Roi Et is the province located in the middle part of northeast Thailand, and 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 ruling. Since there have been several developments in various aspects continually from the past thus changing it into a strange place where one can hardly trace its original features.
Roi Et is administratively divided into 17 Amphoes and two King Amphoes: Muang Roi Et, Kaset Wisai, Pathum Rat, Chaturaphak Phiman, Thawat Buri, Phanom Phrai, Phon Thong, Selaphum, Suwannaphum, At Samat, Nong Phok, Muang Suang, Pho Chai, Phon Sai, Moeiwadi, Amphoe Si Somdet ,Amphoe Janghan, King Amphoe Chiang Khuan, "king Amphoe Nong Hee and King Amphoe Tungkao Luang. There are partial areas of four Amphoes located in Kula Ronghai Field, they are Suwannaphum, Kaset Wisai, Pathum Rat, Phon Sai. Roi Et occupies an area of 8,299.50 square kilometres.
The history of Muang Roi Et started around late Ayutthaya period, i.e., a king of Laos with his people migrated from Champasak City to settle down in the area which is currently Amphoe Suwannaphum. Later, during the reign of King Taksin of Thon Buri era Muang Roi Et was moved to the present site while Muang Suwannaphum is still located at its original location till now.
In addition to historical evidences, there have been findings of archaeological evidences showing that the area used to be the habitat of pre-historic people. It was also under the influence of ancient Khmer kingdom due to several findings of Khmer style archaeological sites as Ku Phra Kona, Amphoe Suwannaphum; Ku Kasing, Amphoe Kaset Wisai; Prang Ku, Amphoe Thawatchaburi; etc.
Take Hwy 1 (Phahonyothin Rd) from Bangkok, turn onto Hwy 2 (Mittraphap Road) at Saraburi Province heading toward Nakhon Ratchasima, 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.
The main bus station is rather out of town to the west but there are plenty of tuk-tuks,and it will cost 80 baht to get into the city centre. Tuk-tuks are available throughout the city, and are always waiting outside hotels.
Take a samlor ("three wheels") to get around. You will always find samlors near markets, hotels, the bus station and in the city centre. Prices are normally between 20 and 50 baht.
Phalanchai Lake - The lake, situated in the heart of Roi Et township, is regarded the symbol of the province. It features an island amidst a large size lake occupying an approximate area of 200,000 square metres. Being a place of repose, it is decorated with a large flower garden and various species of trees provide ample shade. There are several kinds of fish in the lake and boats for people to row are available. Inside the area:
City Pillar Shrine which is highly revered by Roi Et people.
Large Walking Buddha image located in the garden.
Pedestal in the form of a long-legged bowl containing a constitution book and flower clock.
Phu Phalan Chai featuring an imitation zoo and artificial waterfall.
Health corner where people can come for exercise.
Phalanchai Lake and grounds is now a NO SMOKING area, with a 2,000 baht fine for ignoring this
Roi Et Somdet Phra Srinakharin Park. This is a public park located in the heart of the town in front of the Provincial Administrative Building (Sala Klang). It was opened to the public in 1986 and has an approximate area of 225 rai. The park is decorated with various species of flowers, plants, and various sizes of trees providing shady areas in the park. The outstanding spot of this park is the fountain springing up high in the middle part of the park. The white clock tower located in the heart of the city also gives Roi Et a graceful and beautiful appearance. There is a public library at this tower too and this place is also used for various festivals and entertainments.
Wat Buraphaphiram. This monastery, located in Roi Et municipal area, east of Thanon Phadung Phanich, houses the Thailand's tallest Buddha image in the attitude of blessing, named "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 metres and 20 centimetres. East side of the monastery, adjacent to the ancient city moat, is the construction site of the pavilion housing Chao Pho Maha Sakdanuphab spirit which is highly revered by Roi Et's populace.
Wat Klang Ming Muang. This monastery, located on a knoll in Roi Et township area, is a very old monastery and is presumed that it was built before the foundation of Roi Et while its main shrine hall was built in late-Ayutthaya period. It was used as the place for oath-taking ceremonies in the past. At present, this monastery is utilized as a Buddhism teaching school and as a place where annual examinations on Dharma teaching takes place. There are beautiful and valuable murals concerning the Lord Buddha's biography on the inside walls of main shrine hall.
