Sam Phan Bok – สามพันโบก

GPS Coordinates 15.79578° N, 105.39521° E

Sam Phan Bok also known as the Grand Canyon of Thailand. Though I don’t see this myself, no matter how hard I looked. It is however the largest rock reef formation in the Mekong River.

Located in North Eastern Thailand (Isaan), on the banks of the Mekong river.

So impressed with what I saw. The next morning I stayed longer than planned and hired a boat at the village where I stayed over night. The boatman took me to some amazing places I would not have experienced if I just parked and walked around the rocks at the main entrance.

Cost for the boat is 1,000 Baht. 1 up to 4 persons. (Official ticket / receipt given) Life jackets are provided.

The only real accommodation is about 10 km north at Ban Song Khon a lovely village with an amazing setting right on the Mekong. The resort I stayed in is a bit run down. But clean and tidy and comfortable. The staff took me up to the local shop to buy beers and ice for the evening. Gave me a glass, bottle opener and ice bucket. What more could you ask for?

When to go: Sam Phan Bok is a seasonal attraction. During the rainy season, the water levels are high and the holes invisible. Between November and April, the Mekong water levels recede and dry out, revealing the deeper layers. The most popular times are sunset and sunrise. Cool temperatures and the sun glimmers on the stone surfaces as you will see in the pictures I took that early evening.

If you are unfit, don’t like to walk or climb about or get puffed out walking more than 5 or 10 minutes. This is not for you. You don’t have to be super fit, but every day fitness and not scared to climb about and over rocks. Other wise you will see nothing of real interest.

It is a long way just walking from the car park to the holes. Probably 500 metres may be more.

Ubon Ratchathani to Sam Phan Bok: From the city center of Ubon Ratchathani, take Highway 2050 to Pho Sai District for approximately 110 kilometers and walk to Hat Salueng at Ban Song Khon and take a boat trip on the Mekong. The route of the boat trip includes “Pak Bong”, the narrowest point of the Mekong, and Hat Hong, and ends at Sam Phan Bok. However, if the tourists want to see only Sam Phan Bok, they can drive directly there.
At the time. I didn’t realize I was actually staying at the place where the boats leave from. Certainly lucked out by stopping here.


The main entrance
A long walk to the far right where the rocks stick out in to the Mekong

Walk About – Video

Sam Phan Bok – Boat Ride

All very easy. Just by the steps leading to the Mekong.

Buy a ticket at the hut and the boat man goes and get the boat and picks you up at the bottom of the steps

Pak Bong – Narrowest point in the Mekong River
Pak Bong – Narrowest point in the Mekong River

Playing in the water holes – Video

Sam Phan Bok – Boat Trip Video

Well worth a visit.

Once borders reopen. I will take a look from the Laos side.

Try and get here for sunset. Then take the boat ride in the morning.

You can be on your way to the next destination by lunch time.