Exploring the eco-tourism paradise of Bueng Kan, Thailand

Bueng Kan Thailand

Bueng Kan, Thailand, is an undiscovered gem that offers digital nomads a taste of South East Asia without the tourists. We found Bueng Kan to offer just the right combination of infrastructure, activities, and authenticity to accommodate digital nomads who seek adventure without having to battle the crowds. 

Nestled in Isan, the northeastern corner of Thailand, Bueng Kan is a tranquil tapestry of culture, history, and lush geography that stretches along the serpentine Mekong River. Established as Thailand’s 76th province in 2011, it boasts a relatively small land area of approximately 4,305 square kilometers, but what it lacks in size, it more than compensates for with its rich cultural tapestry and vibrant history.

 For Wander Lawyers yearning for a different type of Thai experience than the classic island beaches, Bueng Kan provides an authentic Northern Thai experience. The province is home to a diverse population that mirrors the colorful mosaic of Southeast Asia, with influences from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic due to its proximity. Bueng Kan’s landscape is a testament to nature’s artistry, featuring undulating hills, verdant forests, and the expansive wetlands of Bueng Khong Long, which is not only a haven for biodiversity but also a vital source of life and culture for the local communities.

Bueng Kan offers unique eco-tourism experiences. The primary attractions are national parks, temples, jungle hikes, and river activities. Bueng Kan hosts some of the most incredible Wats and geological features in all of Thailand, including Wat Phu Tok and Hin Sam Wan (Three Whale Rock)

Although it offers less infrastructure and attractions than the more touristy, Chaing Mai, Bueng Kan is worth exploring.  We found Bueng Kan to be full of fun outdoor activities and authentic cultural experiences and still offer the basic amenities necessary to work while traveling.  We recommend spending 2-3 days in Bueng Kan, Thailand

Here is our WanderLawyer rating for Bueng Kan, Thailand:

Accessibility: 2/5 stars.

Delicious food: 5/5 stars.

Affordability: 5/5 stars.

Work remote locations & internet access: 1/5 stars.

Weather: 5/5 stars.

Friendliness: 5/5 stars.

Nightlife: 2/5 stars.

Vibe: 4/5 stars.

Overall Score – 2.5/5 Stars.

Top Attractions:

  1. Wat Phu Tok: A remarkable temple offering a unique climbing experience through its seven levels, symbolizing the path to enlightenment. A beautiful Wat, it’s worth the 45-minute drive from Bueng Kan. Recommended viewing time: early in the morning or in the evening. How long does it take: 2-3 hours. 
  2. Three Whale Rock: Famous for its whale-shaped rock formations, ideal for hiking and photography. We highly recommend this natural attraction. Operated like a national park, for the price of 600 Thai Baht, you can hire a private truck to tour all the main attractions. Walking on the Whale Rocks was a thrilling experience! Recommended viewing time: early in the morning or in the evening. How long does it take: 3-4 hours. 
  3. Mekong River: The river provides a peaceful backdrop and is home to various temples and whirlpools. The Mekong borders the Bueng Kan board walk and can be viewed at all times of the day. 

Festivals:

Bueng Kan Long-boat Racing Festival (September): Celebrated along the Mekong River, it features thrilling boat races and cultural shows.

Lantern Festival (November): While the main Yi Peng and Loy Krathong festivals are more prominent in Northern Thailand, the spirit of the festival, with its floating krathongs, can be felt throughout Thailand, including Bueng Kan.

Coworking: 

Bueng Kan does not offer any coworking spaces. Due to its size, it may not be suitable for travelers looking to rent an office or have access to a modern coworking space. However, there are a variety of cafes and restaurants which have internet. Also, purchasing a SIM Card will allow internet access if necessary. 

Markets:

Lao Market: Held on Tuesdays and Fridays, it’s a vibrant place to shop for local goods, with vendors from Laos contributing to its unique atmosphere.

Accommodations:

  1. The One Hotel: A popular choice for visitors looking for comfortable and convenient lodging in Bueng Kan. We highly recommend The One for the best accommodation in the area (and good internet!)
  2. The Century Grand: A good option close to the bus terminal and near the center of town. 
  3. Other Options: Bueng Kan has a range of accommodation options, from budget guesthouses to more luxurious hotels, catering to different preferences and budgets.

Travel Tips:

  • Best Time to Visit: November to February is ideal, with cooler weather and major festivals like the Lantern Festival.
  • Respect Local Customs: Be mindful of local traditions and dress modestly when visiting temples.

Getting Around:

Bueng Kan is accessible by bus or car from major cities in Thailand. Within the province, local taxis, tuk-tuks, and rental scooters are convenient for getting around. 

We recommend flying into Udon, Thailand, from Bangkok and either renting a car or taking a bus. A daily bus departs from Udon and takes approximately four hours. The other option would be to fly into Vientiene, Laos, and then cross the border into Nong Khai. From there, Bueng Kan is a two-hour ride. 

Verdict: 

Bueng Kan is worth the effort for those who want a traditional Thai experience and looking to explore the Thai geological and environmental attractions. However, be aware that you will not have access to the most modern coworking facilities you might expect from more populated areas. Still, Bueng Kan is worth visiting if you dont mind working from a hotel room or local cafe. -WL 

Authors

Anthony Shallat

Anthony Shallat

Anthony Shallat is a digital nomad attorney and WanderLawyer co-founder. Anthony believes travel unlocks potential and opens minds. He’s been wandering and lawyering since 2014.