Mukdahan is a small province on the outskirts of Thailand, bordering Laos with only a narrow stretch of the Mekong River sitting between them. Still unpopular with tourists, most foreign visitors are only passing through on a ‘visa run’ to Savannakhet in Laos.
Activities in Mukdahan are limited to primarily temples and markets, but like most other towns along the Mekong, there’s some charm. Make sure to rent a bicycle and cycle the path running along the river – beautiful and relaxing in the morning and evenings.
- Anyone passing through to Laos on a visa run
- Travelers who enjoy towns almost totally absent of tourism
- Travelers looking for the ‘real Thailand’
By bus – It is common to get a bus from Bangkok to Mukdahan. You can catch a VIP bus from Mo Chit which will take about 12 hours. This will usually be done overnight, running at different times from 5pm until 8:30pm. There is also one available at 8:30 in the morning.
These buses cost between 500 and 750 baht. You can take a tuk-tuk or a songtaew into town when you arrive at the bus terminal.
By plane – Mukdahan doesn’t have its own airport, so if you want to fly, you will need a flight to Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Phanom or Sakhon Nakhon and connect via bus. Some airlines offer a ‘fly and ride’ service which is simply a combined flight and bus ticket.
By train – There is no train line passing Mukdahan.
Where to stay
The town center is the most convenient place to stay with the most hotels.
We stayed at Hop Inn because it was budget friendly, clean and a short drive to the river and other attractions.
We find our accommodation on Booking.com by first searching for the town or province and our dates, we then filter out any rooms with a score lower than 7 or 8 (depending on availability) as well as any rooms out of our budget. After this, we open the map and hover over all of the pins in the rough location we already decided we want to stay in. Hovering over the pins gives us the price for x nights plus the review score. We click on each pin to open those hotels in a new tab, review them and book our favorite.
Bicycle – The town is fairly small and can be explored by bicycle. You can rent from Nikorn Bike, find a hotel with bicycles available, or ask your receptionist if they know any rental shops.
Motorbike/car – There are no rental shops hanging on the roadside like there are in destinations more popular with tourists. The most convenient way to rent a car is on arrival at an airport, but since Mukdahan doesn’t have one you’re most likely to get a rental by asking your hotel reception for a contact (they will usually arrange it for you if you can’t speak Thai).
Taxi/tuk-tuk – There are taxis available but you may need to ask your hotel to arrange one for you if you’re a little outside of town.
Songtaew/tuk-tuks – There are two different colored songtaews available in Mukdahan, yellow and blue. Yellow songthaew loop the town for 10 baht )including a stop at the bus terminal) Mukdahan Tower. Blue songteaw head south towards the Mukdahan Tower. Hop on and see where you end up.
Nightlife in Mukdahan is mostly limited to the weekends. There’s always a bar open with beer on sale but for a lively atmosphere, you’ll need to join other locals on Friday and Saturday night. We were there on a Monday night and couldn’t really find any nightlife open.
There is a Tawandang, a popular Thai nightclub which will be more lively after midnight.
Fitness & gym
BLOC OF FIT is our choice for a gym in Mukdahan. Downstairs is an air conditioned gym with modern equipment whilst upstairs is a coffee shop / restaurant. The price for the gym was 100 baht. More expensive than most gyms in Issan but worth the price in our opinion.
After Mukdahan you have a few choices for your next destination. Our recommendation is to head to Nakhon Phanom province – an interesting, friendly town with an airport, good activities and good onward travel options, including Udon Thani and Buang Khan.