Introducing Ubon Ratchathani
Survive the usual knot of choked access roads and the 'Royal City of the Lotus' will reveal an altogether more attractive face. Racked up against Mae Nam Mun, Thailand's second-longest river, the historic heart of the city has a sluggish character rarely found in the region's big conurbations. There are many temples of interest that will appeal to even those suffering acute temple overload. Few cities in Thailand reward aimless wandering as richly as Ubon.
Ubon grew prosperous as a US air base during the Vietnam War era and is now a financial, educational and agricultural market centre. The nearby Thai–Lao border crossing at Chong Mek generates a small but steady stream of travellers.