Ubon Ratchanthani Airport Mini Guide
Formerly An Airforce Base in the Vietnam War
Muang Ubon airport, close to the city of the same name, was used in the Vietnam war as an airforce base and is still an active base for the Royal Thai Air Force. It is also a civilian airport currently handling 3 flights daily from Bangkok
. Ubon Ratchathani is in the east of Thailand, close to the border with Laos and is more commonly known as Ubon, not to be confused with Udon which is further north but also close to the border with Laos.
A Short History of Ubon
Originally Ubon was part of the Khymer (Cambodian) empire until it was seized by the Kingdom of Ayutthaya in the 1700's. The present provincial capital was founded in 1792 and named Ubon Ratchathani Srivanalai. During World War II there was a Japanese presence in the area and a Prisoner of War camp used to hold allied soldiers was established at what is now Tung Sri Muang. Many anti-Japanese locals risked their lives to help the soldiers who did not forget their kindness and there has now been a monument erected to remember them publicly. During the Vietnam War the area was saturated with US, British and Australian servicemen and the area prospered as many people from other parts of Thailand flocked to work supporting the military.
The Most Temples in Thailand
It has been said that this area around Ubon has the largest number of temples per head in Thailand, this is entirely believable as there seems to be one almost every block – if you are travelling around the surrounding area you will see a temple for just one or two houses. The high number of temples make Ubon the most logical place to hold the biggest and best Candle Festival which takes place every year on the first full moon in July to mark the beginning of Buddhist Lent.
The Mighty Mekong
There are several waterfalls and natural attractions around Ubon, one is the “two coloured river” this is the confluence of the blue waters of the Mun river and the murky brown of the Mekong and can be found in Khong Jiam district. Or perhaps you'd like to visit Saeng Chan Waterfall, this flows down a cliff and through a hole in the rock to the pool below, it is easily accessible if you hire a car in Ubon and explore the outer area and is a wonderful sight when viewed in the sunlight.
For something a little different, why not take a trip to see the Pha Taem Cave Paintings? These date back 3000 years and can be seen via a hike which gives fantastic views of the Mekong from Highway 2112. Nearby are the Lan Hin Wild Flower Fields, you can visit both for a really great day out which is something you won't see anywhere else.
Ubon is a quiet city in the eastern part of the country. Most visitors come from Bangkok to visit the huge Candle Monument – a candle carved and dedicated now as the symbol of the city. This links well with the July Candle Festival which marks the start of the three month rainy season.
If visiting at this time of year make sure your hire car has good windscreen wipers for it’s so wet the monks stay indoors for the duration. A better festival marks the end of the rainy season with illuminated boats that process along the river.