The lazy villages just downstream from Nong Khai and close to Mukdahan can be a welcome breath of fresh air after traipsing around Isaan’s dusty cities. There’s a good selection of welcoming homestays to bed down in, providing an opportunity to unwind and enjoy the slow pace of rural Isaan – and many rent out bikes and motorbikes for local exploration.

Homestay Ban Kham Pia

Off Highway 212 between Bung Kan and Nakhon Phanom, 3km southwest of Bung Khla, on the road running towards Phu Wua Wildlife Reserve t081 3059343, whomestaybkp.moonfruit.com. Close to a reserve that’s packed with wildlife, this German-Thai run homestay offers simple wooden bungalows with a/c and TV. There’s also an outdoor pool to splash about in, and you can rent motorbikes for B200/day. Internet available. Pick-up from Nong Khai can be arranged. B500

Thai House Isaan

Around 60km southwest of Mukdahan, just off Highway 2042 t087 0654635, wthaihouse-isaan.com. Set around an attractive northeastern-style building in a peaceful Phu Thai village, with a handful of a/c bungalows and an apartment that has its own living room and karaoke machine. The owners can arrange tours of the local area, including a day-trip to Dinosaurland at Phuwiang National Park (B900/person, including lunch). Pick-ups available from Khon Kaen. B700

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