On the motorbike from Mukdahan back to Khon Kaen
We did ride from Khon Kaen to Mukdahan along the Mekong River. After we checked in at River Front Hotel we took a shower and made a small walking tour in Mukdahan. First we did walk along the riverside with the IndoChina Market. As it was weekend it was full with Thai tourists. I actually do not understand the fun of it, because it are all the same things you can buy on many markets and some things even in BigC. And maybe cheaper! For more motorbike trip reports see Motorbike Trip Reports.
After the riverside we walked in direction of the "Tower of Mukdahan". This is a view-point tower with a museum of the local area. Walking along this road we passed "River City Hotel" that at first looks like a brand new (high-rise) hotel. But at a closer look it seems more a newly renovated hotel. A beautiful modern lobby and not so expensive at 750 Thai baht for the standard room (lower building) and 950 Thai baht for the Deluxe room in the higher-rise building. Rooms look OK but it is a bit out of town.
Mukdahan seems a nice little city, busy with all the merchandise with Laos and Vietnam. I liked it and I am sure I will come back soon for a longer visit. In the evening we had dinner in a nice restaurant along the Mekong river. It is about 500 meter south our hotel "Riverfront". It is called "Wine, Wild, Why", unfortunately the wine was already gone and the owner also does not have a clue about the name else as "Why not?". The in Bangkok born owner of the restaurant did change hectic Bangkok for Mukdahan 13 years ago, he speaks good English and drives a 30 years old Volvo with a Toyota Crown engine. The food was good and cheap.
It was a bit weird evening, as there was a lot of wind and an cold wind. Actually I have never seen such a strong wind in Thailand. And never such a cold wind. We looked to each other "Sure it is going to snow tonight". Good we were wearing our motor-jackets although we were walking!
First we did take route #2034 to Dan Tan, about 34 km south of Mukdahan. It was a nice route following the Mekhong River although you do not see much of it. It was still very cool in the morning, again one could even say bloody cold!
At Dan Tan we to a right turn to route #2277 passing "Phu Sa-Dok Bua" national park. And at Lhoeng Nok Tha you are passing route #212 and the road changes in route @2047. At "Wat Prom Pagoda Yasathon" we took a right turn and after 1 km the road changes into route #2136.
Then until Pha Nam Yoi the road is a bit boring straight but after that it becomes a bit more scenic. Here you are also passing the "Phra Maha Chedi Chai Mongkhon" located on an mountain on tour right hand. To get there you have to pass it a few km and the there is an intersection where you take a right turn and follow the road for about 5 km up to the mountain. From here you have a great view over the plateau of Roi Et.
You can go into the chedi and climb up all the stairs to about 4 or 5 levels until you reach "Heaven" (nirvana). Well, after walking all the steps up I felt like dying. After the temple visit we kept on following route #2136 until Phon Tong where we stopped for a snack at the 7/11. So we made a left turn followed route #2046 for 1 km and made a right turn to route #2116 which from there is an almost straight line to Yang Talat where the road changes to route #12. And from there it is again an almost straight line to Khon Kaen.
The all route from Mukdahan until Khon Kaen is almost everywhere good tarmac and save riding, although somewhere near Rong Kham (I think) there was some 5-10 km bad tarmac with many put holes. You always have to be prepared for that in Thailand. Always have a good eye on the road surface as you never know it can suddenly change from a nice smooth road to a road filled with put holes or just a gravel road.