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I f we were to think about a destination to welcome in the winter season, Loei would be among our favorite places. Famous places like Phu Kradueng, Phu Ruea, and Phu Luang are as popular nowadays as in the old days, and yet more mountain peaks like Phu Pa Po and Phu Lom Lo are now added to the list for explorers as well. The signature of Loei province is not only its cool weather and beautiful scenery, but also the warmth and loveliness of the local people that always enchant both old and new tourists alike and persuade them to return.

Phu Pa Po – the Unseen of Loei

Located in North Eastern Thailand, Loei still resembles the North in its abundance of mountain ranges where their natural flat peaks make each unique in its own way. One of the most famous mountains is Phu Pa Po from where we began our journey. On the way, we stopped to visit Suan Hin Pha Ngam Park to see what the biggest stone garden in the world is like. Its similar appearance to the mountains in China makes it best known by tourists as Thailand’s Kunming. Driving a little farther, we finally reached Phu Pa Po where we parked at the tourist center and got into a local E-tak car driven by an experienced driver from the village. After the first three viewpoints, we had to go for a 200-metre walk to witness the last one, up to the point where all us were stunned by the amazing view of Phu Hor, the form of which is just like Mt. Fujiyama near Tokyo. With a 360-degree view, we could also overlook eight famous mountains, such as Phu Kradueng and Khao Ko. That night we drove down the mountain and had a good night’s sleep at Khoom Loei Vill.

The Beauty at Dan Sai – Na Heaw

In the morning, we headed to Dan Sai district where Phra That Sri Song Rak is located. It was built to commemorate the close friendship between Laos and Siam under the reign of King Say Setthathirath of Lan Xang and King Maha Chakkrapat of Ayutthaya. In this temple, all items colored red are strictly prohibited according to the local’s belief that red represents killing. Next, we went to Wat Neramitre Vipassana, a majestic temple built entirely with laterite rocks, and then stopped by at Dan Sai Folk Museum to learn about Phi Ta Khon, a famous ghost character who performs only at an annual festival at Dan Sai in Loei province. To restore our energy, we ate a must-try dish of “Pa Jom noodles” and then enjoyed some coffee, together with delicious macadamia nuts at the “MacNut Loei” shop. We then headed out to catch the sunset at Phu Hua Hom, and on to Phu Suan Sai National Park for its stunning sea of mist in the morning.

Chiang Khan – a lovely town by the Mekong river

Going downhill, we headed right to Chiang Khan, a small, old town, yet full of charms with its antique wooden houses lined up along both sides of the street. Here small roads are seen throughout the village where many houses also serve as guest houses, cafes, souvenir shops, and restaurants. A common, yet very charismatic, ritual that all tourists can enjoy every morning here is giving sticky rice alms to the monks. In the evening it was time for a stroll in the famous night market offering varieties of local food and other products. Just around the town, we also got a view of the sea of mist over the Mekong river at Phu Thok, chillaxed at Kaeng Kud Ko – a large rock rapid in the middle of the Mekong, as well as overlooking a wonderful view of both Loas and Thailand on the Chiang Khan skywalk, a new Loei landmark.

Hotel Stays

1. Loei-Danang – After 15 years in business, the restaurant still serves a variety of tasty dishes in the authentic Danang style. Either the traditional Naem Nueng or sugar cane shrimp is surely a must-try! / FB.loeidanang1

2.Cafe de River – Photo-lovers and café hoppers should not miss this –

a beautiful café at Chiang Khan, located just by the Mekong river. For a drink, we recommend a glass of Lemonade Americano. / FB.CafedeRiver

3.Phu Na Come Resort – Nestled amidst mountains, this resort offers various room types in the contemporary Isan style. Its superior, relaxing, green experience is also guaranteed by its ASEAN Green Hotel award, and many more.

4.Chiang Khan River Green Hill Resort – In a luxurious camping-style,

you can comfortably overlook picturesque views of the Mekong river.