Sakon Nakhon (สกลนคร) is a City in the Isaan (Northeast) region of Thailand , and the Capital of the Province of this name.
Sakon Nakhon is a Buddhist town with five Buddhist stupas. Its history can be dated back for three thousand years. Legend says that Nongharn town, or presently Sakon Nakhon, was built in 11th century when Khmer ruled this region. When the Khmer lost their power, the town was under the rules of Lanxang or Laotian Kingdom. It was renamed “Muang Chiang Mai Nongharn”. When the town was under the Siamese Kingdom, it was renamed again into “Sakon Thavapi”. In 1830, during the reign of King Rama III, it was named “Sakon Nakhon”.
A mix of Thai and Lao is spoken in Sakon Nakhon; however, plain old Central Thai is perfectly acceptable. There are few expats living in the city or foreign visitors so don't expect much in the way of spoken English or English translations beyond road signs. That being said it's advisable to dive head-first into learning the dialect and start mixing it up with the locals.
Sakon Nakhon is in the upper Northeast. It is on the Phu Phan mountain range and has many forest temple retreats for meditation. Sakon Nakhon is 647 kilometers from Bangkok and has an area of 9,605 square kilometers. Sakon Nakhon consists of the following districts: Muang Sakon Nakhon, Waritchaphum, Kutbak, Kusuman, Ban Muang, Phanna Nikhom, Sawang Daen Din, Wanon+ Niwat, Phang Khon, Akat Amnuai, Songdao, Kham Ta Kla, Tao-ngoi, Khok Si Suphan, Nikhom Namun, Charoen Sin, Phon Na Kaeo and Phu Phan.
From Bangkok, take highway 2 to Saraburi and turn right into highway 2, via Nakhon Ratchasima, Amphoe Ban Phai of Khon Kaen to Ban Tha Phra. Get onto highway 23 via Maha Sarakham and Kalasin, then use highway 213 to Sakon Nakhon. (7-9 hours at local speed limits)
- Kalasin 128 km south east
- Nakhon Phanom 93 km north east
- Nongkhai 210 km north west
- Udon Thani 159 km west
Transport Co, and private bus service providers operate daily services from Bangkok to Sakon Nakhon. Buses leave Northeast Bus Terminal (Mor Chit 2) daily.
Buses travel from the old bus terminal at Udon Thani to here for B110 (about 3hours). Buses eastbound to Nakhon Phanom run frequently (1-2 per hour).
The new bus terminal (Bus Terminal 2) is well out of town, and only motorcycle taxis were seen there. As an alternative small clapped-out yellow local buses wheeze frequently into the town centre for B10. Heading out, the same buses return to the bus terminal westbound along the south side of Thanon Sukkasem opposite the Wet Market.
The old bus terminal (Bus Terminal 1) now only serves local routes which are unlikely to be of much interest to visitors.
State Railway of Thailand operates a daily train service from Bangkok to Udon Thani, where tourists can catch a bus to Sakon Nakhon, 159 km away(3-4hours, buses going to nakhon phanom and mukdahan can stop in sakon nakhon). The night train from Bangkok/Khrung Thep usually leaves at 8PM, is supposed to reach Udon Thani around 6AM (more likely 9AM). Fare is around 1000 baht for a soft bed in a 2 bed cabin first class with air con.
Nok Air  operates flights from Bangkok to Sakon Nakhon.
You can get around by bus, tricycle and motored tricycle that available in the city. Fare depends on your negotiation.
There is no real rental shop for tourists, but you can arrange in almost any motorcycle shop or in most guesthouses, a daily rental for around 100-200bahts, or monthly for 1500-2500bahts (prices in 2013)
Wax castle from the Wax Castle Parade
- Wax Castle Parade. Communities from around the Sakon Nakhon province spend a considerable amount of time (and money) constructing large model Buddhist temples out of wax. These impressive models are loaded onto trailers and driven through the city during the annual wax castle parade. It draws quite a large number of Thai tourists, and a few expats as well, but is still relatively unknown to foreign tourists. The parade takes place at the end of Buddhist lent (or ook-pansa in Thai). As Buddhist lent is according to the lunar calendar, it is held in October but not on the same day each year.
