Khon Kaen is the business center of Northeastern Thailand, a modern city that manages to hang onto long-established customs and traditions. In town you will still see water buffalo moving amongst the traffic and locals going about their daily life with mobiles pressed to their ears, mingling with orange-robed Buddhist monks. If you are interested in experiencing a part of local life, customs and traditions and meeting local people, then give Isaan a try.
On the south side of the city is a large, charming lake, Bung Kaen Nakhon, with an assortment of entertainment on offer. On the Northwest side are paddle boats for rent and at night you will find a lively night market buzzing with activity where you can purchase an assortment of food, clothing and a diverse selection of souvenirs. During the evenings the locals like to visit the lake to take in the cool air or for exercise, you could join in the free outdoor aerobics held around the lake.
Another place suitable for recreation is Ubolrat Dam, 800 meters long and 32 meters high, it is the largest multi-purpose dam in the Northeast. The rock filled structure's reservoir includes a scenic lake that holds over 2,550 million cubic meters of water.
Phu Khlao-Phu Phan Kham National Park features two mountain ranges: Phu Khlao and Phu Phan Kham. Phu Khlao mountain range consists of nine hills, rich in flora and fauna. Deciduous and evergreen forests give plenty of trekking opportunities. Picturesque waterfalls, caves and strangely formed rocks can also be found. Pla Hai Cave and Wat Praphuttabat Phu Khlao, within the park, are marked with prehistoric wall paintings. Various kinds of activities such as jungle trips, lodging at a guesthouse or camping in the forest can be arranged.
Chum Phae Ancient Town is located 80 kms away from Khon Kaen at Ban Na Pho, Amphoe Chum Phae, locally known as Non Muang. Sandstone boulders, antique pots and skeletons of ancient people have been discovered here and imply that the location was inhabited over 600 years ago, traced back to the Lop Buri period.
Phu Wiang Nationl Park stretches over some 75000 acres. Enclosed by surrounding mountains forming a valley, it is rich in flora and fauna and impressive waterfalls. Dinosaur relics have been discovered here and a Buddha image engraved on the face of a steep hill dates from the Dvaravati age.