Phu Ruaor “Boat-shaped Mountain”
A favorite activity of visitors is to watch the beautiful sun rise at Pha Lon Noi cliff on Phu Rua at 1,365m above sea level and enjoy the panoramic view of the Hueang and Khong Rivers. Covered with low shrubbery, grasslands and strangely formed rock formation the mountain is rich in orchid species which flower throughout the year in the cool mountain air. Camping and trekking are also popular activities with tourists.
Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary
Discover dinosaurs’ footprints on rock aged more than 120 million years old, trek through pine forests, savanna, plains, dales and stone terraces, feast your eyes on seasonal blossoms such as rhododendrons, wild flowers and wild orchids, and enjoy fantastic views of picturesque cliffs such as Pha Talern. Named after the highest peak Phu Luang which means “Mountain of the King”, the wildlife reserve covers an area of 897 km² where the Loei River originates and is home to many wild animals including elephants. Visitors can join the Phu Luang Nature Study Route organized by the wildlife sanctuary.
Pra That Si Song Rak
The ancient kingdoms of Lan Xang and Ayutthaya enjoyed a strong bond, and faced a common enemy (the Burmese) and in c.1556 King Say Setthathirath of Lan Xang and King Maha Chakkraphat of Ayutthaya decided to build a great temple celebrating a pact between the two kingdoms. Phra That Si Song Rak which means “Stupa of Love from the Two Nations” is a Buddhist stupa built in c. 1560 on the border on the Man River in Dan Sai district. A stone inscription at the stupa reads: The generations to come must not violate and dispossess territory of the other. They must not be greedy or act in a deceitful manner in their interaction until the sun and the moon fall down on this land. Annual offertory rituals and celebrations at Pra That Sri Songrak have been held for centuries on May 15 and is a major Loei attraction.
Wat Neramitrawipattasanaor Neramitra Temple, seen high on a hill just a few kilometers from Pra That Si Song Rak, has an unusual architecture in being built entirelyfrom beautiful dark red laterite. Within the Prayer Hall is seated the reverent Buddha statue ” Pra Buddhachinaraj” amidst wall paintings which are the work of local Dansai artists. Initiated by a Bhuddist monk whose wax figure has been placed in the prayer hall, the temple also has a pagoda and landscaped grounds with the religiously important “Sala” tree associated with the Birth of Lord Buddha.
Relax and unwind at Huay Krating Reservoir, 22 km from Loei. Have lunch on a raft in the middle of the reservoir. There are many restaurants (huts) serving good food on their rafts, the attraction of the place. Traditional Isaan dishes are recommended such as gai yang (grilled marinated chicken), pla pao (grilled fish), som tum (green papaya salads), goong (prawns) and many others but, English is not spoken at all overthere.
Chiang Khan Walking Street
This little corner of Thailand is abundant with greenery, culture, and smiles of the locals. Step into Chiang Khan and smell the scent of the old wooden houses that make up the classic walking street Chai Khong Road, a 3km stretch of road alongside the Mekong River selling local arts and crafts, clothes and of course food. Weekdays are quiet but weekends are flooded with visitors who come here to relax and have a good evening.
Kaeng Kudkoo Boat Ride
This is a spot on the Mekong river just a few kilometers downstream from Chiang Khan where there are islets and reefs, and ridges of rock and sand dotting the river scenery, making an excellent vista for taking photos and for leisure boat rides. The ridges are most exposed in the hot season when water level is lowest and there is only a narrow channel deep enough for boats to navigate. Lazy loungers can relax onshore where a large promenade leads down to the river along which there are countless eating places offering fresh river catches and also many shops selling OTOP goods (one tambon one product).
Phu-Kradung National Park
One of the most famous and most loved national parks of Thailand, Phu Kradung was made a national protected forest in the year 1943 and proclaimed a national parkin 1959, the second after Khao Yai National Park. Located in Amphoe Phu Kraduengof Loei Province, Phu Kradueng National Park, standing 1316 m above sea level at its highest point, features an expansive plateau with the most beautiful and romantic scenery. Exuding its exquisite charm far and wide the mountain draws tens of thousands of people every year who come to make the arduous but memorable and rewarding climb at least once in a life time up this famous mountain.
The Rock Garden
Suan Hin Pa Ngarm, orthe rock garden, is a natural lime stone rock formation of rising columns, hills and mountains, big and small, stretching along green meadows of Nong Hin district of Loei. It is thought that the area, which is older than 225 million years, was once the sea bed. Visitors can tackle the winding paths crisscrossing the rock garden, at times confusing and mysterious as in a maze, at times requiring climbs over rocks and boulders and at times crawling through cave-like structures. Rare trees and ancient plants can also be found.
On Phu Rua at 37 km from Loei town a road sign points to a side road leading to “Ta Li” district on the Thai-Laos border. Along the route, at scenic view points, the “plateau” topography of the land can be seen clearly by the long dive from 700 m above sea level down hundreds of meters to Ta Li. There visitors can cross the Friendship Bridge over to Laos (passports are required) and visit the small border village which sells goods from China such as wine and clothing. The distance from here to the charming and pristine ancient capital town Luang Prabang is about 300 km but the road is reportedly in bad condition.