- Songkran Festival. Songkran is Thailand's traditional New Years from the 13th to the 15th of April annually. Do not think Songkran is just for the big cities as seemingly the entire town comes out to play for several days of water throwing madness. It is about the best fun you can have in Sakon. Most of the action takes place from the temple Wat Phra That Choeng Chum and several city blocks to the northwest.
- Nong Han lake (Thai หนองหาร). A 32-sq.km. lake in Sakon Nakhon is a popular place of relaxation. Its offshore isles, particularly the Don Sawan, are both beautiful and restful and can be easily reached by hired boats.
Phra That Choeng Chum a major and sacred religious monument of Sakon, is enshrined at Wat Phra That Choeng Chum in town. Of rectangular shape, it is made of mortar and bricks with a height of 24 meters.
- Phra That Narai Cheng Weng another religious structure is located at the Ban That village about five kilometers from town center. It is of Khmer-style pagoda, made of laterite, and 12 meters high.
- Wat Pa Suthawat opposite the Town Hall, is where the paraphernalia and remains of the highly respected late Phra Achan Man Bhuritatto are kept.
- Phu Phan National Park 25 kilometers from the province on Sakon Nakhon-Kalasin route, the park is scattered with limestone mountains, groves, and savannahs with several natural attractions such as Tat Ton Waterfall and Kham Hom waterfall
- Huai Huat Reservoir 35 kilometers from King Amphoe Tao Ngoi, the reservoir is a part of Huai Huat National Park, a consequence of Huai Huat Dam construction. Fronting the reservoir are a royal hall, a flower garden, and a natural arrangement of various forms of rocks.
- Nam Phung Dam at Amphoe Kut Bak is a multipurpose dam. 172 -meter long and 40-meter high, it dams up a huge lake with a surface area of about 6,000 acres.
- Wat Pu Udom Somphon three kilometers off from highway No. 22 at Km. 123, is where another extremely venerated Ajarn used to reside. Visitors pay respect to the life-size statue of Phra Achan Fan Acharo.
- Nam Un Dam 5 kilometers before entering Amphoe Phang Khon on Sakon Nakhon route with a left turn at km. 49 on Phang Khon - Waritchaphum route with a 6.6 km. turn, the huge dam provides a sanctuary for numerous teals. A trip to Mae Un Waterfall and a fishing trip are some examples of various activities at the dam.
- Kut Na Kham Arts & Crafts Center is located at Ban Kut Na Kham, Amphoe Charoen Sin, 112 kilometers from Sakon Nakhon. It is where potter; fabric weaving and wood carving are made by hand with unique designs and production.
- Tedsaban Markets, Corner Thanon Pracha Rat and Thanon Khu Mueang. Located close to Big C and MJ hotel, Tedsaban market is primarily a vegetable market but you can also buy some cheap clothes (Especially of a night time when the market expands to the opposite side of the street.) and other odds-and-ends. It's also a great place to pickup a quick Thai meal in a plastic bag. edit
- Big C Shopping Centre, Corner Thanon Khu Mueang and Thanon Jai Pah Suk. 9AM-10PM 7 days a week. You can pickup your general shopping supplies here. There's also a food court, a MK Restaurant and even a decent Sushi stand. Big C on wikimapia (17.1593666,104.1501975) edit
- Sawitree Coffee, 348/5 Thanon Saereethai (Travel south past the Big C intersection on Jai Pah Suk and then left on Saereethai.), ☎ 0807733090. A cafe restaurant that serves Thai cuisine, Western style hot coffee and Thai style iced coffee as well as an assortment of cakes. Menu is in Thai only, however the female owner speaks fluent English. Open 10am to 10pm. (17.139519104009718,104.15180683135986) edit
- Green Corner, Thanon Rat Phatthana. A modern bakery and restaurant conveniently located opposite the city's main bus terminal. Sells Thai and Western meals. Popular with expats and foreigners also because it's one of the few restaurants that has an English language menu and air-conditioned comfort. edit
- Baijak Coffee & Steak House, ☎ 042747447. 11am to 9pm. You can find this excellent little steak house at the back of the PTT petrol station just outside of town on the highway to Udon Thani. English menus provided. edit
