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- Ubon Ratchathani is both a city and a province in Thailand. For the province, see Ubon Ratchathani province.
|Province||Ubon Ratchathani Province|
|Districts of Thailand||Amphoe Mueang Ubon Ratchathani|
|Time zone||ICT (UTC+7)|
|Airport||IATA: UBP – ICAO: VTUU|
Ubon Ratchathani (Thai: อุบลราชธานี, pronounced [ʔubon râːt.tɕʰa.tʰaːniː]) is one of the four major cities of Isan (Khorat, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, and Khon Kaen), also known as the "big four of Isan". The city is on the Mun River in the south-east of the Isan region of Thailand. It is known as Ubon (อุบลฯ) for short. The name means "royal lotus city". The provincial seal features a pond with a lotus flower and leaves in a circular frame. Ubon was the administrative centre of Ubon Ratchathani Province. As of 2006, the Ubon urban area had a population of about 200,000. This included 85,000 in Thetsaban Nakhon Ubon Ratchathani (Ubon municipality), 30,000 each in Thetsaban Mueang Warin Chamrap (Warin municipality) and Thetsaban Tambon Kham Yai, 24,000 in Thetsaban Tambon Saen Suk, 10,000 in each of Thetsaban Tambon Pathum and Tambon Kham Nam Saep, and 6,000 in Thetsaban Tambon Ubon.
Ubon is 615 km from Bangkok.
The city was founded in the late 18th century by Thao Kham Phong, descendant of Phra Wo and Phra Ta, who escaped from King Siribunsan of Vientiane into Siam Kingdom during the reign of King Taksin the Great. Later Thao Kham Phong was appointed to be "Phra Pathum Wongsa"[clarification needed] and the first ruler of Ubon Ratchathani. In 1792 Ubon Ratchathani became a province, and was also the administrative center of the monthon Isan. Until 1972 Ubon Ratchathani was the largest province of Thailand by area. Yasothon Province was split off from Ubon Ratchathani Province in 1972, followed by Amnat Charoen Province in 1993. Ubon Ratchathani Province now ranks fifth in area.
The city was attacked by French forces in 1940 in retaliation for Thai attacks on French Indochinese towns.
Ubon grew extensively during World War II when Japanese forces brought in prisoners of war by rail from Kanchanaburi. One legacy of this is a monument in the city's central Thung Si Meuang Park erected by British prisoners of war in gratitude to the citizens of Ubon for assisting them. During the Vietnam war, United States armed forces constructed the in-town Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, which is now also a dual-use commercial airport.
Lao influence is evident in the architectural structure of some of the city's religious buildings.
The city has branches of the National Archives of Thailand and National Museum of Thailand.
Ubon Ratchathani has a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen climate classification Aw). Winters are dry and very warm. Temperatures rise until April, which is very hot with an average daily maximum of 36.4 °C (97.5 °F). The monsoon season runs from late April–October, with heavy rain and somewhat cooler temperatures during the day, although nights remain warm.
|Climate data for Ubon Ratchathani (1981–2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||31.7
|Average low °C (°F)||17.5
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||2.0
|Average rainy days (≥ 1 mm)||1||1||3||8||15||19||19||22||20||11||4||1||124|
|Average relative humidity (%)||65||63||62||66||75||79||80||82||82||78||71||68||72.6|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||293.3||262.9||270.8||256.0||238.4||189.6||198.4||170.1||163.5||228.5||255.6||274.0||2,801.1|
|Source: Thai Meteorological Department (Normal 1981-2010), (Ave. rainy days 1961-1990)|
Ubon is best known for its annual Candle Festival, held in July to mark the beginning of the rainy season retreat for Buddhists, Wan Khao Phansa, also called Buddhist Lent. One day prior, candles are taken to Thung Si Mueang, the central park in the middle of the city, to be decorated and then exhibited in the evening. On the same evening, there are many smaller processions to bring candles to practically all Buddhist temples in Thailand. The main procession in Ubon takes place early the following morning.
Sights and attractions
The province is renowned for its strong Buddhist tradition, particularly the practice of monks dwelling in the forest (Thai: พระธุดงค์ Phra thudong, pilgrimage, lit. "hiking monk"). Wat Nong Pah Pong, for example, is a Buddhist forest monastery in the Thai Forest Tradition, which was established by Venerable Ajahn Chah Subhaddo in 1954. Ajahn Chah's style of teaching and personality had a notable ability to reach people of other nationalities. Many foreigners came to learn from, train under, and be ordained by Ajahn Chah. Wat Pa Nanachat (International Forest Monastery) was then established in 1975. Since that time, Wat Pa Nanachat has become a respected forest monastery. It currently includes under its umbrella over fifty monks representing twenty-three nationalities.
