Thailand?s fourth largest city is a major northeastern center of silk production and host of an annual silk fair.
Famous for its December silk fairs, Khon Kaen is one of Isan?s most important cities and Thailand?s fourth largest. It is growing fast, with international restaurants and hotels opening all over town.
Fine mudmee silk is the main industry of Chonnabot Village, about 50-km southwest of the city. Tourists can see the whole silk production process, from cocoons to looms: one good workshop to visit is the Local Handicraft Center across from Wat Pho Si Sa-at, open from 9 a.m. ? 6 p.m. every day. Silk is for sale as garments or by the yard/meter both here and in shops throughout Khon Kaen. Rin Thai Silk in Namuang Road, Khon Kaen is a good silk center with affordable prices.
Popular celebrations in Khon Kaen include the ten-day Silk & Pook Siaw (friend tying) Festival in late November/early December, during which you can experience Isan folk music and dancing, parades and local food. During the Thai New Year (Songkran) in April, the people of Khon Kaen ritually bathe the most sacred Buddha statues of their temples. This festival includes khaen pipe music and floats decorated with colorful flowers and garlands.
About an hour?s drive to the southeast of Khon Kaen, Prasat Peuay Noi is a ruined Khmer temple built in the 12th century. The structure and surrounding area contain ornately carved stonework.