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Chilli Khon Kaen: a night in Thailand’s hot northeast

This is my first trip to Khon Kaen, the commercial hub of Thailand’s north-east Isan region. And it hopefully won't be my last, as during my short stay I've already seen enough to warrant further visits.


While most tourists to Thailand head to Phuket, Bangkok, or if they travel north, to Chang Mai, a far lesser number get to Khon Kaen.


But it's not because there isn't anything to see or do whilst here - far from it.


At the centre of Khon Kaen lies Kaen Nakorn Lake, a magnet for social activity in the city, whether it is for biking, boating or even just walking.


Working your way outwards from here, there is the Phra Mahathat Kaen Nakorn, a nine-storey royal Thai temple, the vibrant Khon Kaen Night Market, and amazing places of worship like the City Pillar Shrine. 


For accommodation, I’m staying at the new Centara Hotel and Convention Centre Khon Kaen.


Employing a design which combines traditional Isan (the region in which Khon Kaen lies) architecture and modern facilities, the Centara offers 196 rooms and suites, nine wining and dining venues (its Ju Fang Restaurant is particularly good) and a beautiful swimming pool, as well as a fully equipped fitness centre, SPA Cenvaree and over 4,000 square metres of meeting space.


Just 10 minutes away from the resort, is the Supanniga Home Boutique Hideaway. If you only have one night in Khon Kaen, you must go here.


This unique venue serves delicious, and most importantly, authentic, eastern Thai cuisine in a marvelous setting amongst a canopy of trees and waterways.


In the evening, it looks absolutely stunning. And although I don't get to see any of it's six rooms, I can certainly vouch for the food, which is served with the restaurant’s fine selection of wines.


Khon Kaen may not be at the top of most visitors’ lists of places to see in Thailand. But in a country as popular with tourists as Thailand is, that is perhaps why you need to get there now.


Thai Airways operates three daily flights between Khon Kaen and Bangkok. The flight time is around 40 minutes.


Traveltalk is a guest of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB). 


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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 10 September 2014

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