Khong Chiam

Khong Chiam

Where the Mekong meets the Moon

In a far-flung corner of Ubon Ratchathani province, Khong Chiam sits where the dark-blue water of the Moon River meets the chocolate-milk-coloured Mekong. The scenic town puts you within easy reach of two national parks, including the excellent Pha Taem, and a border crossing into Southern Laos. Nature enthusiasts looking to ease into a rural rhythm will not be let down here.

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Drawing an increasing number of Thai tourists, especially on weekends and holidays, Khong Chiam (also spelt Khong Jiam) remains unknown to most foreign travellers. Those who catch wind of it will find a charming town with attractive old houses, a graceful hilltop chedi and a riverside walkway with views over to Laos’ fluffy green landscape. While minimal English is spoken by the locals, the town has some good-value accommodation and just enough conveniences to ensure that a tent and camping stove aren’t necessary.

Weaving break. : David Luekens.
Weaving break. Photo: David Luekens

The point where the Moon feeds the Mekong is known as mae nam song sii, or “two-colour river”. Sure enough, a fairly sharp contrast is evident from March to June due to the differing sediments and water levels. With the Mekong churning south as Asia’s third longest river, and the Moon holding its own as Thailand’s second longest, the confluence is impressive at any time. A bridge that fords the Moon to the south of town is one of the best places to take in the view.

For many, the Khong Chiam area’s main draw is Pha Taem National Park, headquartered 25 kilometres north of town near the Mekong. Along with a trio of worthwhile waterfalls and a viewpoint where you can take in Thailand’s earliest sunset, the park features striking 3,000-year-old paintings on a vast ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 600 words.)

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