Monday, December 28, 2009

Sakon Nakhon (สกลนคร), NE Thailand

Sakon Nakhon, the word Sakon originates from the Sanskrit word sakala (Devanagari: सकल) meaning entire, whole, or total, and the word Nakhon from Sanskrit nagara (Devanagari: नगर) meaning town or city. Hence the name of the province literally means City of cities.

The province is located on the Khorat Plateau, not far from the river Mekong. Neighboring provinces are (from north clockwise) Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Kalasin and Udon Thani. The capital is Sakon Nakhon. The Nong Han lake - the biggest natural lake of North-East Thailand - near the city Sakon Nakhon is a popular resort of the local people. The Phu Phan Mountains delimit the province to the south.

The province is subdivided into 18 districts (amphoe). The districts are further subdivided into 125 communes (tambon) and 1323 villages (muban).

1. Mueang Sakon Nakhon
2. Kusuman
3. Kut Bak
4. Phanna Nikhom
5. Phang Khon
6. Waritchaphum
7. Nikhom Nam Un
8. Wanon Niwat
9. Kham Ta Kla
10. Ban Muang
11. Akat Amnuai
12. Sawang Daen Din
13. Song Dao
14. Tao Ngoi
15. Khok Si Suphan
16. Charoen Sin
17. Phon Na Kaeo
18. Phu Phan

Map of Sakon Nakhon

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Sakon Nakhon(สกลนคร)
Sakon Nakhon(สกลนคร)is a town in Thailand within the Isan region, and capital city of the Sakon Nakhon Province, with a population of approximately 76,000. The second most important commercial centre in the upper North East Thailand, after Udon Thani. It has a regional airport in the north, Sakon Nakhon Airport. During World War II, the town became a haven for Free Thais, and a base for Communist activities in the late 1950s. Fish and rice are two of the largest products of the region. The biggest lake of north-east Thailand is situated north of the city, known as Lake Nong Han. Sakon Nakhon is 647 kilometres from Bangkok and has an area of 9,605 square kilometres.

How to go there
1. By car: From Bangkok, takes highway 2 to Saraburi and turn right into highway 2, via Nakhon Ratchasima, Amphoe Ban Phai of Khon Kaen to Ban Tha Phra. Get into highway 23 via Maha Sarakham and Kalasin, then use highway 213 to Sakon Nakhon.

It is 175 km(or 108 miles) from Khon Kaen highway 209/213; from Udon Thani, it is 150 km or 93 miles from Udon Thani Highway 22.

2. By bus: Transport Co, and Private Bus Service provider operate daily service from Bangkok to Sakon Nakhon . Buses leave Northeast Bus Terminal (Mor Chit 2) daily. For more information, call 0-2936-0657, 0-2936-1180, 0-2936-2852-66 or visit

3. By train: State Railway of Thailand operates daily train service from Bangkok to Udon Thani, where tourist can catch routine bus to Sakon Nakhon, 159 km away

4. By air: Air Asia Thailand have flight to Udon Thani, which is 150 km away by car to Sakon Nakhon..

Legend says that Nongharn town, or presently Sakon Nakhon, was built in 11th century when Khmer ruled this region. When the Khmer lost its power, the town was under the rules of Lanxang or Laotian Kingdom. It was renamed into “Muang Chiang Mai Nongharn”. When the town was under Siamese Kingdom, it was renamed again into “Sakon Thavapi”. In 1830, during the reign of King Rama III, it was named “Sakon Nakhon”.

Nong Han Lake(หนองหาร)
The Nong Han (หนองหาน) is a lake in the northeast of Thailand, located 12 km northeast of the town Sakon Nakhon. Nong (หนอง) in Thai language means swamps.

A large, permanent, freshwater lake situated among low rolling hills, and with a catchment area of 1,653; one of the largest natural water bodies in the country. There are small areas of paddy and patches of marshland, these last totalling 750 ha. The western shore of the lake is somewhat urbanized, and the town of Sakhon Nakhon lies at the southwest corner. The main inflow is from the Nam Pung River, which runs off the Phuphan mountain range to the south. The only significant outflow is the Nam Khan, which drains southeast into the Mekong River. A spillway and two sluice gates have been installed. The average depth of the lake is l.9m and the maximum depth, 4.3m; the pH ranges from 7.0-8.4. There are considerable fluctuations in water level, with some areas around the margins drying out at the height of the dry season.

There are more than 20 islets in the lake such as Ko Don Sawan, the biggest islet where deserted temple and ancient Buddha images are located.

The main river feeding the lake is the Nam Pung, which originates in the Phu Phan mountains south of the lake. The outflow of the lake is the Huai Nam Khan to the southeast, which mouths into the Mekong.

The lake is used for fishing. 20% of the fish caught in the lake is Bardus leiacanthus. Much of the shore has been converted into a public park for the nearby city. Swimming in Nong Han however is risky because of parasitic liver flukes. (Note: Liver flukes are a polyphyletic group of trematodes (phylum Platyhelminthes). Adults of liver flukes are localized in the liver of various mammals, including humans. These flatworms can occur in bile ducts, gallbladder, and liver parenchyma. They feed on blood. Adult flukes produce eggs which are passed into the intestine.)

Some places of attractions:

1.Phra That Choeng Chum temple is situated in the town next to Nong Han Lake and features a 25 metre-high Laos-style chedi.

2. Phra That Narai Chen Weng sanctuary is five kilometres west of the town and was originally part of a Khmer Hindu temple. The sandstone chedi sits on a laterite foundation and the lintels, doorways and window display beautifully ornate carvings.

3. Phu Phan Ratchaniwet Palace sits atop the Phu Phan mountain range and is used as the royal residence when the royal family visits the northeast.

4. Huai Huat National Park is known for its striking natural beauty, a huge reservoir, waterfalls and a rock plateau which becomes covered with flowers at the end of the rainy season. There are also fine examples of prehistoric cave paintings in the area.

Related article/blog/websites:

1. Sakon Nakhon- live,
2. Nong Han,
3. Sakon Nakhon (province),

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