Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tha Sadej - Royal Embarkation to the Mekong River

Market places and boat landings along the Mekong River have a long tradition, as they allow for commerce and easy exchange of goods between the Mekong bordering countries and provinces. So does the one in the middle of Nong Khai town: "Tha Daan". Tha Daan was the name long known by locals for Nong Khai's riverside market and boat pier. Tha Daan was also the old border check point for immigration and customs, where travelers, traders and visitor could cross the Mekong River between Thailand and Laos. There was a regular ferry service.

In 1968, Their Majesties the King and Queen arrived from Bangkok and visited Nong Khai town to preside over a ceremony for the construction of the Nam Ngum dam and the resulting power supply from Lao PDR to Thailand.

Their Majesties the King and the Queen used the boat landing in Nong Khai's Muang district, to embark on a ferry to cruise on the river to reach the raft pavilion moored in the middle of the Mekong. Since then, local people have referred to the Tha Daan jetty as "Tha Sadej" (Thai: “sadej” means "go", but it is the verb form used only for the Their Majesties the King and the Queen).

Nowadays, the international border check point for immigration and customs has been moved from Tha Sadej to the 5 kilometers further upriver located Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge. Tourists wishing to visit Laos are obliged to use the Friendship bridge check point only.
However, Tha Sadej still serves as a convenient area for local merchants and traders to cross between Thailand and Laos. The market known as Tha Sadej is also known as Tha Sadej Indochina market, where duty & tax - free goods from China, Vietnam and Laos can be found. The products on sell include electrical goods, chinaware, ceramics, silk and cotton. Fabrics and food delicacies from Nong Khai province can be found too.

The rich selection and variety of available products at Tha Sadej Indochina market make it a famous and popular shopping area for tourists and locals visiting Nong Khai town.

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