Roi Et (ร้อยเอ็ด) is a town in Isaan. Roi Et town is built around a large artificial lake, Bung Phlan Chai, where a large, walking Buddha stands on a small island in its center.
Roi Et is both a city and a province in the mid-northeast Thailand. Established over 200 years ago, it used to be a very large and glorious city named Saket Nakhon having 11 city gates and 11 satellite cities or subordinated communities under its rule. Modern development has replaced the ancient civilization, and it is hard to find traces of the old.
Roi Et occupies an area of about 8,300 km².
Roi Et has many impressive Buddha images and some spectacular festivals, including rocket festivals in several towns across the province in May and June.
Tall Buddha images are popular in Roi Et, including the 68-m-tall walking Buddha at Wat Buraphaphiram. You can climb a staircase to knee-high level.
The recorded history of Muang Roi Et began during the late Ayutthaya period, when a king of Laos and his people migrated from Champasak City to settle down in the area which is now Suwannaphum. Later, during the reign of King Taksin of Thon Buri, Roi Et was moved to its present site. Suwannaphum is still at its original location.
Take Hwy 1 (Phahonyothin Rd) from Bangkok, turn onto Hwy 2 (Mittraphap Rd) at Saraburi Province heading toward Korat, passing Ban Phai district, Maha Sarakham, until reaching Roi Et. The total distance is about 512 km and takes about 7 hours.
From Bangkok's Mo Chit Bus Terminal there are several ordinary and air conditioned buses going to Roi Et. There is also a bus route from Rayong via Pattaya-Nakhon Ratchasima-Buriram-Roi Et to Mukdahan on the Lao border. From Khon Kaen, air-con bus to Roi Et, pink colour.
Take a samlor ("three wheels") to get around. You will find samlors near markets, hotels, the bus station and in the city centre. Prices are normally 20-50 baht.
- Ban Wai Luen (On Hwy 23, around the km145 marker). Villagers here earn their living by making silk cloth under a cooperative set-up for joint marketing. The products from this village have won several awards for their quality.
- Phalanchai Lake. The lake, in the heart of Roi Et township, is regarded the symbol of the province. It features an island in a large lake occupying an approximate area of 200,000 m². It boasts a large flower garden shaded by various species of trees. There are fish in the lake and rowboats are available.
- Inside the area:
- City Pillar Shrine which is highly revered by locals.
- Large Walking Buddha image located in the garden.
- Pedestal in the form of a long legged bowl, containing a constitution book and floral clock.
- Phu Phalan Chai featuring an zoo and artificial waterfall.
- Health corner where people exercise.
- Children's playground.
- 1 Roi Et National Museum, Pleonjit Road, Mueang Roi Et District, ☏ . W-Su 09:00-16:00. Museum tour and bookshop. Thais 30 baht; foreigners 100 baht.
- 2 Roi Et Somdet Phra Srinakharin Park (สวนสมเด็จพระ ศรีนครินทร์ ร้อยเอ็ด), Mueang Roi Et District (in the heart of the town in front of the provincial administrative building (Sala Klang)). A public park of about 225 rai (36 hectares). The park is dotted with floral gardens and shade trees. The centerpiece of the park is the fountain springing up high in the middle of the park. The white clock tower in the center of the park is graceful and beautiful. There is a library for the public at this tower too. It's used for various festivals and entertainment activities of the province.
- Wat Buraphaphiram (E of Phadung Phanich Rd). This monastery houses Thailand's tallest Buddha image in the attitude of blessing, called "Phra Phuttha Ratana Mongkhon Maha Muni". The image is built of reinforced concrete and under its base there are several museum chambers. The height of the statue from the foot to the top of the finial is 59 m 20 cm.
- Wat Klang Ming Muang. This monastery is very old and is presumed to have been built before the foundation of Roi Et. Its main shrine hall was built in the late Ayutthaya period. It was used for oath taking ceremonies in the past. It is now used as a Buddhist school and as a place where annual examinations on Buddhist faith take place. There are beautiful and valuable mural paintings concerning the Lord Buddha's biography on the inside walls of main shrine hall.
- Wat Pha Nam Yoi (about 70 km from Roi Et on Hwy 2044 and 2136). A huge, beautiful temple on a small mountain with sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.
The Monument of Phra Khattiyawongsa (Thon) (อนุสาวรีย์พระขัติยะวงษา (ทน)): Phra Khattiyawongsa (Thon) was appointed the first ruler of Roi Et. He was considered a great ruler who developed the city until Roi Et became one of the most prosperous cities in the region.