Other Buddhist temples, in and around the city, include Wat Thung Si Mueang (Thai: วัดทุ่งศรีเมือง), in the centre of the city featuring an old wooden library on stilts in a small lake, and Wat Nong Bua near the Big C mall, featuring a chedi (temple) modelled on Bodh Gaya in India.
Another complex, Wat Ban Na Mueang has a concrete three-headed elephant gate (visitors drive in beneath the legs), and contains a temple shaped like a large barge complete with giant concrete oarsmen. Another temple at the rear is shaped like a houseboat, and sits in a lake with catfish to feed.
The Ratchathani Asok community on the south bank of the river has a Buddhist agricultural commune, with restored fishing boats mounted on boulders as houses, and a concrete central hall moulded and painted to look like a giant tree house. They sell various products produced on their farms.
Wat Nong Pah Pong, south of the city, is a pleasant forest temple.
The city is the seat of a Catholic diocese, has a mosque for its Pakistani-descended Muslim population (at the east end of Upalisan Road), and has a gurdwara for its Sikh community (on Ubonkit Road in the central city).
- Benchama Maharacha School, which offers an English language stream.
- Narinukun School, which offers an English language stream.
- Assumption School, next to the Tesco-Lotus store on Chayangkun Road is a prestigious private Catholic school.
- Ubon Ratchathani University, a rural campus 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) south of the city, but accessible by two songthaew routes.
- Ubon Ratchathani Rajabhat University, an upgraded technical college just north of the central city.
- Ratchathani University, a private university with a large campus between the km5 post on the Ring Road and the Mun river.
- Mahachulalongkorn Ratchawitthayalai University is a Bangkok Buddhist university with a small campus on Wat Mahawanaram in the city, and a new and much larger, but isolated campus in Tambon Krasop, north-east of the Ring Road.
- North Eastern Polytechnic College, with a campus on Chayangkun Road near the Big C Mall.
- Ubon Polytechnic College, with a campus on Chongkonnithan Road west of the city centre.
- Ratchathani Technology Vocational College, north of the Ring Road on Ubon 2 Road.
- Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, while Bangkok-based, operates the small Sun Witthaya Phatthana Ubon Ratchathani centre next to the National Archives, a block west of the Ring Road.
- Ubon Ratchathani Technical College is near SK[expand acronym] Mall.
- Ubon Ratchathani Vocational College, on Phrommarat Road in the city centre.
- Boromarajonani College of nursing Sappasithipasong, a block east of Sapphasit Prasong hospital.
- Ave Maria School.
As well as being a commercial facility, Ubon Ratchathani Airport is also an active Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) base, the home of 2nd Air Division/21st Wing Air Combat Command. During the Vietnam War, US and Australian squadrons were based here. Depending on economic conditions, 2 or 3 carriers operate 3–7 daily flights to Bangkok. As of 2011, Nok Air, Air Asia, and Thai Airways offer flights from Ubon Ratchathani airport.
The town's main bus station is in the north-west of the city, on the Ring Road (Highway 231), 500m west of its intersection with Chayangkun Road (Highway 212) outskirts of the city. Nakhonchai Air operates its own private bus terminal on Sathitnimankan Road just north of the Ubon Watsadu warehouse.
The eastern terminus of the north-eastern railway line from Hua Lamphong Railway Station, Bangkok's central station, is in Warin Chamrap. The railhead reached Warin in April 1930. The terminal station is called Ubon Ratchathani, but is in Warin Chamrap municipality.
Within the city
There are presently (2012) two taxi companies. Tuk-tuks can be found at the main shopping malls and markets, and charge fixed prices to various destinations such as the airport or railway station. Regular public transport is by songthaew, which operate frequently between 06:00 and 18:00, on fixed routes for 10–15 baht per trip. Routes are indicated by numbers and the colour of the vehicle. All routes pass through the centre of Ubon and/or Warin cities. Route 8 is a ring route through Ubon city. No songthaews serve the airport, so airline passengers must use tuk-tuks instead.
