Nakhon Phanom (นครพนม) is a city in Isaan.
Nakhon Phanom is in the northeastern region of Thailand, approximately 734 km northeast of Bangkok and 378 km southwest of Hanoi, Vietnam. It borders Lao PDR's Khamoun Province, Tha Khaek District. Nakhon Phanom was the site of a US base during the Vietnam War, housing the 56th Air Commando Wing, based at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base. Its mission was search and rescue and interdiction of the Ho Chi Minh Trails in Laos 48 km to the east.
The city has a beautiful landscape, with the Mekong River running adjacent to the city, marking the current border between Thailand and Laos.
The population of Nakhon Phanom is a diverse mix of Thais, Thai-Vietnamese, Thai-Chinese, and perhaps a few Thai-Indians. The main languages spoken are Thai, Isaan, and Vietnamese, Isaan being the most popular of them. The primary culture is Lao, as Isaan was part of Laos until the late 19th century. Ho Chi Minh resided in a small village between the city center and the air base to the west during the late-1920s and early-1930s. A new museum has been constructed there, his home is preserved and is open to the public, and it draws many Vietnamese tourists.
Although a small town, Nakhon Phanom is famous for its centuries-old temples and beautiful landscape. The city has a reserved and traditional Isaan culture. A traveller may well find the residents of the city very hospitable and kind. The surrounding villages have many tribal cultures unique to Isaan and Laos.
Get in 
By plane 
From Laos 
Friendship Bridge III between Thailand and Laos is now open. It is around 10 km north of town and the Thai-Laos International Bus runs between Nakhon Phanom bus station and Tha Khaek from 07:30 to 16:30 daily (approximately every hour). It is not possible to cross the bridge on foot. Note: you need baht for the bus from Nakhon Phanom to Thakhet. Kip or US$ are not accepted. Allow about 1.5 hours for the customs rituals on both side of the bridge. Visa on arrival available on the Laos side.
By train 
By road 
Two of the most common means of getting to Nakhon Phanom from Bangkok are by road in private tour buses or government-operated tour buses. These buses start from the central North and Northeastern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit) in Bangkok. The fare for bus travel ranges from 300 to 850 baht, depending on the type of bus. A more convenient and popular bus is operated by the Transport Authority of Thailand. These VIP air conditioned buses operate under the label 99 or 999. These buses are 24-seaters, with seats as comfortable as seats in the business class of an aeroplane. A toilet is also available inside the bus. The distance between Nakhon Phanom and Bangkok is approximately 740 km. This is about an 11-hour journey. Although it seems long, a bus travelling out of Mo Chit at 19:15 arrives at Nakhon Phanom around 06:30. Buses leaving from Nakhon Phanom to Bangkok at 18:00 arrive at around 05:30.
Get around 
The most convenient ways to get around the city are the famous three wheelers of the northeast, more commonly referred to as "Skylab" There are also buses and vans running to other provinces throughout the day, easily accessible from the central bus terminal or in front of the local market.
Temples are of course the most visited places. Especially the Phra That Phanom Temple at That Phanom Province, 53 km from Nakhon Phanom city centre.
Sightseeing is another common reasons for visit by tourists. Tourists who are looking to stay away from other more crowded and busy tourist locations in the country or just need a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the daily city life often travel to Nakhon Phanom to relax and see the more local and traditional Thai culture and their way of life.
Nowadays with the convenience of a commute between Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, many tourists also travel through Nakhon Phanom and Laos to Vietnam. It is approximately a 5 hour journey to get into Vietnam from Nakhon Phanom. Many local travel agents can arrange group visits to many attractions in Laos and Vietnam. Also with the business in Vietnam growing at ground-breaking pace, many business travellers also travel through Nakhon Phanom into Vietnam for business trips, or to seek and learn about more business opportunities.
Travel to Tha Khaek across the Mekong into central Laos following Rte 12 has recently become popular both for those seeing to visit the new jungle preserves created by the Democratic People's Republic of Laos as well as to visit the famous Ho Chi Minh Trail. Visa entry is now possible on the ferry between the two cities.
- Fire Boats. Communities from the province build large scaffolding out of bamboo, which they put on boats and float down the river in the annual fire boat festival. Tin cans are filled with kerosene and stuffed with rags, then arranged on the scaffolding to form images of temples, the king, dragons, etc. At night the boats float down the Mekong river for the appreciation of spectators. Held one night a year, at the end of Buddhist Lent.
- That Phanom Festival. In February of each year, a festival is hosted in That Phanom to commemorate the rebuilding of the Wat That Phanom. The city draws thousands of Thai and Lao tourists from the surrounding areas, and the generally sleepy town is packed with people, markets, and food stalls. Worth attending if you happen to be in the area.
Nakhon Phanom is famous for its silk fabric and silver ornaments. However, most of the silk pattern and manufacturing is accomplished on handmade looms in the local villages in traditional Lao style, known as Isaan today within Thailand. The silver is manufactured and crafted both within Isaan and Laos.
Nakhon Phanom has some of the best sticky rice and grilled chicken with papaya salad in the country. This local food is most popular among tourists travelling to Nakhon Phanom.
There are several hotels within the city ranging in prices and amenities offered. Among the more popular for travellers are:
- Menamkong Grand View Hotel
- Nakhon Phanom River View Hotel
- Srithep Hotel
- Windsor Hotel