Mueang Roi Et Municipality Aquarium (สถานแสดงพันธุ์สัตว์น้ำเทศบาลเมืองร้อยเอ็ด): One of its twin buildings includes an auditorium, lecture room, exhibition room, office, and ticket booth. The next building features an aquarium displaying fresh water fish. The highlight of the exhibition is the underwater tunnel through which one can view the movements of marine animals from any direction.
Wat Sa Thong (วัดสระทอง): The temple houses Luangpho Phra Sangkatchai (Kaccayana), a sacred Buddha image highly revered locals. Phraya Khattiyawongsa (Thon), the first founder of Roi Et, discovered this image.
Prang Ku or Prasat Nong Ku (ปรางค์กู่ หรือ ปราสาทหนองกู่): A complex of buildings with a plan that resembles the Khmer nursing home known as ‘Arogayasala’. It comprises the main prang, a library, wall and entrance pavilions, and a pond outside of the wall. The ruins are in good condition, especially the roof structure of the main prang.
Wat Pa Non Sawan (วัดป่าโนนสวรรค์): A huge temple built from the abbot's omen. It was embellished and decorated with local earthenware, so it looks strikingly eye-catching. The entrance of the multi-tiered chedi represents Hanuman’s mouth.
Bo Phan Khan Rattanasophon (บ่อพันขันรัตนโสภณ): The park was set up to commemorate the 50th anniversary celebrations of the king's accession to the throne. It is also the site of an image of Phra Phuttha Sahatsakhantha Mahamuninat.
Ku Ka Sing (กู่กาสิงห์): A temple with Khmer-style architecture, including three prangs on the same laterite base, and rectangular library buildings in front. All of them are surrounded by a wall, with entrance pavilions known as "gopura" at the four cardinal points. Outside is a U-shaped moat surrounding the wall.
Tung Kula Rong Hai (ทุ่งกุลาร้องไห้): The legend of Thung Kula Ronghai had it that, in ancient times, there were Kula people who travelled around trading. They were known for being strong and tolerant. But when they reached this field, the hardship made even them cry ("ronghai") because there was not a single drop of water or trees in sight.
Ku Phra Kona (กู่พระโกนา): Three east-facing brick prangs lying in the north–south direction, standing on a single sandstone base. They are surrounded by a boundary wall, with entrance pavilions or gopuras in four directions. All are made of sandstone.
Sim Wat Traiphum Khanachan (สิมวัดไตรภูมิคณาจารย์): The architectural structure suggests that it is a traditional small "sim", local dialect for ubosot, of the northeast with a low boundary wall. Sim Wat Traiphum Khanachan was awarded for outstanding architecture by the Association of Siamese Architects.
Sim Wat Chakkrawan Phum Phinit or Wat Nong Muen Than (สิมวัดจักรวาฬภูมิพินิจ หรือ วัดหนองหมื่นถ่าน): It features a small "sim" in traditional northeastern-style. Its gable and "rang phueng" (decoration underneath the lower tie beam) features fine woodcarving with a wooden shingle roof. Outside is decorated with mural paintings.
Literature Botanical Garden (สวนพฤกษศาสตร์วรรณคดี): It is the regional literature botanical garden of the northeast. It covers a total area of about 1,000 rai, featuring plants mentioned in Thai literature.
Tham Pha Nam Thip Non-hunting Area (เขตห้ามล่าสัตว์ป่าถ้ำผาน้ำทิพย์): A steep and complex undulating sandstone mountains with abundant dry evergreen forest, deciduous forest, and deciduous dipterocarp forest. Fauna found in this area include boars, barking deer, foxes, monkeys, squirrels.
Pha Mok Mi Wai (ผาหมอกมิวาย): Inside the Pha Nam Thip Non-hunting Area, it is the best viewpoint and is covered with mist all year round due to its high humidity.
Bun Khao Chi and Pho Chai Products Festival or Bun Duean Sam (งานประเพณีบุญข้าวจี่ของดีเมืองโพธิ์ชัย หรือบุญเดือนสาม): It is held according to Hit Sip Song, the northeastern twelve festivals for the twelve months. The northeasterners believe that by making merit with khao chi or grilled sticky rice, they would gain merit. The festival features a beauty pageant and competition of a giant-sized khao chi cake.
Kin Khao Pun Bun Phawet Festival (งานประเพณีกินข้าวปุ้นบุญผะเหวด): First held in 1991, it has been held annually around early-March every year ever since. The event takes place at the Somdech Phra Srinakarindra Park and Bueng Phalan Chai. Bun Phawet, or known in the central region as Bun Mahachat, is usually held in the 4th lunar month. It is a Buddhist ceremony in which the monks give a sermon of all chapters of the Vessantara Jataka, otherwise called the Great Birth Sermon. There are also 13 parades of Phawet, according to the number of the chapters of the sermon, arranged by various public and private organisations. The area around Bueng Phalan Chai has stalls providing free "khao pun", rice noodles, for participants. There are also contests of traditional arts and culture such as making the "bai si su khwan" tray.
