People, Markets and crazy thing on wheels in Nong Khai, Thailand

NONG KHAI, Thailand

We have over 50 photos – taken over 3 months – in this post. We’ve come to love the markets in Nong Khai, especially the Saturday Night Market. It’s the one night of the week when this quiet town wakes up and brings all of its residents to the riverside promenade. Having spent so much time here, it has become a social outing for us and an occasion to chat with our neighbors and favorite vendors. We love it.

Nong Khai is also famous for the Tha Sadet Market. It is also called the Indochina Market, due to the availability of goods from neighboring countries such as Laos and Vietnam (as well as China). It has to be one of the most interesting markets in all of South East Asia.

This photo post is a collection of our memories in Nong Khai. These memories comprise mostly of the people we’ve met along the way, the colours of the markets, and the sheer variety of goods (some of them bizarre) that you’ll see on sale. We’re also including some of the strange sights you’ll sometimes see rolling down the town’s streets.

The Saturday Night Market

girl selling t-shirts

   Below: The focal point of the promenade, decorated with colourful lanterns to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

colorful lanternes in nong khai

Below: All kinds of food, including snacks and desserts. Popcorn, cookies, chocolates, cakes…and coloured sweets made of some kind of soybean concoction.

desserts and snacks in nong khai

Thai desserts - market in nong khai

 Below: A section of the promenade and the stalls set up down its length.

promenade, saturday market, nong khai

Below: Musicians.

Musicmen in Nong Khai

Below: These are bowls made out of coconut shells. We’ve already bought 5 from this guy. Just love them…

bowl seller, nong khai

Below: You’ll see lots of babies at the night market. They’re cute but not for sale though.

babies in nong khai, thailand

Below: There’s always a ceremony and entertainment at the Saturday market. This one featured Ladyboys.

ladyboys in nong khai

Below: This girl just decided she’d pose for us. Thais seem to love being photographed.

girl and lanterns, nong khai

Below: Weird t-shirts. I wonder if that guy even knows what it says on his shirt…

T-shirts in Nong Khai

Below: Friendly locals we met.

knifes and stuff, nong khai market

lanterns and a bike, nong khai

Below: This pretty lady sells all kinds of jewelry. She’s one of the friendliest vendors we’ve met.

Ring lady, Nong Khai

Below: Turtle pillows and Transformers.

turtle pillows and transformers, nong khai

Below: Sunset over the Mekong River with the lights of the market on the left.

sunset, saturday market, nong khai

Below: More bowls. So beautiful…we might pick up another before we leave.

coconut bowls, nong khai

Coconut bowls in Nong Khai

Below: Making a huge batch of soup

soup man, nong khai saturday market

Below: You can even find plants for sale.

plant seller, nong khai

Below: This guy sells tuques and key chains.

man selling tuques, nong khai

Below: Squid. We bought one. Not my favorite thing but very popular with locals. We also ate fried crickets and silkworm.


Below: Our friend “Kiteboy”. He’s got 3 of these in his garage and on a windy day you can find him flying them about 500ft above the Mekong.

Kiteboy with Bbqboy


Tha Sadet Market

Open everyday between about 7 am to about 6:30 pm. There is a long covered market (1st photo) that extends almost a kilometer. It branches off in some areas and in other areas it is uncovered. A huge amount of stalls selling just about anything you can imagine.

tha sadet market, nong khai (1)

Below: this ladies sells spices as well as dried fruit and vegetables.

market, nong khai

Below: Monks shopping for Buddhas.

monks shopping for buddhas

Below: And right next to the Buddhas you can find yourself a big penis if you’re in the mood for one…

buddhas and dongs

Below: Candy in colourful packaging.

things for sale in Nong Khai

Below: Buying time.

time for sale in nong khai

Below: Wicker baskets, chimes, wooden spoons and forks…

wicker baskets for sale, Nong Khai

Below: Tuques and a Tuk-tuk

tuques and tu tuks, nong kahi

Below: These are Chinese gourds, used to drink from. Along with wind chimes and disco balls??

chinese gourds, nong khai

Below: Shirts and toys.

t-shirts for sale, Nong Khai week

Below: Musician and his baskets.

