Udon Thani’s Nong Prajak Park
Udon Thani’s Nong Prajak Park is one of my favourite places to visit in a city which to be fair, lacks a little in terms of things to do during the day. Udon Thani city snoozes during daylight and passionately dance’s through the night, and in many ways Nong Prajak Park mirrors the municipality in which it sits with a resplendent pomp and pride. Nong Prajak is a sleepy pleasure garden during sunlight hours and an energetic playground when the sun finally settles back down to sleep.
Nong Prajak Park
In days long gone, Nong Prajak was known as Nong Na Klua (salt swamp), but was renamed in honour of Prince Prajak Sillapakhom, the founder of Udon Thani city. The park’s main feature is a huge lake with lush gardens drinking at its water’s edge.
Nong Prajak Park is two to three kilometres from the city centre and its location is ideal for mid morning breakfast at one of many open air cafe’s facing the park. Its neighbourhood is also perfect for dining later in the day in an area which has a number of quality and not too expensive restaurants.
The park has a running and cycle track which are popular with keep fit enthusiasts both early mornings and evenings. The lake is stocked with fish, both coy carp and catfish, which you can feed with breadcrumbs but only if the lake’s ducks don’t win the race to get to you first.
There’s sunshine but no ‘moonshine’ at Nong Prajak by virtue of the park being an alcohol free zone which rewards families, friends and couples with a chance to peacefully stroll and picnic in a tranquil ‘green dream’ freckled with colourful flowers and shimmering water.
A children’s adventure playground lets kids bump, bounce and ride away their pent-up energy whilst parents grab a one-eye-shut 40 winks catnap under the shade of a tree, or simply delight in Nong Prajak’s picturesque views. It’s a lark in the park for kids and a reinvigorating chill pill for their elders.
When daylight stifles another yawn and settles its head on a soft feather pillow to sleep, Nong Prajak starts to tap its feet to the beat of the city’s evening music.
Aerobic classes are a regular evening event at Nong Prajak Park and there is also a mini night market whose main mix is food stalls and Thai body and foot massage.
The park’s major events centre on Thailand’s main festivals and no such occasion comes bigger than Loy Krathong, the Festival of Lights, which takes place on the night of the 12th lunar calendar full moon in November. Hundreds of Khom Fai (fabric candle lit lanterns) light up the sky, and candle bearing krathongs (a vessel made of banana leaves) are floated on Nong Prajak’s lake in honour of the Goddess of Water.
Loy Krathong at Nong Prajak is loud and colourful with music and food stalls locking horns to wrestle for the attention of thousands of revellers amid the deafening noise of brightly coloured fireworks whistling into the night sky. For many Thai people Loy Krathong is the best of all Thailand’s festivals and Nong Prajak is the perfect setting for it.
If you are planning a trip to Udon Thani then I can recommend Nong Prajak Park as a very worthwhile place to visit. Below are more photographs from Nong Prajak Park and the delightful breakfast cafe’s opposite.
A big thank you goes out to Udonmap.com forum members who provided me with some valuable information for this post. Thank you very much.