Wat Sa Thong. This monastery is also located in the township area. It houses Luang Pho Sangkatjai (the Happy Buddha) which is highly respected by Roi Et people. However, it is unknown as to when it was built. In the year 1782, Phraya Khattiya Wongsa (Thao Thon), the first ruler of Roi Et, found this statue and recognized its antiquity and severity. He then directed the image to be enshrined in Wat Sa Thong and upgraded it into the town treasure. In the past, every official was made to attend an annual oath-taking ceremony before the Buddha shrine, declaring his intention to be honest.
Roi Et National Museum. Pleonjit Rd, Naimuang Subdistrict, Muang District, Roi Et Province 45000 Tel. +66 43 514 456. Services: Museum tour and bookshop. 09:00-16:00, W-Su. 30 baht for Thais, 100 baht for foreigners.
Prang Ku or Prasat Nong Ku. A group of stone structures in old Khmer architecture, including the pond circling outside the wall. The structures are in near-perfect condition. Take Hwy 2044 and after 8 km, turn right. Continue for 1 km.
Ban Wai Luen. Where villagers 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. The village is on Hwy 23, around the 145 km post.
Selaphum. Bung Klua. Located in the area of Tambon Muang Phrai, Amphoe Selaphum, about 10 km east of Amphoe Selaphum township. It is a large reservoir occupying an area of 7,500 rai, having white clean sand along the bank. Many tourists visit this lake on holidays.
Phon Thong. Laem Phayom. This cape, being a relaxation spot, is located to the east of Phon Thong Lake which is a large reservoir occupying an approximate area of 1,000,000 square meters. It is located approximately 2 km east of Amphoe Phon Thong Offices (Phon Thong-Nong Phok Rd).
Wat Pha Nam Yoi. A huge, beautiful temple on a small mountain with sweeping views of the surrounding countryside, about 70 km from Roi Et on Hwy 2044 and 2136.
101 Pizza is on the street that circles the lake in the middle of Roi Et. Good Western food, pizza, burgers, etc. Service is great by friendly staff. Owner Joe is from Canada and a fountain of information for the tourist. (Is now owned by Aun and Paul).
Jutamat, Thawa Phiban soi 13 (behind the Valuvan temple), tel. 0844037460. 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.
JJ, Thawa Phiban soi 13 (opposite Rose hotel). The Danish/Thai owners have created a relaxed meeting place for local expats and tourists. Thai and western style food, snooker, satellite TV, music. Open from 16:00 until ?.
The Pizza Company, Nevada Roi-Et (Tesco Lotus Mall), tel. 043-516410 or call 1112. Open Monday-Sunday from 10:00 to 22:00. Over 30 different delicious toppings and a selection of great-tasting cheese blends and inviting appetizers.
Swensen's, Nevada Multiplex Roi-Et (Tesco Lotus Mall), tel. 043-516416 or call 1112. M-Su, 10:00-22:00. Premium ice cream in hundreds of flavours.
"??? Hotel" in Rattakithkaikla, running north from the main Chaeng Sanit Rd towards Phalanchai Lake. From under 200 baht but there is no wifi)(2014)
"Saithip Hotel" on the corner of Suriyadejbamrung and a road not named on Google maps one road south of Suriyadejbamrung Soi 1. This is a very motel style place with a large car park. Rooms are basic and priced from 240 baht (fan), 320 baht (aircon). TV, wifi (a bit on /off). (2014)
"Pectpailin Hotel" on Rob Mueang Soi 1, just outside the 'moat' on the northern side. This mostly motel style establishment has rooms on both sides of this lane. The rooms, all aircon are excellent: each is actually 4 rooms - a large foyer with chairs, main room a 'dressing room' with a door to the back alley and the large bathroom. Free coffee in the large outdoor lobby, free wifi, 400 baht for a king sized double...great value! (2014)
Mai Thai Hotel (โรงแรมไหมไทย), 99 Haisok Rd (400 metres from the city lake, directly north.), ☎ +66 43 511 038. A dated hotel, but is clean with very good service. Breakfast is a buffet (and was cold!)600 baht double includes breakfast. edit
Petcharat Garden Hotel, 404 ถ.คชพลายุกต์ อ.เมือง จ.ร้อยเอ็ด 45000 โทรศัพท์, . Up-market, 148-room hotel near city centre.edit
Roi Et City Hotel, 78 Pheonjit Rd, Tambon Nai-Muang, Amphoe Muang, ☎ +66 4352 0387 (fax: +66 4352 0401), . Modern 6-storey hotel in city centre.1,600-12,000 baht. edit