Ubon Ratchathani is to be found approximately 600 (380) miles to the east of Bangkok. It is very close to the border with Laos. It is the capital of the province with the same name. Along with Khorat, Udon Thani, and Khon Kaen it is considered to be one of the Big Four of Isaan. Isaan is a rather poor rice producing area of Thailand. Many people don’t use the full name, Ubon Ratchathani preferring to shorten it to just Ubon.
The name means Royal Lotus City and the provincial seal depicts a lotus flower in a pond. It was founded in the late 18th century by Thao Kham Phong. The province now ranks as the fifth largest in Thailand. The city though saw its major expansion during the Second World War when Japanese forces brought their prisoners of war here. An important monument stands in the central square to this day. It was erected by British POWs in gratitude to the people of Ubon. The population of the city is about a quarter of a million.
The city of Ubon Ratchathani was founded in the late 18th century by Thao Kham Phong. He was a descendant of Phra Wo and Phra Ta. They had escaped from King Siribunsan of Vientiane. They took refuge in Siam during the reign of King Taksin the Great.
The city is well known for its Candle Festival. Thousands of candles are brought into the central park, Thung Si Mueang. They are lit to mark the beginning of the wet season and to celebrate Buddha. In recognition of this festival Buddhists all over the country take candles to their local temple on the same night.
There are, of course, many other religious sites dotted around the area and much to do and see in friendly, Ubon Ratchathani.