music among baskets, nong khai



Sights around Town


flower cart, nong khai

Above: Mobile sales unit selling plastic flowers and mugs

man selling brooms, nong khai

Above: This guy bikes around selling brooms.

hairdresser, nong khai

Above: My hairdresser. She’s kooky, one of our favorite people in Nong Khai.

dogs in tuk tuk, nong khai

Above: I snapped this one last week. It’s one of my favorite photos of all time. The dogs in the back are the street dogs that hang out in front of our building. From left to right: On Guard, Howler, and Sleepy. We’ve thought for 3 months that they were just soi dogs with no owners. Then last week we see the man, a neighbor, with these dogs in the back. “My dogs” he said proudly. The dogs looked so happy to be taken for a drive.


friendly lady next door

Above: This pretty lady always wants to get in a photo. Very friendly.

mobike coffee shop 2, nong khai

mobile coffee shop, nong khai

Above: these are mobile coffee stands, built on the frame of a motorcycle. We couldn’t believe our eyes the first time we saw one driving down the street…

basket seller in Nong Khai, thailand

Above: This man pushes a cart, selling baskets that are piled up high.


We hope you found the above interesting. For us this post represents memories of our (almost) 4 months here. So many people and sights. It’s a place we are going to miss.


Photos of Nong Khai – you’ll see why we love this town…
Visiting Amazing Sala Keoku in Nong Khai




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  1. Love these images! All very beautiful, but my favorite one is the monks shopping for Buddhas.. 🙂 and the man and his dogs, what a colorful vehicle he has. Glad you enjoyed your time there.
    Kemkem recently posted…Simple Pleasures: Our last day in SevilleMy Profile

  2. Love the photos – colors are amazing – the lanterns and jewelry would make great souvenirs if you ever come back – hint, hint lol

  3. Frank, I have enjoyed following your adventures and photos, so much so that our next trip to Thailand will include Nong Khai. A couple of questions, in your opinion what is the best time to visit there, would 2 weeks be enough and which area is best?

    Enjoy the rest of your time.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Hi John,
      Our favorite time is definitely mid-December to mid-February. The weather was cool about 25-28C, down to about 15C at night, with constant blue skies. For us that’s perfect weather. Others might like heat…right now (late March) highs range between 35-40, goes to about 25C at night. But skies constantly hazy so not ideal.

      It’s a small town and if on vacation 3, 4 days will easily do it (make sure to come over a weekend so you don’t miss Saturday nights). In our case we are slow travellers and needed a base – and for that Nong Khai is perfect. We’ve been here about 3 1/2 months and have enjoyed it. But it really depends on how you travel, people on vacation might find Nong Khai too out-of-the-way and short on sights.

      I’m coming out with a detailed guide next week before we leave. You might find it interesting.
      Frank (bbqboy)

  4. Night markets are the best and they all look like wonderful people as well
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  5. Thanks for the photos. Reminded me of many happy days in Nong Khai.
    Booked again at the Pikul for 3 months from November. Or is that Pikun….?
    Best wishes

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Hi Patrick! Actually, it’s Pikul:
      If we were going to go back we would try to find something different, a nicer apartment. Lissette works, so it’s a lot of time in the apartment. And I’d love a little stove or something to cook.
      Other than that it was fine and the price certainly right. But accommodation options (or lack thereof for shorter term travellers) was the one downside to Nong Khai.
      Glad to hear you are going back. Lovely place…and Nov, Dec, Jan good months (it was only in mid Feb that started getting hazy and cloudy..)

      • Frank – I know the apartments are called and spelt Pikul. The point I was making was that if you want to pronounce the word to a tuk tuk driver or to get directions, you will need to say ‘ Pikun’ – which is how theThai people say it. Best wishes Patrick.

  6. Dee (Dee's Butterfly Garden) says:

    The pictures are awesome! I saw a whole bunch of things I would have bought at the market, the tie dyed shirts and I love those bowls! I love the picture of the dogs in that mobile with their owner! I wonder why he doesn’t have them at home instead on front of your building, I guess it’a a Thai thing. Love the photos!!

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks Dee! I think Thais believe in keeping dogs outside, especially with the warm weather. We passed these dogs every day and Lissette was always nervous. But they were well behaved and would usually be sleeping next to this lady who made soup all day long on the street. Thailand a unique place.

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