Chum Phae, 80 kilometers west of Khon Kaen, in the north-east region of Isaan, is a small town with a friendly feel. I stopped here for just an hour on my way to the nearby Bat Cave and actually thought the town would be a pleasant place to spend some time - it would also make a good base for exploring nearby Phu Pha Man National Park, Phu Wiang National Park with it's dinosaur footprints and, further afield, Phu Kradung National Park.
The best thing about the town is a small lake, right in the center, just 2 minutes walk from the main bus station and market area. A few kilometers outside of town lie a range of hills that look great for walking up.
| The hills on the edge of town|
I saw 2 other foreigners while I was there, so you'll certainly be a bit of an object of interest here! There are numerous Thai style restaurants to choose from in the town, as well as one vegetarian restaurant I came across close to the town center - ask for 'kin jay' and you should get directed there.
| The lovely small lake in the center of town|
I found 3 places to stay - The first I saw were hut style places (see picture), a good 10 to 15 minute walk from the town center, for 250 baht or 350 baht nightly. To reach here, if you're arriving from Khon Kaen on Highway 12 (see rough map), turn right at the first major traffic lights, on the outskirts of the town. Head down this road and after about 200 or so meters, you'll see the hotel on your right hand side. I didn't see the inside of the huts.
| The hut style hotel for 250 or 350 baht per night|
The second place I saw was on Boonbarnpradit Road, closer to the town center. Take the next left turn after the first set of traffic lights/crossroads. A few hundred meters down on the right hand side, you'll see a large hotel, with rooms advertised at 150 baht and 250 baht per night. The hotel looked decent enough from the outside but I didn't see the rooms.
| One of the main streets of the town with the ubiquitous 7-11!|
The third place I saw had the best location of the three - right next to the main lake in the town center. The town is small, so don't feel daunted if you arrive by bus - you really should have no trouble finding the lake - and this hotel! The name is Water Side Lodge and there are 21 attractive, cozy rooms here with TV, private bathroom and comfy looking bed. There's free coffee and tea between 6am and 10am. Cost is 350 baht (1 person), 400 baht (2 people). Tel: +66 (0)43 386900
I rode around most parts Chum Phae - however, there might be one or 2 other places to stay that I didn't find.
Hiring a motorbike or car from Khon Kaen is easy enough - the highway isn't very busy like some roads in the country. By bus, head to the 2nd class air-con and 3rd class fan bus station in Khon Kaen (see map) - they'll be cheap buses (less than 100 baht I think) going to Chum Phae frequently throughout the day. The bus is on the route to Loei - you can also get a 4pm first class bus to Loei (stopping at Chum Phae) leaving from the air-con Bus Station
I didn't see any motorbike or car hire places in the town.
| Another picture of the lake in the town center|
Return from Chum Phae to Khon Kaen, Thailand
Return from Chum Phae to Isaan