not so small. So it is easy to get around. By bike is the best way to get from one place to another. That’s why many Farang choose to retire in Udon other than other city. You will never get bored in Udon.