Historical evidence points to the city having been established during the Rattanakosin period in 1793. Thao Somphamit and his troops escaped from the left bank of the Mekong River and settled on the banks of the Pao River, which was called "Ban Kaeng Samrong". Then, he sent tribute to King Rama I the Great who later promoted Ban Kaeng Samrong as a city and renamed it "Kalasin" or "Mueang Nam Dam" (a black water town), which later became an important city. "Kala" means "black", "sin" means "water", so Kalasin means "black water". The king also appointed Thao Somphamit as "Phraya Chaisunthon" who became the first ruler of Kalasin.
Kalasin is 519 km from Bangkok. Take the route Bangkok–Saraburi–Korat (Hwy 2) until you reach Ban Phai in Khon Kaen Province. Continue on Hwy 23 and 213 and Hwy 209 (Maha Sarakham-Kalasin).
The Transport Co., Ltd. provides air conditioned and ordinary bus services daily from Bangkok to Kalasin. More details can be obtained at the Northeastern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2), Tel. +66 2 9362841-48, +66 2 9362852-66.
Minivan from in-town Khon Kaen bus station is 80 baht. Takes about 1 hr.
Take the train from Bangkok to Khon Kaen, then catch a bus from Khon Kaen to Kalasin, a distance of 75 km. The State Railway of Thailand has rapid train, express train and air conditioned sprinter train services. For more details, call SRT at Tel. 1690, or +66 2 2204334, +66 2 2204444, Khon Kaen Railway Station, Tel. +66 43 221112.
Visitors can get around Kalasin by rickshaws or tuk-tuks (3-wheeled put-puts).
Phraya Chaisunthon Monument (Chao Somphamit) (อนุสาวรีย์พระยาชัยสุนทร) - The life-sized monument is made from bronze in a standing position with the right hand holding a teapot, and left hand holding a magic sword.
Wat Klang (วัดกลาง) - Within the temple compound there is an ubosot building, which was an extension of the old building. Inside a pavilion or sala near the ubosot is a black Buddha image, made from bronze. In times of drought, the locals would take the Buddha image in a procession to plead for rain.
Wat Si Bun Rueang (วัดศรีบุญเรือง) or Wat Nuea (วัดเหนือ) - The temple stores a number of crafted boundary stones from Fa Daet Song Yang ancient city. One of the most beautiful boundary stones, which are of the Dvaravati art, is the one that depicts flying angels over a prasat or palace represented by double arches, with the king, queen, and their sons at the bottom.
Kalasin Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์ของดีจังหวัดกาฬสินธุ์) - The museum was established by Mr. Chairat Mapraneet, Governor of Kalasin Province, with an aim to show the collections of good things in Kalasin.
Phutthasathan Phu Po (พุทธสถานภูปอ) - The site is where two ancient reclining Buddha images of the Dvaravati period carved on the cliff can be seen. They are the sacred images highly revered by the people of Kalasin and nearby provinces.
Ban Phokhru Plueang Chairatsami (บ้านพ่อครูเปลื้อง ฉายรัศมี) - Khru Plueang Chairatsami was declared a National Artist in 1986 in the field of folk music. He built a farmer's hut to be used as a traditional music school. The hut also displays traditional musical instruments such as "phin" (lute), "khaen" (reed organ), "so" (bowed stringed instrument), and "pong lang" (northeastern-style xylophone).
Mueang Fa Daet Song Yang (เมืองฟ้าแดดสงยาง) - An ancient town surrounded by earthen mounds with a length of about five kilometres. Evidence of its civilization are religious ruins in and around the city, such as a number of sandstone boundary markers with bas-reliefs.
Wat Pho Chai Semaram (วัดโพธิ์ชัยเสมาราม) or Wat Ban Kom (วัดบ้านก้อม) - An old temple with a huge collection of old boundary stones of gigantic sizes. The boundary stones found in Fa Daet Song Yang are different from those discovered in other regions, as they were usually carved telling Jataka stories and the life of the Lord Buddha.
Lam Pao Wildlife Conservation Development and Promotion Station (สถานีพัฒนาและส่งเสริมการอนุรักษ์สัตว์ป่าลำปาว) or Suan Sa-on (สวนสะออน) - An abundant deciduous dipterocarp forest. Inside is an open zoo in which there are indigenous wild animals and also other fauna like gibbons, monkeys, various kinds of domestic and migratory birds, along with nature trails.
Phu Phra Forest Park (วนอุทยานภูพระ) - It features a mountain located near the villages. The plain on the backside of the mountain houses an ancient stone Buddha image. Some of the sites in the forest park include:
- Pha Sawoei (ผาเสวย) - An stone cliff, about 150–200 metres wide.
- Tham Siam Sap (ถ้ำเสียมสับ) - A cliff cave that looks like somebody had dug the cave with a spade.
- Tham Phra Rot (ถ้ำพระรอด) - A cave that occurred due to the separation of a stone cliff. Inside the cave, there is a walkway about 2 metres wide and 30 metres long.
