About Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand

Ubon Ratchathani - The Heart and Soul of Isaan

Overview of Ubon Ratchathani

Ubonratchathani is the easternmost province in Thailand. There is a sign posted on the Mekhong River stating that from this point you can be first in Thailand to view the sunrise.

Ubon is one of seventeen provinces that make up the Northeastern or Isaan Region of Thailand. The people here are the grassroots of the country. The service and agricultural industries thrive because of Isaan.

A province known for its Isarn style food which gets quite spicy even by Thai standards. There are also many local Thai handicrafts here as well as Thai silk.

Isaan has the liveliest music and parties, the spiciest food and the prettiest girls. Isaan and Ubon Ratchathani province a viable alternative to Bangkok with all its troubles lately.

Ubon offers Thailand and it's culture for you who want a break from the beaches and tourist towns. Ubon and the northeast are the real Thailand, head upcountry and give us a visit.

Even though Ubon is 629 kilometers from Bangkok, it is not isolated. You can get here by car, train, bus or plane. So hope to see you here soon.

The Province

The province of Ubon Ratchathani is the largest in land mass in Thailand. It is broken down into 26 Districts and 5 sub-districts. Amnat Charoen and Yasothon provinces border the north while Srisaket province borders to the west. The easstern border is Mekhong River and Laos. To the south Ubon Ratchathani shares a border with Cambodia.

Ubon is a very green province. Most of the territory is covered by agriculural pursuits or forests.

The City

The city, Amphur Muang, also goes by the name of Ubon. It is the Tesabon or municipality. It is also the seat of the provincial government. The governor of Ubon Ratchathani province makes his home here.

Ubon is a mid-sized city but the population is ever expanding. Many people are coming in from the county to find jobs or operate a small business here. The student population might be the largest growth sector. The town has 2 universities. several colleges, a number of technical schools and primary and high schools. There is also a university outside of town south of Warin Chamrap district. The students are in town from the villages to attend school in hopes of improving their future.

This is the transportation access hub for the province. There is an aiport with 3 daily flights to and from Bangkok. It is called Ubon International Airport but now only has domestic flights. There are several trains running to and from Ubon, which include express, sleeper and commute. If you prefer buses you can complete at least one leg of your journey from here. There are buses to Bangkok, Rayong, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Udon Thani and all the neighboring provinces as well as daily buses to and from Pakse, Laos.

The people, culture, language and cuisine are mostly Isaan. You do find groups of ethnic Chines and Vietnamese here too. There is a small but growing population of western expats as well as a small group of Japanese.

Ubon Ratchathani History

The area we now call Ubon was originally, in historical terms, part of the Khmer (Cambodian) Empire. It changed hands when it was seized by the Kingdom of Ayutthaya in the 1700's. .

Laotian refugees fleeing persecution and massacre by King Siriboonsarm of Vientiane founded the present day provincial capital of Ubon in 1792. It was named Ubon Ratchathani Srivanalai.

In 1899 Ubon came under the supervision of what was then Northeaster Monthon. The curent day A. Muang was the administrative hub for the Monthon. Eleven years later the named was changed to Isaan Monthon, which is the reason today, this region is called Isaan. Ubon was named as a province when the Monthon system was abolished.


During WWII there was a Japanese presence in Ubon. At one point the area which is now Tung Sri Muang was a Prisoner of War camp used to hold allied soldiers. Many locals risked death or toture by rendering aide to detainees. The soldiers didn't forget the kindness and paid to have a momument to commemorate the Ubonites for the kindness.

Viet Nam Era

The 60's to mid 70's brought US, British and Australian soldiers and airmen to Ubon. It caused a population explosion as people flocked to Ubon to get jobs supporting the miliary.


I have read that Ubon Ratchathani has the highest per capita density of Thai Buddhist Temples in all of Thailand. Having spent a number of years here and also traveled extensively throught Thailand I find this easy to believe. In town there seems to be a temple every few blocks. If you are traveling to the outlaying districts you will see at least one temple for every clump of houses you pass.

The religious dedication and number of temples made Ubon Ratchathani the logical place to hold the biggest and best Candle Festival which is to celebrate and recognize the beginning of Buddhist Lent. The famous Ubon festival is held each year on the full moon in July.


Even though there are 2 main rivers running through or bordering Ubon Ratchathai there is not a lot of evidence of industry here. The main input comes from agriculture with government being second.

Traveling around the countryside you will see a lot of farms, orchards and livestock. In the towns but mostly in Amphur Muang, which is the provincial capital and seat of goverment, you will see miliary, police, schools and univeristies, medical, irrigation and such.

Tourism here plays a role but it is only minor. If the area was promoted more that percentage of the economy could increase significantly.

Geographical Ubon

Geographically, Ubon is mostly forests and rice fields. There are many national parks and botanical gardens. Here in the are eastern border of Thailand you can be the first in Thailand to see the sunrise over the Mekhong River. Ubon is bordered in the south by Cambodia and to the east by the Mekhong River and Laos.

Ubon is located on the Korat plateau. The ground slopes downward to the east and the Mekhong. Much if north, west, and central Ubon are relatively flat but there are hills and other geographical formations east along the Mekhong and in the south bordering Cambodia. This is Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand.

Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand

The heart and soul of Isaan.

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