Bun Bangfai Festival (ประเพณีบุญบั้งไฟ) (aka 'The Rocket Festival'): The festival is organised annually around June. Every district organises colourful parades of Bangfai rockets that reflect the folk culture and local traditions of Roi Et Province, especially the parades from Phanom Phrai and Suwannaphum districts will be lavishly decorated.
Candle Festival (ประเพณีแห่เทียนพรรษา): It is held annually on Asalha Puja Day at the Somdech Phra Srinakarindra Park. Each temple decorates their candle floats with colourful flowers, and the parade moves along the road via the market to the cruciform pavilion in the park. There are contests of decorated candles and floats with cultural performances.
Long Boat Races of Tambon Mueang Bua, Kaset Wisai District (งานแข่งขันเรือยาวประเพณี ตำบลเมืองบัว อำเภอเกษตรวิสัย): The event is held annually at the end of the Buddhist Lent, or around mid-October when there is plenty of water in the river. Boats joining the races are from Roi Et and nearby provinces including Kalasin, Maha Sarakham, Si Saket, and Nakhon Ratchasima.
Handicrafts are the province's main product, particularly the Isaan khaen, a kind of panpipe made from wood and reeds. The best ones are made in the small village of Si Kaew.
Phadung Phanit Rd is a good place to buy silk and cotton fabric.
- Jutamat, Thawa Phiban Soi 13 (Behind the Valuvan Temple). A well-known take-away street restaurant in Roi Et. The owners are two Thai ladies, Gai and Pai, and they prepare excellent original Isaan food and they speak English.
- 101 Pizza (On the street that circles the lake in the middle of Roi Et). Good Western food: pizza, burgers. Service is great by friendly staff. Owned by Aun and Paul.
- The Pizza Company (Nevada Roi-Et (Tesco Lotus Mall)), ☏ . Daily 10:00- 22:00. Over 30 different toppings and a selection of cheese blends and appetizers.
- Swensen's (Nevada Multiplex Roi-Et (Tesco Lotus Mall)), ☏ . Daily 10:00-22:00. Premium ice cream in hundreds of flavours.
- 1 Mai Thai Hotel (โรงแรมไหมไทย), 99 Haisok Rd, Mueang Roi Et District (400 meters from the city lake, directly north). A dated hotel, but is clean with very good service. Breakfast is a buffet. 600 baht double includes breakfast. 600 baht.
- 2 One-O-One Hotel (Hotel 101 / โรงแรมวันโอวัน), 319 Moo 16, Tambon Niwet, Amphoe Thawat Buri (take Hwy 2045 (Ratchakarndamnern) southwest from Chaeng Sanit Rd.; the hotel is on the left 550 metres after crossing road 232 (the outer ring road)), ☏ , .
- 3 Petcharat Gardens Hotel, 404 Kolchapalayuk Rd, Tambon Nai Mueang, ☏ . Near city center, Roi Et. The hotel offers 148 rooms with full amenities. Swimming pool, covered parking, 24-hour reception, Wi-Fi, in-room dining, restaurant. 540–1,740 baht.
- 4 The Rice Hotel (โรงแรมร้อยเอ็ด), 6 Moo 11 Roi Et, Kalasin Rd, Tambon Nai Mueang, ☏ , . North of city center close to Petcharat Garden Hotel. The rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV and include a private bath equipped with a shower. Free Wi-Fi is offered in public areas, and free private parking is available on site. There is a 24-hour front desk.
- 5 Rohm Intanin Park Hotel (โรงแรมร่มอินทนินปาร์ค), 69 Roab Muang Rd, Tambon Nai Mueang, ☏ . City center just outside the moat. They have four types of rooms: standard, 450 baht; superior, 550 baht; deluxe, 650 baht; and suite, 1,200 baht, breakfast included. Internet in the lobby. Very clean with air-con. 450–1,200 baht.
- 6 [formerly dead link] Saket Nakorn Hotel (Sagate City Center Hotel), 68–80 Hai Sok Rd.
- 7 Thanintorn Green Park Hotel, 429 Tawapiban Rd, ☏ .
- Saithip Hotel, 95 Suriyadet Bamrung Road, ☏ . Check-out: noon. Fan or air-conditioned double room with own bathroom. Fan 240 baht, air-conditioned 320 baht..
Buses arrive and depart from Roi Et Terminal at Thawa Phiban Rd, Tel. +66 43 511939, +66 43 512546.
- From Roi Et direct routes lead to Maha Sarakham, Kalasin, Yasothon bus (1½ hours, 60 baht) and Surin.