|Songthaew Route||Common Destinations|
|ม(Mor)||Main bus terminal via Ring Road and Chaengsanit Road (psychiatric hospital), clocktower roundabout (Ratchaphat University, SK Mall), Thanon Phalochai, Thano Uparat (Thung Si Mueang), Warin market, to Ubon Ratchathani University.|
|1||Ban Nong Kae in Tambon Chaeramae, via Yasothon Road, then up Ring Road to main bus terminal, back down Ring Road, Thanon Chanegsanit, clocktower roundabout (Ratchaphat University, SK Mall), Thanon Sapphasit, Thung Si Mueang, Sapphasit hospital, Ubonrak Thonburi Hospital, Talat Yai (central market), Warin market, to Ubon Ratchathani University.|
|2||Rear of Si Pathum Phitthayakhan school, via Thanon Klang-awut, Thanon Chayangkun, main bus terminal, Thanon Chayangkun (Big C, Ratchawet Hospital, NE Polytechnic college, Tesco-Lotus), Thanon Ratchathani, clocktower roundabout (Ratchaphat University, SK Mall), Thanon Chaengsanit, Thanon Sapphasit, Thanon Phitchitrangsan, Main Post Office, Ubon city hall, Thung Si Mueang, Warin market, Ubon Ratchathani railway station|
|3||Ratchathani Technology Voctational college via Thanon Ubon 2, Thanon Chayangkun, main bus terminal, Thanon Chayangkun (Big C, Ratchawet Hospital, NE Polytechnic college, Tesco-Lotus, Robinsons), Thanon Sapphisit (Sapphasit Prasong Hospital), Thanon Luang, Main Post Office, Talat Yai (central market), Warin market, Kantharalak road, Big C, Ban Ko.|
|6||Benchama Maharacha School (Thanon Sapphasit) via Thung Si Mueang and Warin market to Khai Sapphasitthi Prasong Hospital.|
|7||Wat Pakittiyansophon in Ban Dong Saen Suk, via Ban Nikhom Phattana, Thanon Ubon-Trakan, Thanon Sapphisit (Sapphasit Prasong hospital), Thanon Suriyat, Thanon Chayangkun (Robinsons), Thanon Ratchathani, clocktower roundabout (Ratchaphat University, SK Mall), Thanon Chaengsanit, Thanon Sapphasit, Thanon Chayangkun, Thung Si Mueang, Ubon city hall, Thung si Mueang, Warin market, Thanon Sisaket, to the Tambon Kham Nam Saep municipal offices.|
|8||Circular route, running from 41 km marker on Ring Road, via Ring Road (main bus terminal, Big C), Thanon Chonlaprathan-Thabo, Thanon Nikhomsaiklang, provincial offices, Talat Yai (central market), main post office, Thanon Luang, Thanon Sapphasit (Sapphasit Prasong hospital), Thanon Ubon-Trakan, (on-demand deviation to Ban Na Mueang), Ring Road, Thanon Ubon Trakan, Highway 4009 (50 Pansa Mahavajiralongkorn Hospital) to Ratchapachanukhro 32 school.|
|9||Warin market via Thanon Sisaket in Tambon Kham Nam Saep to Ban Khu Duea in Tambon Chaeramae|
|10||Regional Cancer Centre via Thanon Khlang-awut, Thanon Sukhaphatthana, main bus terminal, Ring Road, Soi Chayangkun 21, Thanon Chayangkun (NE Polytechnic College, Tesco-Lotus, Ratchaphat University, Robinsons, Talat Yai (central market), Thung Si Mueang, Ubonrak Thonburi hospital, Thanon Somdet to Thanon Somdet Khae Yak 1.|
|11||Village Welfare Project (km8 on Hwy 212 to Amnat Charoen), Thanon Chayangkun, Ring road (main bus terminal), Big C, Soi Chayangkun 21, Thanon Chayangkun (Ratchawet Hospital, NE Polytechnic college, Tesco-Lotus, Robinsons), Thanon Upalisan, Thanon Phadaeng, Thanon Uparat (Thung Si Mueang), Ave Maria School, to Soi Phanom 7.|
|12||Regional Cancer Centre via Thanon Sinawong, Yasothon Road, Ban Tha Bo Nuea, Thanon sukha-Upatham, Thanon Chanegsanit (psychiatric hospital), clocktower roundabout (Ratchaphat University, SK Mall), Thanon Chaengsanit, Thanon Suriyat, Thanon Chayangkun, Thung Si Mueang, Talat Yai (central market), main post office, Thanon Somdet (Huai Nong reservoir dam wall), Phathom Phittayakhom school in Tambon Pathum.|
|13||Warin market to Wat Nong Pa Phong. (This route is very infrequent)|