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Sakon Nakhon (Thai: สกลนคร) is one of the north-eastern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from north clockwise) Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Kalasin and Udon Thani. The capital is Sakon Nakhon.


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[edit] Etymology

The word Sakon originates from the Sanskrit word sakala (Devanagari: ???) meaning entire, whole, or total, and the word Nakhon from Sanskrit nagara (Devanagari: ???) meaning town or city. Hence the name of the province literally means City of cities.

[edit] Geography

Sakon Nakhon City Gate

The province is located on the Khorat Plateau, not far from the river Mekong. The Nong Han lake - the biggest natural lake of North-East Thailand - near the city Sakon Nakhon is a popular resort of the local people. The Phu Phan Mountains delimit the province to the south.

Phra That Choeng Chum

[edit] Symbols

The provincial seal show the Phrathat Choeng Chum, a Lao-style chedi built during the Ayutthaya period over a Khmer style prang.

The provincial tree is the banaba or Queen's Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia speciosa).

[edit] Administrative divisions

Map of Amphoe

The province is subdivided into 18 districts (Amphoe). The districts are further subdivided into 125 communes (tambon) and 1323 villages (muban).

[edit] Tourism

[edit] Sights

Phra That Cherng Chum (พระธาตุเชิงชุม). It is built to cover footprints of four Buddhas namely Phra Kakusantha, Phra Konakom, Phra Kassapa, and Phra Kodom or Phra Sri Ariyametrei ( The present Lord Buddha). Next to the Phra That is the chapel that houses Luang Por Ong Saen, a sacred Buddha statue of the province.

Nong Harn. (หนองหาร) At the depth between 3-8 metres, the lake facilitates agriculture, livestock farming and fishery of the people around it. There are more than 20 islets in the lake such as Ko Don Sawan, the biggest islet where deserted temple and ancient Buddha images are located.

Somdej Phra Srinagarindra Park. (สวนสมเด็จพระศรีนครินทร์) The park’s compound includes an ancient pond, called Sra Pangthong. The park comprises beautiful flower and tree, jungle area, water park, rock garden, exercising area and 69 metres high fountain.

The 60th anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen Park. (สวนเทิดพระเกียรติ ๖๐ พรรษา มหาราชินี) The park comprises botanical garden, pavilion, fountain, viewpoint and bird sanctuary.

Freshwater Fish Aquarium. (สถานแสดงพันธุ์ปลาน้ำจืด) Located on Sai Sawang Rd., the Freshwater Fishery Station, the aquarium features different species of endemic freshwater fish species in Isan.

Sakon Nakhon Cultural Centre. (ศูนย์วัฒนธรรมจังหวัดสกลนคร) The centre features tools, belongings, history and document of different ethnic group.

Phra That Dum. (พระธาตุดุม) The lone Stupa is built with lateriste in the same period as Phra That Narai Jeng Veng, but the stupa is smaller without base. The lintel featuring God Vishnu in reclining position is placed on the northern arch. Furthermore, there are carving regarding gods riding different animals over the Rahu.

The museum of Archan Man Purithattha Thera. (พิพิธภัณฑ์บริขารอาจารย์มั่น ภูริทัตตเถระ) The museum house bronze statue of Archan Man Purithatto and the glass box that houses his ash that turns into crystal. The display, including his tools, is placed in marble altar and his history is shown nearby.

Sapan Khom or Sapan Hin. (สะพานขอม หรือสะพานหิน) It is considered as an ancient bridge to link Sakon Nakhon and the countryside as this area once was swamp. The present bridge is make from laterite, replacing the old one that was removed for road construction.

Phra That Narai Jengveng Stupa. (ปราสาทพระธาตุนารายณ์เจงเวง) The lone stupa is built from sandstone on laterite base and carved beautifully. Its lintel feature Lord Krisna killing Lion in Bapuan Khmer art. The Art appears on this stupa is quite similar to many Khmer ruins found in Isan.

