A small place at the riverbanks of the Mekong River, Khemarat is one of the towns in Isan. Years ago it must have been a picturesque place, quiet and lovely, poor and cruel as well. It belongs to Ubon Ratchathani Province. Electricity is certainly an invention which came late to Khemarat. Now, the old part of the town, with it's old, wooden buildings, which makes merely two blocks along the river, is partially removed by newer concrete buildings, and a new town has grown along the new concrete highways, a few meters apart from the grand river of Southeast Asia.
Khemarat's bus station. The little TV dominates accustically anything else, except occasionally appearing loudspeaker cars who blair out idiotic advertisements, or the din of a car or motorbike with a broken exhaust pipe. As closer one approaches to the Laotian border, as noisier it gets. Image by Asienreisender, 12/2015
The new town is just an ugly cancer, as always. It's interesting how homogeneous Thai towns everywhere look. The construction mafia is certainly a small circle in Thailand, not allowing any phantasy and new experiences, but commiting stereotypely ever and ever again the same old bloody crap. By no means they would allow any competition. Thailand's modern architecture is an insult, a strike in the face of anyone with only the slightest bit of taste. When the architecture is necrophily in structure, the traffic with all the shitty pickup trucks and cars of the ever and ever again same type, driven by widely incapable drivers, is the dynamic counterpart of the architecture. Both is an accusation for mankind. How can people do that?
There is some domestic tourism here, and the tourists come with cars and don't mind to drive kilometers to the bloody resorts and as stylish as unfunctional hotels in the surroundings of Khemarat. In town I found only three bad places to stay, all neglected and very overpriced. Additionally to the tourists are certainly businesmen coming here. It's a border town, and all kinds of dubious businesses are usually done in such places. On the other side of the Mekong River lies Laos. In fact, most of the river itself belongs to Laos, according to old French - Siamese border treaties of 1893 and following years. The French claimed the river for their colonial empire, and the Siamese only have a small stripe of 15m of it, so far I heared. Nevertheless, there are many Thai naval bases at the Mekong's river banks, and these Thai army boats go, of course, further out than 15m. As well do the fishermen.
Approaching the border to Laos in Isan, things change. It's getting all more neglected, run-down, and the people are no more as they are deeper inside Isan. It's more a feeling of being in a mixed-up population, half Thai, half Laotian. The Laotian part is not the favourable one, for it stands for indifference, excessive laziness, dullness and mannerless behaviour, spiced with a tendency for lying, cheating and impudence.
The Mekong River at Khemarat
Khemarat has some history. It was an important place already in the 19th century, when Siam was still struggling for ensuring it's possesions on the Khorat Plateau.
The left side of the Mekong (right side in the image, which points to north), is already Laotian territory. Image by Asienreisender, 12/2015