Why I Liked Udon Thani So Much
The past two years I've either been living down the depths of Bangkok Nana area, the middle of Ho Chi Minh City, or in the Center of Chiang Mai Tae Phae Gate. What do all of these locations have in common? Tourists! Don't get me wrong I love the tourists centers. Always something going on, interesting people, fights, arguments and action! But tourists can be annoying.
For most people they come and stay at these centers as tourists, giving it a "whirl" then moving on. Somehow I've made a life out of it though, living in a tourist destinations can be great but can also be a curse. The main reason I've spent 8 years of my time in SEA at the tourist destinations is because of proximity to the night life. I lived soi 8 shukumvit in Bangkok, Tae Phae gate in Chiang Mai, Soi 10 Pattaya, Bui Vien in Saigon. All these places are close to the night life, restaurants and debauchery that I enjoy.
I've tried to do what other people have done, and that is move out of the city to a bigger better quieter place but I've found myself always driving back into the city and when you need to do so in the middle of summer it sux ass! With the Chinese invasion and Chiang Mai's backpack craze in full throttle though these past 6 months in the city has been less fun, so my recent trip to Udon got me back on the vibe for doing this blog which lets be honest I've not done much for the past few years. Going to a place where there are no tourists and people treat you just like a local has reinvigorated my love for Thailand.
I loved Udon Thani not because it was Amazing, or because it had "so much to do" really i could care less about that stuff. What I loved about Udon Thani was just the basic shit. Food, People Price, Visa's, & Girls!
1. The food.
I hadn't been back to isaan for years and almost forgot how good the food there is! Although I still think the Khon Khaen has the best Som Tam (just down the road from Udon) Udon Thani has some great Papaya Salad and great spots to eat as well, some pretty good cheap western food as well. I think most Thai's would agree, Isaan food just tastes better.
2. The People.
The downfall of living in a tourist center is all the tourists have made the shopkeepers jaded. When you enter a shop in a tourist area of Thailand you can almost feel the tension in the air. Annoyingly for me who speaks the language I'm reminded how much race has an influence about how i'm dealt with. Udon and much of Isaan to be honest I've found to not have same vibe, it was almost as if people just expected me to speak Thai, no weired beggining conversations just treated me like everyone else, isn't that how it should be?
3. The Price
Udon Thani has a huge expat community dare I say the highest concentration of married expats in Thailand? Without all the tourists, without all the Chinese, the old white guy with a hooker bride stand out like a sore thumb. While Stickman claims that the guy walking around with a hooker is no longer, maybe it's just not visible in the crowd of tourists. The price for almost everything in Udon is cheaper than even Digital Gonad heaven Chiang Mai. The hotels are really cheap I found a decent room with large balcony city view for 360 baht! The beer bars mostly serve 60 baht beers. I'd even admit that with little to do, if you were on a budget and wanted to get down get some work done on the cheap but still have a really fun night out now and then then Udon is a good a choice as any.
4. The Border Run
Have you ever done a visa run? Mostly everyone I know who has lived in Thailand for a while has done a border run. Leaving the country to hit up a consulate outside the country to get another visa. Penang, Singapore, Phnom Phenh, Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, and then there's Vientiane. Can't say I know anyone who enjoyed this city, for a place where you can enjoy any kind of depravity drugs, hookers, ho's, and pimps, brothels for only 600 baht the place is just dead. Bor Ben Yang and @home just seem so weird compared to anything in Thailand. And this is why I like Udon because you can fly in at night party Udon style get the first minibus across the border do the visa at the consulate and only spend one night in this place wake up late, eat a proper good sandwich (probably the only good thing in Vientiane) then head back. My tip here btw is instead of the minibus split a cab 3 ways just more comfortable and convenient. My point here is if you come to Vientiane for a border run I recommend stopping in Udon Thani and spending less time in Vientiane. With Direct flights and VIP buses from Chiang Mai and Bangkok Udon I predict is going to get on the map very soon.
5. The Girls
Ok so Udon chicks are a mix breed of Thai & Laos most are fairly light skinned. You'll find the girls up here a little heavier chested and slightly rounder figure. Mostly I found that the girls in Udon were all super friendly, but more surprisingly I found the girls in Udon to be a lot easier to approach then elsewhere in the country. Udon girls are not known to be beauties like Chiang Mai but my experience is they have more of a sultry look. You guys be the judge here. I used Thai Cupid to find half the girls I met, the other half at the Nightclubs there. I recommend you put in at least a week or two of prep work before coming on Cupid or Thai Friendly. One of the biggest problems my fellow expats and digital gonads face in Chiang Mai is the girl situation. Those folk would not have the same problem in Udon.