- Pha Hin Yaek (ผาหินแยก) - A separating cliff of 20 metres long and 6 metres deep.
- Tham Phra (ถ้ำพระ) - A cave 30 metres in depth containing a Buddha image that is highly revered by locals. Every year during the Songkran Festival, people ascend to the cave to pour water on the Buddha image to pay respect.
Sirindhorn Museum and Phu Kum Khao Dinosaur Excavation Site (พิพิธภัณฑ์สิรินธร และแหล่งขุดค้นไดโนเสาร์ภูกุ้มข้าว) - More than 700 fossilized bones were found in this excavation attributed to seven dinosaurs. Phu Kum Khao is considered to be the largest and most perfect concentration of dinosaur fossils in Thailand.
Phutthasathan Phu Sing (พุทธสถานภูสิงห์) - A large image in the subdued Mara posture that is 10.5 metres wide and is clearly visible from below. The surrounding area is shady and offers a panoramic view.
Wat Phutthanimit (วัดพุทธนิมิต) and Phu Khao (ภูค่าว) houses a rock relief of an ancient reclining Buddha image leaning on his left side, which is about two metres long and 25 centimetres wide. Every year in April, there is a bathing ceremony to celebrate the Buddha image.
Ban Phon Phrae Wa Silk Weaving Group (กลุ่มทอผ้าไหมแพรวาบ้านโพน) - Phrae Wa silk is a unique style of the Phu Thai ethnic group of Ban Phon. It is divided into two patterns: Lai Lak (principal pattern) and Lai Thaep (striped pattern). Phrae Wa silk is a rare handcrafted textile.
Pha Sawoei (ผาเสวย) - The king and queen visited the cliff and had lunch here, so the place's name was changed to "Pha Sawoei" ("sawoei" is a royal term for eating). As it is located in the deep valley with a high cliff, the locals also called it "Heo Ham Hot".
Namtok Pha Nang Khoi (น้ำตกผานางคอย) - A huge waterfall, cascading down from the Phu Phan mountain range. It is surrounded with abundant thick forest. There is water year-round.
Namtok Tat Thong (น้ำตกตาดทอง) - A huge waterfall with complex stone cliffs.
Phu Thai Nong Hang Handicraft Centre (ศูนย์หัตถกรรมผู้ไทยหนองห้าง) - Some of the beautiful basketry products include "krato", a vegetable container, "kratip", a sticky rice container, handbags, and other containers.
Phu Thai Khok Kong Cultural Village (หมู่บ้านวัฒนธรรมผู้ไทยโคกโก่ง) - A small hillside village inhabited by the Phu Thai ethnic group.
Phu Faek Forest Park (วนอุทยานภูแฝก) and dinosaur footprints (แหล่งรอยเท้าไดโนเสาร์) - In tambon Phu Laen Chang, hilly countryside covered with deciduous dipterocarp forest featuring various kinds of flora. It is easy to spot wild animals such as squirrels, tree shrews, civets and hares. There are four dinosaur footprints that can be seen clearly.
Kalasin Pong Lang, Phrae Wa and Red Cross Fair (งานมหกรรมโปงลาง แพรวา และกาชาด จังหวัดกาฬสินธุ์) - Held annually in February in front of city hall. The festival features a colourful parade of each district decorated with a gigantic-sized "pong lang", a folk vertical xylophone, people dressed in traditional clothes, a cultural competition, and a beauty pageant.
Wichit Phrae Wa Silk Festival (งานมหกรรมวิจิตรแพรวาราชินีแห่งไหม) - Held annually on 12 August at the Rimpao Hotel to honour Queen Sirikit who is a patron of Phrae Wa silk. The queen's support also helps to create employment for local Phu Thai people.
- Red Sun (Dtawan daeng) (ตะวันแดง) (Across from bus station, opposite side from 7-11). 21:00-late. Huge beer hall featuring live music. Scores of tables for 4 persons, no dance floor. Serves beer and food and ear-splitting Thai music by young bands. Looks to be the preferred hangout for Kalasin's twenty-somethings.
- [dead link] Scott's Bar (from front of bus station take the diagonal road in front of you; on the right 20 m, large sign), ☏ . Noon-23:00; closed M. The only farang bar in Kalasin. Large well-kept pool table. Limited menu of bar food. Large beers from 75 baht.
- Phaiboon Place Motel, 125/3-4 Sompamit Rd (city centre; 500 m from bus station).
- Rimpao Hotel, 71/2 Kudyangsamakkee Rd, ☏ . 140 rooms. Huge, very good swimming pool, open to the public for a small fee. Free, decent Wi-Fi. On-premises massage, snooker bar, restaurant, cocktail bar. Best thing about the rooms: hot water at bathroom sink. Worst thing about rooms: no bum gun. From 1,000 baht.
- Supak Hotel, 81/7 Saneha Road (near Namphu roundabout), ☏ . Check-out: noon. Fan room with own bathroom. From 250 baht.