Earth : Asia : Southeast Asia : Thailand : Isaan : Loei
Loei Province is 520 kilometres from Bangkok, covering an area of 11,424 square km. It is a boundary province located in the upper northeastern part of Thailand, on the bank of the Mekong River along the Phetchabun mountain range.
The town of Loei is an eco-tourism city surrounded by undulating mountain ranges whose summits are covered by fog and abundant with flora. The best-known mountains are Phu Kradueng, Phu Luang and Phu Ruea.
Loei's temperature is comfortably cool, with beautiful geographical surroundings, as well as unique cultures and traditions. In the cool season it can get decidedly chilly: it is one of the few places in Thailand that ever gets down to zero degrees Celsius.
In the past, it was a small community in a prosperous empire during the same period as the Thai Kingdom of Ayutthaya. Later, the Lan Chang Empire weakened and the community moved to be with Ayutthaya. During the reign of King Rama V of the Rattanakosin Period, the community was upgraded to become Loei Province.
From Bangkok, take Highway 1 or Phahonyothin Road, passing Amphoe Mueang of Saraburi. Turn onto Highway 21, passing Phetchabun. Then, take Highway 203, passing Amphoe Lom Sak, Lom Kao into Loei province at Amphoe Dan Sai, Amphoe Phu Ruea to Amphoe Mueang Loei. It takes approximately 7-8 hours. Otherwise, from Saraburi, take Highway 2, passing Nakhon Ratchasima to Khon Kaen, a total distance of 536 km and turn left into Highway 12, passing Amphoe Chum Phae and take Highway 201 into Loei province through Amphoe Phu Kradueng, Amphoe Wang Saphung and Amphoe Mueang, a total distance of 540 km.
The Transport Co., Ltd. provides daily buses between Bangkok–Loei, both standard and air-conditioned. The trip takes approximately 10 hours. For further information, contact the Bangkok Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2), Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Tel. +66 293 628 418, +66 293 628 5266 [www.transport.co.th]. There are other private bus companies such as Air Mueang Loei Co., Ltd’s Bangkok Office at Tel. 0 2936 0142 or Loei Office at Tel. 0 4283 2042, Chumpae Tour Ltd., Part.’s Bangkok Office at Tel. 0 2936 3842 or Loei Office at Tel. 0 4283 2285, Phet Prasoet Co., Ltd.’s Bangkok Office at Tel. 0 2936 3230, Amphoe Phu Ruea Office at Tel. 0 4289 9386, Amphoe Dan Sai Office at Tel. 0 4289 1908.
Many buses are available from Phitsanulok, which is a particularly convenient starting point for exploring the west of Loei (Dansai, etc).
There are regular buses to Loei from Khon Kaen (buses every 30 mins) and Udon Thani (100 Baht in June 2012, buses depart from the Bus Station No. 2, somewhat inconveniently located outside the main town).
There are 2-3 flights weekly from Bangkok on Nok Air, one of Thailand's domestic discount airlines, as of January 2012. Service has changed from time to time -- if it is not available, the next-nearest airport with commercial flights is Udon Thani with flights to/from Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket using Thai Airways, Nok Air and Air Asia (Thailand). As noted above, there are frequent buses from Udon to Loei.
Songthaews can be used to reach the town from the bus station (10 baht). Tuk-tuks are also available to and around town. Local buses and/or songthaews serve some of the noteworthy sights mentioned below.
Most interesting tourist attractions are sufficiently far away they require public transport or a motorbike to reach them.
There are any number of restaurants within the city, which is easily walkable. Many ethnic Chinese provide a good variety of places to eat, all at good prices.
There are many hotels in Loei from budget to luxury.