10 Reasons Why We Love Ubon Ratchathani

You have maybe never heard of Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand. It is possible you have read articles about Mekong River or a famous festival that are both here but they were the stars, not this city or province.

Ubon is a star in its own right. It has a long and colored history and its own unique culture and cuisine. When reading travel and tourism articles in magazines or blogs my adopted home is mostly overlooked.  It is definitely a sleeper, not just for tourism but also as a great place to live.

The omission by promoters could just be what makes this a great place to be as a tourist, visitor or resident. There is a charm to Ubon that makes it a quite different experience than Bangkok, Phuket, Samui or Chiang Mai. But you would have to be here to find out for yourself.

Now, I will share with you 10 good reasons to choose Ubon Ratchathani for a short visit as a visitor or tourist or for a long term stay.

1. Accessibility – If you check out a map of Thailand you will Ubon Ratchathani located as far East as you can go and stay in the country. If you go any farther east you will find yourself floating southward in the Mekong and quite possibly end up in the South China Sea.

However, not to worry. There are many ways to get to Ubon despite its GPS coordinates. We are serviced by daily flights to and from Bangkok by 3 different airlines and you can choose Suvarnaphumi or Don Muang.

Trains run several times day and night. The selection includes sleeper, express and budget. Their is a wide choice of bus lines, routes and classes if you prefer coming and going by road.

It is easy to get here.

2. Immigration – One of the issues we need to deal with whether we are an expat living abroad or a tourist is getting and extending a visa. Ye Ole Visa is our virtual lifeline to a continued stay.

The Immigration office that services Ubon Ratchathani is located in Phibun Mangsahan district approximately 40 kilometers east of the city. As long as you have all your ducks in order and don’t make demands or attempt to deceive your dealings with them should go  smoothly.

I have been doing business with them for 10 years. In that time I have never had any major issues. They have always provide good service, support and information.

3. Lifestyle – Many factors influence the way of life in the city and the province. Buddhism, there is a higher density of Thai Buddhist temples here then anywhere else in Thailand. The agricultural economy makes for a hard work mentality but also play and partying. This formula makes for a simple but fun, easy going life.

4. Food – The tagline for Isaan cuisine appears to be, “let nothing go to waste”. Isaan chefs find a way to use everything and make it palatable as well. Along  with the Isaan and Thai dishes you will also find many Vietnamese and Chinese. It is quite an adventure to travel around town in the evening and just find a shop or street vendor and sample their wares. You must try it.

5. People – The people of Ubon Ratchathani are the grassroots of Thailand. Not only do they make their own province go round but you will find them serving you in Bangkok, Phuket, Samui and most heavily traveled tourist spots.

You will find the locals generous and friendly. If you attend any function you will be presented with a lively and memorable experience.

6. Culture – Even if you are familiar with Thai culture what you  experience here is truly distinctive. It is Thai culture but it is also Laotian culture with emphasis on the Lao. The combination is the foundation of the Isaan culture of Ubon.

7. Cost of Living – Whether you are a tourist, visitor or resident you will discover that things are mostly cheaper here. It is true with most things you have on your budget list, accommodations, dining, entertainment, and purchases. This is one of the perks we benefit from here. You can rent a nice furnished house here for less than a small condo in Bangkok.

8. Enough – It is true that compare to your hometown or major cities around the world you might few Ubon as lacking quite a bit. But I have found most of what I need to enjoy a good and comfortable life here. If you really need something that you can’t find you can take care of it with a quick trip to Bangkok. Also with the Internet it is easy to order things from Amazon or other places.

Just a personal note, I have learned that  many things I thought I needed to get by are now not even missed.  So Ubon doesn’t have everything but it has enough.

9. Peace of Mind – With all the joys, excitement and variety in big cities there is also the dark side. You experience overcrowding, noise and air pollution, high prices, crime long long commutes.  It is easy to realize it causes a great deal of stress.

Ubon is not Shangri-la but it does provide quality of life and a high degree of peace of mind. You can get across town in 20 minutes. You can go out at night and feel safe. The residents are mostly local so it is their home, they can help and also offer some local pride.

10. Location – What does the location offer you? Ubon is bordered to the east by Mekong River. Along with its history it creates many visitation worthy sites. The geography in the south also makes for interesting places to visit. You can easily travel to Laos from here through Chong Mek or a short tip up to Mukdahan.

But wait… There’s more… As a bonus I am offering an additional reason We Love Ubon Ratchathani

11. (Bonus)  Candle Festivall – If you only come to Ubon once, or once a year you must come during  the full moon in the month of July. That is the time of the most famous Candle Festival that is held in conjunction with the Buddhist Lent. This is the time to experience the extraordinary craftsmanship of the candle sculpture artisans. You can experience the parade that showcases not only these candles but also the people of Ubon.

Take part in the celebration activities and observe religious and cultural traditions and ceremonies. It is quite a spectacle and certainly worth experiencing at least once in your life.

I hope these 10 11 reasons why we love Ubon has inspired you to add visiting or living in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand to your bucket list.


  1. I am looking for a good friend. I lost contact with Prasert Leela. He lived in Soi Vipak, Pitchitrangsan in Ubon and sometime also in Warin. Last time we met was 1988 or 89 and he was married with 2 children. At that time he was teaching primary school locally. His wife was also a teacher. Maybe somebody can help. Also there was a neighbour called Tukta who was working in a bank some years earlier. Prasert also had a cousin called Wipawee. She was married to a man from Holland called Weiss and used to live in Eindhoven. I am the man from Ireland but live in Hamburg, Germany.

  2. Jim,
    Unsolved mysteries. Wish I could help reunite you with your long lost friend. I have actually helped someone else in a similar situation. In your case I think I might need the help of the mission impossible team. I shared your story with my wife and if we get some clues I will share them with you.

    Maybe someone locally will read your comment and have some helpful information. Ah, Hamburg. I spent one night there long ago.

    Hope thing work out for you on this quest.

  3. hi, i would just like to ask if there are Wireless broadband applicable in Nong Din Dam and Nam Yuen? 🙂 Thanks.


  4. I am not sure. I know it (such as it is) is available most places but with many holes in the coverage. If a sparsely populated area it is most likely not around. But either wireless or lan you still need the cables run to the house or apartment. If you don’t need full time connection there are also connect via mobile phone options.

  5. Thanks for all the useful information.
    Now I stay in Roi-Et city for the third time. I like Isan and went to various provinces, but so far never to Ubon, but from what you wrote convinced me even more to give it a try.

  6. Welcome. Hope you enjoy a visit to Ubon soon.

  7. Hi Darwin

    Just discovered your great blog – very informative. Im planning a trip to this part of Thailand later this year so will make a point of staying in Ubon Ratchathani



  8. Martin – thanks for the comments. I hope you enjoy your Ubon adventure.

  9. Enjoy your site! Maybe I will head for Ubon instead of Chiang Mai in November, 2012, planning to stay 3 to 6 months (perhaps longer) in order to have some extensive dental work done. Thanks again for the useful information!

  10. Carl. Thanks for the comment and welcome to Ubon.

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