These pics are from a recent road trip to Ubon Ratchathani.
Ubon is way up near the Thai/Laos border and is quite a drive from Bangkok.
There are two types of Thai cities—ones with a significant Expat community and those that are largely Expat free.
Udonthani is an example of a city with a significant Expat community–one that is large enough to support farang-centric and farang only businesses. Udonthani has its own little farang nightlife street and there is a universe of farang owned and patronized bars and restaurants.
When a city’s expat contingent crosses this crucial threshold, it changes the whole feel and vibe of the place and not necessarily for the better.
Ubon Ratchathani is largely Expat free. There is no farang nightlife district and no major Expat hangouts. You see occasional white faces on the street but they are few and far between. Businesses service a Thai clientele with an occasional visit by Big Whitey but aren’t in anyway set up to service foreigners.
My personal preference is hanging out in the Expat free cities—more sanuk, the people and women you run into are more genuine, and you avoid most tourist oriented scamming.
The drive from Bangkok to Ubon is not that exciting and rather long—mostly straight 4 lane highway most of the way and then choking down to a 2-lane road with a lot of slow truck traffic that has to be passed to make decent time the last couple of hundred kilometers.
At one point there was a massive thunderstorm which is always cool to drive through. Its a cool feeling sitting cocooned inside your vehicle, the rain pounding on the windshield, the wipers working furiously and unsuccessfully, with visibility reduced to a handful of meters, with some good music rocking on the stereo, halfway around the world crawling along in the middle of nowhere heading to no place in particular. Zen baby!
These are pics out the front windshield right, on the outskirts of Udon, right before the deluge—looks like scene from a sci-fi movie where you are driving into the apocalypse.
We stayed at the Bua Boutique Hotel right near the town center.
The renovated rooms are 500 THB per night.
There is Wi-Fi only in the lobby.
The Bua is a standard Thai hotel with a nice bed, wood floors, all in one bathroom, and a staff that tries to satisfy.
Classier than the Tokyo and Khrung Villa.