I had a day to spare coming back from Laos so I stopped off in Udon Thani for a night before flying back to Bangkok. I very quickly realised that the Thai people whom I met and interacted with were very pleasant. They were helpful, cheerful and generally laid back ! It was really nice to escape from my sometimes chaotic lifestyle in Bangkok.
I stayed in the Silver Reef hotel just a short walk from the tourist night life area of the town. It was ok for 600baht a night, apart from the low door into my rooms bathroom. I must have hit my head at least three times and I am only 5ft 10inches tall. Alcohol consumption was no doubt partly to blame......
I set off into the bar area at about 1800hrs and was surprised to see a few mid twenties ( or under ) farang in some of the bars. It reminded me of Pattaya but on a much, much smaller scale. There were two of three of these farang shirtless and obviously very drunk - the local Thais were not impressed. I hope Udon does not go down the same road as Pattaya.
There were also quite a few older farang, obviously locals, enjoying a beer and chat with their families and friends.
I popped into a few beer bars and found them very reasonably priced - a Heineken was 70 or 75 baht for a small bottle. The girls seemed friendly enough and I think I can say that on the evening I stayed there the number of bars, and the number of girls, far outnumbered the number of customers.
I sat in one bar in a warehouse type of place ( called 'Day and Night or was it 'Night and Day' ) that had about twenty or so bars. I was there about 3 hours. Two nearby bars did not have one customer all the time I was there. Business seemed slack.
The beer bars started to close at about midnight so I walked over to Croc's Club which stays open a lot longer. This was quite busy, but again the numbers of girls ( freelancers and normal ? ) outnumbered the men perhaps 2 - 1. Everyone was having a good time.
The next day I decided to look around for a massage. There are so many places near the bar area you were spoilt for choice. Prices ranged from 249baht - 350 baht an hour for an oil massage. I didn't go into to any of these places but walked out of the bar area and found a small place about 1.5 km away - a very pleasant experience in a place that does not cater for many farang... It was very good but speaking some Thai clearly helped :)
After the massage it was off to the airport in a tuk tuk. This cost 150 baht from the central area of town. I am told this is a fair price.
All in all Udon Thani was a very nice place to visit. I will be going back next month for a longer stay.