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Khon Kaen


"I came to Khon Kaen for, first and foremost, a visa for Laos.  I left with that visa and a whole lot of memories."  Doug Knell, Doug's Republic


It was the end of October 2005 when I first arrived in Khon Kaen.   I was on my way to Laos for the first time.   As of this writing, you can show up at the border with Laos and get a 30-day visa on arrival for USD 35.  Back then, showing up at the border only entitled you to 15 days.  To get a 30 day stay, one needed to procure a Laos visa in advance, and Khon Kaen, home to a Lao consulate, was the only place to get one between Bangkok and Vientiane.

It's easy to make slimy connections in Khon Kaen

It only took minutes to get my visa.  What to do then? 

Stay and enjoy all that Khon Kaen had to offer! 

So what does Khon Kaen have to offer?   When I first arrived, I went to a silk shop to buy extra supplies.  The silk I bought in nearby Khorat wasn't enough for the partially finished blue silk shirt I was having hand stitched.  I acquired more at a huge silk store in the center of town, and this later constituted the sleeves of my ode to the 70's silk style.

Of all the things people get around to doing when they come to Khon Kaen, a visit to the King Cobra Village ranks at the top of the list.  It's a strange village indeed.  Every house seems to own a king cobra as its own very pet which they keep underneath the house and is more than happy, for a free, to engage in dances, tricks, and various perversions with their little darlings.  

The nearby silk-making Chonabot Silk District is known for its Mudmee silk.  The threads are tie-dyed before stitching.  There, people may have looms positioned just under or beside their homes, ready to weave more silk garments the second the urge hits them.

I recall the nightlife bordering on the lame side.  There were a few Western-style bars, small, clique-ridden.  Khon Kaen straddled that middle ground between having nightlife geared around Thais and a nightlife scene crafted around the foreign dollar.  Generally, it would not be recommended you make an appearance in Khon Kaen strictly for the night activities.  Thinking back on my experience more than five years later, I wished I'd just stayed back in my room and watched a rerun of any television show ever made. 

Khon Kaen is sure to keep you happy for a few days.  Think the matter over in greater detail before you consider a full fledged relocation here though.




 

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