Most tourists will visit Khon Kaen as a stopover on the way between Khorat and Nong Khai. There are few Western tourists here.
English is not widely spoken. It's a modern town with a young population. There are two large Universities in the city. Ton Tann Night Market is definitely worth a visit for the huge selection of food available, and the live entertainment.
It is a expansive city, approx 150,000 people. The development extends along the main road. It continues for approx 15-20 km.
The traffic can be very heavy. City serves the surrounding farming area. It has a large night market/entertainment area. It has some impressive temples.The dam, the dinosaur fossils and museum are long drives out of the city. It is well served by the airport and regular flights from Bangkok. A good place to learn about Isan culture. The big shopping complexes match other major cities.
Grilled meats are absolute must-trys. You really miss out goodness if you skip grill meats in Khon Kaen!
Day time, you can go to the temple, Kaen nakorn Lake to ride a bike and paddle the boat. Night time, you can enjoy evening at restaurents.
Not a highly developed city for the tourist but it has more traditional Thai culture preserved than Bangkok etc.
You feel to be among true Thai people here living their lives unaffected by the influx of tourists. People are quite well off here and the place is busy. Very few bars though, you need to seek them out!
Khon Karen everything is better than Bkk as it is not expensive, I love their nightlife drinking that not expensive than bkk
I had an excellent time in Khon Kaen and would higkly recommend visiting this beautiful city with it's friendly peolple who make you feel very welcome.
There are a couple lakes to visit here, lots of restaurants, and shopping. While I was there, I noticed many things going on at night such as an outdoor movie.
There are many temples to see, and the people are very nice and helpful. I prefer Khon Kaen to Bangkok because it is less busy and crowded.
Nothing much to do and the hotels are generally of poor quality and over priced for what they have to offer.
I felt like the people were friendly it was a bigger city than I expected easy to navigate if you rent a car the food is still esan style if you like Lao and Thai mix.
very pretty city ,night markets are awesome.great to see thai people doing their own stuff rather than bar girls scammers and peddelers.
it was interesting that not all people spoke english and most were busy with their lives and paid me very little attention,great to see real thailand.btw it is not a poor city
Khon Kaen is the big and fancy city. It's never sleep. It has a lot of thing to do suit with everyone from couple, family, friend or event business.
Khonkaen is a center of north east region, there are many places to visit. Not over religious but natural is also interested.
Khon Kaen i feel is one of the nice location in Thailand. i like this city feel relax, friendly people, and also have large shopping center.
I lived there about 1.5 years.Its a nice small city,but in the night the Thai boys like to drink and party.
So sleep if possible daytime.That means if the advertisement pick ups don't keep you awake in the daytime.Better in other cities.Its Isaan,noisy like always.But you can enjoy drinking with the boys,if you drink.I don't.
Strategically important for the Isan region's infrastructure, Khon Kaen Airport was raised to international standards in 2005, with the opening of a new terminal.
However, despite efforts to expand services, as of February, 2014, only two airlines (Thai Airways and Thai Air Asia) use the airport. Thai Airways operate four flights a day to Bangkok (BKK - Suvarnabhumi) with an Airbus, and Air Asia (Thai Air Asia) run a twice daily service to Bangkok (DMK - Don Muang
Friendly People, good shopping, cheaper than Phuket, new water park built on the rd to Udon Thani, but a bit expensive.
There're some old temple that very interesting to visit. Veatnamese food and Isan local food are exellent
Khon Kaen is not one of your tourist areas. It's not overly "English Friendly" in that 90% of the signs do not provide an English translation - makes it difficult to find what you need.
More than other cities, I didn't see the harsh barrier between the rich and the poor...there are both, but they seem to get along better than in many places I've visited - so the people are quite friendly and I see more smiles on the streets than in your heavy tourist areas...there seems to be a bit more life, maybe just a bit more "Thai" if-you-will than most places are today (including Bangkok, etc.). So, overall, it's a nice place, but not without it's challenges - it's great if you have someone to help you...I've faced it both ways, definitely better with help.
like many thai cities k.k. needs to clean up. the place is full of discarded waste, plastic bags and general junk.
even though some improvements seem to have been made regarding street signs it must still rate as the city with the most difficult to find airport.
I mostly spend evenings in pubs and restaurants, and it is nothing like in Europe, I strongly recommend to try that :)
Stay out of town, especially DRIVING on the weekends. The traffic is more-than-the-usual bedlam. At, all costs, avoid Central Plaza.
You may expire before you glimpse a parking spot! Weekdays are a bit more relaxed for shopping. Central Plaza, Big C
We have family there so we are used to Isan people. If you are first time in the Isan you could be surprised by them.
Less manners, less polite, more dangerous in traffic. Not all of them, do not understand me wrong.
Really there is nothing to do or see in this city. I wanted to see the biggest city in Issan but there is no economy here so the town is pretty dead and depressing.
If you like Isan, wou will like Khon Kaen. If you can not stand Thai that are quite impolite, you should better go to other parts of Thailand outside the Isan!
My impression is that KKC is a very busy place. Shopping is well catered for in the Central Plaza which is massive.
Definite advantage to speak at least some Thai if you want to experience non tourist environment. To be fair I spent only 2 nights at 2 different hotels and locations. The locals were much more friendly when I tried to speak Thai. It was a really different city to Chiang Mai (my home) so that is good.
Khon Kaen is changing rapidly to accommodate the ASEAN tourist market when the superhighways and fast trains are in place.
Multinational companies are establishing assembly factories . The University is one of the largest in Thailand. IT is difficult to get around because of poor signage and services are scattered all over the city.
Khon Kaen is a big city and having a car here is desirable almost necessary, since most of the attractions are outside of the city.
Truthfully, Khon Kaen is not a place most tourists go since there is not much to see and the residents, while friendly, have limited English skills. It is almost necessary to be able to speak at least some Thai. They do have at least one excellent hospital - Rachapruek - which I got to experience first hand after a dog bit me. Also, the Dancoon Golf Course - past the Airport - is nice and inexpensive. Special note to guys: the ladies are friendly, but like ladies anywhere in Isarn or Northeast Thailand, if you are a farang (foreigner)and speak Thai to them and show any polite interest, they will soon be hitting you up for $$$ for something. Even if you can speak Thai, it's better to just speak English and you won't be bothered. You have been forewarned...
There's not much to do and see in Khon Kaen, but they have a lot of shopping malls which are interesting to spend your time.
I travelled to the city by train up from Bangkok,arriving in the afternoon with my girlfriend,after checking in we went for a local meal,please don't expect English to be spoken,sign language can be just as powerful,we decided to negotiate a 1 x hour tour of the city in a tuk tuk,he took us aroundd a comparatively small but interesting city