Car Hire from Khon Kaen Airport
The Khon Kaen region of Thailand is situated towards the north west of the country. It’s a far cry from the tourist beaches of the south and the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Hiring a car from Khon Kaen Airport, you’ll be able to explore this beautiful region at your own pace and discover its lakeside towns, incredible national parks and ancient history.
Where to hire a car at Khon Kaen Airport
There are a number of car hire companies operating at Khon Kaen Airport. These include Avis, Hertz, Sixt, Budget and Thai Rent A Car. All car hire offices are located in the airport’s main terminal building, in the arrivals area.
Petrol Stations near Khon Kaen Airport
Drivers who need to return their hire car with a full tank of petrol will find a couple of petrol stations close to the airport. There’s a Caltex garage as you approach on route 12 from the west, about 10 minutes before you reach the airport and just before the intersection with route 230. If you’re approaching from the opposite direction on route 12, you’ll come across a Shell petrol station, again about 10 minutes before you arrive at the airport.
Driving around Khon Kaen Airport
From the airport route 12 heads east towards Khon Kaen. It then joins with route 2 which goes north to Udon Thani and south towards Bangkok. Route 12 west provides a route to Nam Nao and Thung Salaeng Luang national parks as well as Phitsanulok beyond.
You’ll need an International Driving Permit (IDP) in order to drive in Thailand. This is different from your standard international driving license and you’ll need to apply to the RAC or the AA or at a post office to get your permit before travelling.
You’ll need to be on your guard when driving around Thailand. Other drivers don’t always signal before turning or changing lanes, they don’t always pay attention to line demarcations and you’ll often come across parked cars or slow moving carts in the road. However, a more familiar aspect of driving in Thailand is that cars drive on the left hand side of the road, just like they do in the UK.
Getting to your destination
Khon Kaen Airport offers easy car access to a variety of city and countryside locations, including the following.
Khon Kaen is a university city sitting on the Bueng Kaen Nakhon River. It’s famous for its silk production and there is a silk fair every December. Other attractions include the City Pillar Shrine where there is an open air cinema most evenings, the Khon Kaen National Museum where you can learn about the area’s ancient history and both the Phra Mahathat Kaen Nakhon and Wat Chai Si temples.
It takes just 15 minutes to reach the city of Khon Kaen from Khon Kaen Airport, taking route 12 east and then route 2 south. The roads around the city, once you get off the route 2 highway, are in a decent condition but you’ll need a good map to find your way around. Parking in Khon Kaen is similar to that in the rest of Thailand; free of charge and plentiful if a little haphazard.
Nam Phong National Park
Nam Phong National Park lies north west of Khon Kaen city. The park has a number of viewpoints which offer spectacular vistas of the surrounding countryside. Visitors can walk around the scenic lake, go to see the crater well and keep an eye out for the wild elephants who live in the park.
Nam Phong National Park is a 40 minute drive from Khon Kaen Airport, taking route 12 west and before turning north. Visitors can drive all the way up to the Hin Chang Si viewpoint or leave their car at the main park base by the lake and hike the trails instead.
Ban Na Pho
Ban Na Pho is a small town visited for its ancient archaeological remains. He Non Mueang Ancient Town covers an extensive site and contains artefacts dating back to the pre historic period. There is a visitor centre at the ruins where you can learn more about the discoveries they have made there.
Ban Na Pho is just over an hour’s drive from Khon Kaen Airport, taking route 230 south and then picking up the 208. To reach the ancient town, you’ll drive along a winding road through rice paddies and should look out for the ornate archway which is the entrance to the archaeological site. Car parking is available close to the visitor centre.