Phu Phan Rajanivet Palace. (พระตำหนักภูพานราชนิเวศน์) The palace is the royal residence of His Majesty the King, Her Majesty the Queen and royal family during the mission in Northeast Thailand.

Phu Phan National Park. (อุทยานแห่งชาติภูพาน) The park features limestone mountain and different forest such as deciduous dipterocarp forest, jungle rain forest, or mixed deciduous forest. Wildlife found in the park include langur, civet, and slow loris.

Historical attractions:

Phra That Phu Pek. พระธาตุภูเพ็ก Ancient Khmer Ruins was built from standstone, standing on laterite base.

Tham Seree Thai. ถ้ำเสรีไทย During WWII, Seree Thai has used this cave for arm and food storage as it is well camouflage by lush vegetable.

Natural attractions:

Phu Phan Mountain Range เทือกเขาภูพาน The famous range is quite well known, however, handful of people can actually reach it natural beauty, particularly at the border of Sakon Nakhon and Kalasin.

Namtok Kham Hom and Kong Ping Ngu.น้ำตกคำหอม และ โค้งปิ้งงู Entrance to Namtok Kham Hom is very winding like the grilled snake, or Kong Ping Ngu in Thai. On the road side, there is the country’s biggest road mark, decorated around with beautiful flower.

Pha Nang Mern and Lan Sao E. ผานางเมิน และลานสาวเอ้ It is quite a nice place for camping and watch sunset view. Below the cliff, there is a track leading to Lan Sao E, literary means the place for the lady to show beautiful attire.

Pha Savoey. ผาเสวย Situated in Kalasin, the cliff heading south is the place once His Majesty the King and visited and had lunch.

Namtok Huay Yai. น้ำตกห้วยใหญ่ The falls are 12 km from the park’s headquarter. It cascades via several steps amidst dense jungle.

Namtok Preecha Sooksan. น้ำตกปรีชาสุขสันต์ The 12 metres wide falls cascade through mountain foot, some part looked like slider.

Stone Arch (Thang Pi Pan) สะพานหินธรรมชาติ (ทางผีผ่าน) The stone arch, 1.5 metres wide and 8 metres long, bridges two groups of rock together. So, its beneath becomes a wonderful shelter.

Phu Thai Ethnic group at Ban None Hom, (ชาวภูไท บ้านโนนหอม) has immigrated from the left side of Mekong River to settle down here since over a century ago.

The three thousands years old cliff carving at Phu Pha Yon. (ภาพรอยสลักผาสามพันปีที่ภูผายล) Phu Pha Yon, the mountain in the compound of meditation centre houses cliff carving featuring lifestyle of Thai people in the pre-historical period. The cliff carving was created by using solid tool to mark the cliff wall in the shapes of animals, people and farm.

Phra That Phu Pek. (พระธาตุภูเพ็ก) Phra That Phu Pek is believed to be built in the 11th century to serves as Hindu temple. It was adapted to serve Buddhism later.

Wat Tham Kham or Phu Kham. (วัดถ้ำขาม หรือ ภูขาม) The temple once was meditation place of Archan Fan Archaro. The temple also houses ashes of Phra Archan Tet Tetrangsi which pilgrims always come to pay homage to.

Archan Fan Archaro Museum. (พิพิธภัณฑ์อาจารย์ฝั้น อาจาโร) The museum, in the shape of pagoda and three folds of lotus, houses life-size of Archan Fan is sitting posture with stick in his hand. The other exhibits include ashes in glass box and tools, as well as his history.

Wat Kham Pramong. (วัดคำประมง) This temple is served as meditation place for Phra Kru Santi Worayan (Luang Pu Sim Buddharo).

Nam Oun Dam. (เขื่อนน้ำอูน) The clay dam, managed by the Royal Irrigation Department, is built to reserve water from Nam Oun, a tributary of Songkram River which is originated from Phu Phan Range.

