The riverside village of KHONG CHIAM (pronounced Kong Jiem) is a popular destination for day-tripping Thais, who drive here from across Isaan to see the somewhat fancifully named “two-coloured river” for which the village is nationally renowned. Created by the merging of the muddy brown Mun with the muddy brown Mekong at “the easternmost point of Thailand”, the water is hardly an irresistible attraction (come in April to see the colour contrast at its most vivid), but the village itself has plenty of tranquil appeal. If you have your own transport, Khong Chiam combines well with visits to Chong Mek (just 27km away) and Kaeng Tana National Park.
Comprising little more than a collection of wooden houses and a few resorts, Khong Chiam feels like an island, with the Mun defining its southern limit and the Mekong its northern one. A cracked concrete walkway runs several hundred metres along the banks of the Mekong, lined by predictable souvenir stalls and leading to the large sala that’s built right over the confluence and affords uninterrupted views. Behind the sala, Wat Khong Chiam is a typically charming rural Thai temple and has an old wooden bell tower in its compound. Khong Chiam’s other temple, the cliffside Wat Tham Khu Ha Sawan, located near the point where Route 2222 turns into Khong Chiam, is a striking white colour, with natural wood sculptures festooned with orchids in its grounds, and a huge Buddha image staring down on the villagers below.
Trips from Khong Chiam
Trips from Khong Chiam
Khong Chiam doesn’t have many sights, but you can rent motorbikes or bicycles from Apple Guest House and explore the quiet streets around the riverfront, or charter a longtail boat for a trip up the Mekong River to see the Pha Taem cliff-paintings. Otherwise you could charter a songthaew to Pha Taem from Khong Chiam; ask at the bus station.
Even though Laos is just a few hundred metres away from Khong Chiam, on the other bank of the Mekong, foreigners are not supposed to cross the border here, though you may be able to persuade boatmen to take you there and back for B350/boat, with a quick stop at the bankside village of Ban Mai; the official border crossing is further downstream at Chong Mek.