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Nakhon Phanom saw some of the most serious fighting between North Vietnamese insurgents and the US forces during the Vietnam War ( or American War as the Vietnamese called it ). During the 1960's, 73 of the 131 sub district ( Tambon ) were said to be infiltrated by the Vietnamese and Lao communists, it was known as the heartland of insurgency. American and Thai forces established a base at Nakhon Phanom where the Thai military hosted the 56th Air Commando Wing which conducted special operations against both the Ho Chi Minh Trails in Laos and carried out counter insurgency operations against Thai Communist forces while conducting search and rescue operations primarily within Laos and North Vietnam.


Nakhon Phanom is in the Northeastern region of Thailand, about 456 miles northeast of Bangkok and 235 miles southwest of Hanoi, Vietnam. It borders LAOS on the Khamoun Province or the Tha Khaek district. Nakhon Phanom was well known during the days of Vietnam war, serving the American Forces of the 56th Air Commando Wing, hosted by Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base. The mission of the American Forces were search and rescue and interdiction of the Ho Chi Minh Trails in Laos 30 miles to the east.


The city has a beautiful landscape, with the Mekong river running adjacent to the city, marking the current border between Thailand and Laos.


The population of Nakhon Phanom is a diverse mix of Thai’s, Thai - Vietnamese, Thai - Chinese, and perhaps a few Thai-Indians. The main languages spoken are Thai, Isaan, and Vietnamese, Isaan being the most popular of them. The primary culture is Lao, as Isaan was part of Laos until the late 19th century. Ho Chi Minh resided in a small village between the city centre and the air base to the west during the late 1920's and early 1930’s. A new museum has been constructed; his home is preserved and is open to the public, which draws many Vietnamese tourist.


Although a small town, Nakhon Phanom is famous for its centuries old temples and beautiful landscape. The city has a reserved and traditional Isaan culture. A traveller may well find the residents of the city very hospitable and kind. The surrounding villages have many tribal cultures unique to Isaan and Laos.


Interesting places to visit in Nakhon Phanom.


Wat Okat Si Bua Ban The temple houses two ancient Buddha statues Phra Tio and Phra Thiam, which are situated together. Phra Tio, 60 cm. high, was carved from Tio wood and later covered with gold plate.