Prasart Ban Panna. (ปราสาทบ้านพันนา) The khmer ruins has lone stupa with rectangular laterite base and Baray around. It is believed to be built in the same period as Phra That Phu Pek.

Phra That Sri Mongkol. (พระธาตุศรีมงคล) The rectangular pagoda is decorated in modern design and stucco. Its base contain decoration in terra cotta featuring history of Lord Buddha. The modern design is the renovation of the old pagoda which has only laterite core.

Tham Phra Buddha Saiyard (THam Phra Thong or Phu Pha Thong) ถ้ำพระพุทธไสยาสน์ (ถ้ำพระทอง หรือภูผาทอง) The cave is situated at Tambon Kor Kiew, 9 km from Amphoe Warich Phume. Phu Ang Sor. (ภูอ่างศอ) The mountain is in Tambon Kham Bor, 18 km for Amphoe Warich Phume.

Wat Tham Apai Damrong Tham or Wat Tham Phuang and the Museum of Archan Wan Uttamo. (วัดถ้ำอภัยดำรงธรรม หรือวัดถ้ำพวง และพิพิธภัณฑ์อาจารย์วัน อุตตโม) The temple has four-gabled marble pavilion with double roof. Its ground floor features painting regarding history of Archan Wan, the famous monk.

Phu Pha Lek National Park. (อุทยานแห่งชาติภูผาเหล็ก) The park compound acquires part of Phu Phan Range with Phu Ang Sor as its highest peak. Most area is blanketed with deciduous dipterocarp forest, mixed dipterocarp forest, dry evergreen forest, various kinds of bamboo and herbs. Wild hogs, barking deer, mouse deer and various birds are found.

Attractions in the park include:

Pha Suriyan. ผาสุริยันต์ The towering cliff on the top of Phu Pha Lek offers nice view point and sun rise view.

Pha Dong Kor. ผาดงก่อ The cliff is situated on peak of Phu Pha Lek, part of Phu Phan Range. It is special with a huge rock at the cliff edge, almost falling down below.

Pha Nam Joke. ผาน้ำโจ้ก High cliff on the peak of Phu Pha Lek offers view of Huay Huad Reservoir and overview of Udon Thani and Khon Kaen.

Pha Pak Wan Pre-historical Painting. ภาพเขียนก่อนประวัติศาสตร์ผาผักหวาน The 3,600 years old painting is on a big rock at Ban Phu Takham. It features women standing in line and holding each other’s shoulder.

Larn U-sa Sawan. ลานอุษาสวรรค์ The plateau, acquiring 1,550 rais area, is situated on the top of Phu Pha Lek. It comprises forest, mountain, rock and grassland, which looked like man-made garden.

Dinosaur graveyard. สุสานไดโนเสาร์ Lots of fossil are found at mid of Phu Pha Lek Mountain and forest’s edge of Phu Phan. Fossils of plant and petrified wood are also found.

Hor Song Dao หอส่องดาว or the observatory is situated at 700 metre elevation above sea level on Phu Pha Lek’s peak. By panoramic around, it is a good place to observe the star and meteor shower.

Nam Phung Dam. (เขื่อนน้ำพุง) The first rockfill dam in Northeast Thailand is 1,720 metres long and 40 metres high. The dam generates electricity and supply to people in Sakon Nakhon and Nakhon Phanom.

Thai So Cultural Centre. (ศูนย์วัฒนธรรมไทยโส้) The centre features tools of Thai So, an ethnic group that migrated from the left side of Mekong River.

Phu Pha Yon National Park. (อุทยานแห่งชาติภูผายล) It features plateau and sandstone mountain, blanketed by deciduous dipterocarp forest, dry evergreen forest, hill evergreen forest. The trees found in the park include thingar, Lagerstroemia calyculata Kurz, Irvingia malayana. Wildlife found includes barking deer, sambar deer, Asiatic wild dog.