- Sakon Nakhon farmers market, (south west of SN, crossing of road 213(to Kalasin) and rd 223 to Mukdahan). 4PM to 7PM daily. fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, meat, fish, takeaway food, and an amazing range of insects, venison, frogs, birds, snakes, larvae, worms... farmers market on wikimapia (17.139273,104.1112572) edit
- Dog meat, Ban Tha Rae (42km northwest of Sakon Nakhon town, and north of Nong Han lake on the road to Nakhon Phanom). Dog meat is being sold in northern markets to those meat-eaters desperate to taste sour and spicy dog-bone soup or peppery dog meat salad. Gourmets say the meat is particularly succulent and tastes like deer. They order it fried or boiled, or in smoked sausages (difficult to identify the taste behind the spices and the smoke), dog oil made with dog fat is a traditional cure for cicatrization. The thought of eating dog horrifies most Thais and the promotion of canine cuisine is not something the Tourism Authority of Thailand is keen to support. Importantly do note that raising or collecting dogs for consumption is illegal and unregulated. It is a common source of disease transmission from contaminated meat. The dogs are often stolen pets. The conditions in which the dogs are transported and kept is barbaric and inhumane with the animals often tortured for hours in the mistaken belief that the adrenaline thus released enhances the flavour of the meat. edit
- Sakon Steak and Sandwich House, ITU road Located at the entrance to the PLR Apartments. 08:00 - 23:00. Western and Turkish menu with good prices edit
- Phon yang kham, (15km southeast of Sakon Nakhon on R223). noon. Production and distribution of high quality beef cattle meat. affordable restaurant at noon 15km southeast of Sakon Nakhon on R223 between the military camp and non hom Phon-yang-kham-restaurant on wikimapia very good quality/price. (17°4'28,104°12'1) edit
- Welcome Bar, Thanon Tor Phatthana. The local ex-pat bar. edit
- Patchachin, Corner Thanon Prem Prida and Thanon Mankhalai. Thai pub and restaurant. Very popular with younger affluent Thais'. No English language menus. edit
- Soi Jet, Suk Kasem Soi 7. Located in a small ally off Thanon Suk Kasem it's hard to find but serves good quality Thai food. It is another pub popular with younger, affluent Thais looking for a more relaxed night out. Thai-language menu only. edit
- Golden Pond, Thanon Tor Phatthana. A popular discothèque. edit
- BSK Place, ☎ 089 9442 240. Nice people, decent accommodations, free wifi. edit
- Sambaitao Place, 467/5 Sukkasem Road Thatchiengchum, Muang District. Very comfortable accomodations, free wifi. edit
- AP Place Hotel, 525 Ratbamrung Road, ☎ +66 42 970 515. edit
- Baan Esan Country House, Dong Phatthana Soi 1, Phang Khwang (nittayo road from Sakon nakhon to udon, 1st road on the left after rajabhat university), ☎ +66 8 6858 3201 +66 42 743 932 ([email protected]), . Cute traditional northeastern style guesthouse 5 minutes from Sakon Nakhon airport, with a beautiful garden and landscape, jasmine and other fragrant flowers, orchids, pond, english spoken. daily 600-1000, monthly 3500-6000. (17.1909327,104.0855348) edit
- Dusit Hotel, 1784 Yuwa Phatthana, ☎ +66 42 711 198. Rooms with single bed and air-con start at 450 baht, twin beds with air-con are 650 baht.<url="http://www.dusitsakhon.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long=""> edit
- Somkait Hotel, Kamjat Phai road (near Kamjat Phai Road soi 5). Prices start at 250 baht for a room with fan and hot water. edit
- N.H. The Elegant Hotel, 1636/32 Rop Mueang Road, ☎ +66 8 5680 9155, . edit
- M.J. The Majestic Hotel, 399 Thanon Khu Muang Road, ☎ +66 42 733 771. edit
- Imperial Sakon Hotel, 1892 Sukkasem Road, ☎ +66 42 711 119, . edit
- PLR Apartments, Thanon ITU Road (Near Football Stadium), ☎ 042-728245, . checkin: 10:00; checkout: 12:00. All rooms are fully furnished. 26 inch lcd tv water heater cable tv 24 hours security laundry service. Daily rooms 300 baht per day, monthly rooms 3000 baht per month.. edit