Firstly, be aware that there is Udon Thani, often shortened to Udon, which should not be confused with Ubon, which is slightly to the south west. Udon Thani is located in the middle of the Khorat Plateau and was thus strategically important to the Americans during the Vietnam War. This massive Thai city was used as a U.S base during the Vietnam War and sprung to life and action during this time. After the war, Udon Thani settled into relative obscurity, becoming a commercial force to be reckoned with and a gateway of trade and industry.
The massive tourism boost was given to the city after the new bridge to Laos was opened up and also by the discovery of ancient pottery pots containing 5000 year old human remains, during the Bian Chiang dig. Some of these relics have been preserved and the area was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Udon Thani Province is also a religious destination for the people of Thailand. In Phra Putthabat Bua Bok, a footprint of the Holy Lord Buddha was found, along with other images held sacred by his followers. There are many ancient caves and temples in this area known for their giant pagodas and beautiful art depicting Buddha.
Another strange thing in Udon Thani is the sunshine perfume that is produced there. The perfume is made from a special cross breed of orchids, and is the only perfume in the world that uses orchids as the raw material. These special breeds of orchid flowers which grow all year round were developed by Mr. Pradit Kham-Phoemphun. This same Mr. Pradit Kham-Phoemphun has also developed the dancing plant organic herbal tea. This plant is unique because it responds to sound and music, and some say even thought! The antioxidant levers are said to be uniquely high.
Besides the bizarre mentioned above, Udon Thani is an industrial city, and the transportation centre for the north east of Thailand. It does not hold much in the way of attraction for a traveller seeking beauty and serenity, but is certainly the place to start your journey – no matter which direction you are headed in. If you do find yourself spending a day or two with the locals in Udon Thani, be sure to visit the Nong Prajack Park where you can join the locals in some night aerobics. You can also feed the fish, and see what's for sale at the night markets near the train station. Why not take little detour and check out the dancing plants?
Like all of Thailand, the weather varies from hot to wet and a winter as the rest of the world knows it, does not really exist. Festivals are celebrated in this commercial centre as vibrantly as they are in any part of Thailand with Songkran (Thai New Year) being extra special! The foods available in the city are varied, the people friendly and the gateway to the rest of Thailand is before you!