Attractions in the park include:

Huay Huad Reservoir. อ่างเก็บน้ำห้วยหวด It is created by the irrigation dam by the initiative of His Majesty the King. There is a rock in weird shape rock, by the pavilion on the right side of the reservoir.

Namtok Kham Sang. น้ำตกคำน้ำสร้าง With the height of 25 metres, the highest falls in the park. The falls are 1.8 km from the park’s headquarters.

Phu Pha Yon. ภูผายล The mountain has beautiful scenery. Its cliff houses carvings which can be dated back to over 3,000 years ago.

Pha Paya Tao Ngoy. ผาพญาเต่างอย There is rock in “Ngoy Tortoise” shape is going towards Phung Stream. The local believes that tortoise represents fertile land and name the village Ban Tao Ngoy.

Larn Dusita. ลานดุสิตา The vast rock plain turns colourful in late rainy season when various flowers in tiny size are in full bloom.

[edit] Local Products

Ban Kud Na Kham Arts and Crafts Centre. ศูนย์ศิลปาชีพบ้านกุดนาขาม Located in Ban Kud Na Kham, Tambon Charoen Sil, Amphoe Charoen Sil, the centre is production hub of ceramics, wood carving, silk weaving..

Ban Charn Arts and Crafts Centre. ศูนย์ศิลปาชีพบ้านจาร Located at Ban Charn, Tambon Mueng, Amphoe Ban Muang, the centre is production base and training hub for weaving silk and local textile, as well as blacksmith, wood carving.

Ban Pan Mor. บ้านปั้นหม้อ The pottery village Ban Chiang Krua is in Tambon Chiang Krua, Amphoe Muang, 15 km from Sakon Nakhon City via highway 22. The farmers here earn extra by pottery business.

Wha Yai and Ban Don Daeng Weaving Village หมู่บ้านทอผ้าบ้านวาใหญ่ บ้านดอนแดง. Located in Amphoe Arkat Amnuay, the villages are well known for woven cotton, silk and dye in “Khit style” or local style. All textiles are dyed in natural dye.

[edit] Culture

[edit] Festivals

Ruam Nam Jai Tha iSakon Fair and Red Cross Fair. งานรวมน้ำใจไทสกลและงานกาชาด Held at the beginning of each year by the city hall, the fair comprises floats showing cultures and tradition of different ethnic groups in the province such as Phu Thai, So, Yor, Saek, Ka Lerng, Kula, Vietnamese and Chinese. The float parade starts from Ming Muang Field at 2 pm. and go via Sukkasem Rd. to the city hall. The other entertainments include folk culture contest, traditional dinner, and performances on stage.

So Ram Ruk Festival. งานเทศกาลโส้รำลึก The festival to commemorate So ethnic group in held annually on the 4th waxing moon of March at Amphoe Kusumal. Traditional rites conducted by a number of So people will start in late morning.

Boon Mahachart Festival and Boon Bangfai or Rocket Festival, Amphoe Phang Kone. งานบุญมหาชาติและบุญบั้งไฟ อำเภอพังโคน The festivals are held annually in the first week of May. Its activities include local rocket contest, Mahachart Preying, Phang Kone Cuisine Festival, and the contest of local rocket parade.

Wax castle procession. งานประเพณีแห่ปราสาทผึ้ง Held during the 12th-15th day of waxing moon in October to mark the end of Buddhist’s Lent, the festival is an exciting showcase. On the night of 13th day, people will join hands in decorating wax castle at Ming Muang Field. The 14th day, beautiful wax castle from different temples will join the procession, roaming the municipality to Wat Phra That Cherngchum Woravihara. Isan people believe that the wax will welcome Lord Buddha who comes back from the heaven to help all creatures on earth.

Boat race. งานประเพณีแข่งเรือ Held synchronically with the wax castle procession, the ancient boat race will be held at Phang Thong Pond or Tha Nang Arb, Ban Tha Wat.

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