An Isan Attraction on the Huai Krathing Reservoir Lake in Loei, Thailand

Updated on March 12, 2020
Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul first visited Thailand in 1996 and has been retired in Siam since 2007. He has a beautiful and loving Thai wife and can speak Thai.

The author and his wife overlooking the Huai Krathing reservoir lake
The author and his wife overlooking the Huai Krathing reservoir lake | Source

On June 3, 2018, my Thai son-in-law helped us discover a fun attraction in the Loei Province of northeastern—or Isan—Thailand. Little did I know that we would be entering a mountain reservoir lake after ascending 5 kilometers of road 15 kilometers west of the city of Loei.

After parking our SUV and descending a small hill, I was pleasantly surprised to see a small lake surrounded by teak and bamboo forest. At the edge of the lake were numerous bamboo rafts made into floating pavilions. Some of these rafts were already on the lake.

In this article, I first give a brief introduction to the Huai Krathing Reservoir. Then, I describe our renting of a bamboo raft and activities on the lake. They included having an Isan-style lunch, swimming, and feeding ducks.

Where is the Huai Krathing Reservoir?

The Huai Krathing Reservoir, also known as Huai Nam Man, is situated near the small provincial town of Loei in northeastern Thailand (a.k.a. Isan). In getting to the reservoir, you drive to the west from Loei along the Loei-Phu Ruea Road (a.k.a. Highway 21) for 15 kilometers. After you see a blue sign in English saying "Long Phae," turn right and ascend a mountain road for 5 kilometers. At this point, you will see a dirt road leading to a parking area.

According to the Bangkok Post, the Huai Krathing Reservoir is located on 1,500 hectares of land and has a capacity of 26 million cubic meters of water. When I visited on June 3, 2018, the depth of the reservoir was one to two meters. This lake, which has fish, is surrounded by teak, a bamboo forest, and green mountains.

Map of northeastern Thailand  AKA Isan
Map of northeastern Thailand AKA Isan | Source

Arriving at Huai Krathing Reservoir

On Sunday morning June 3, 2018, at around 10:00 after a short 15-kilometer ride from the town of Loei, our family arrived at the Huai Krathing Reservoir in the mountains. Members of the family included my mother-in-law, daughters Pu and Aey, granddaughter Yuri, wife Suai, son-in-law Kaeo, and myself.

After finding a dirt parking area, we got out of our SUV and started to explore. The first thing that struck me from the top of a small hill was the picturesque beauty of a small lake surrounded by bamboo forests and mountains. I couldn't also help but notice numerous bamboo rafts made into floating pavilions docked along the shore.

Since the sky was only partly cloudy, we all decided to rent a floating pavilion and be towed to the middle of the lake for a few hours of pleasure. Five hundred baht (a little more than $15) would cover us for two or three hours. We also learned that restaurant dishes could be delivered to us on the lake in a floating market style.

My first view of Huai Krathing
My first view of Huai Krathing | Source

Boarding Our Floating Pavilion and Being Towed to the Middle of the Lake

After paying for our rental of a bamboo raft, we quickly boarded our floating pavilion. The raft was about 15' by 8' and had room for up to 10 persons. There were mats and cushions spread out on the deck and I noticed five or six life jackets. Water, coke, and ice had previously been ordered and were awaiting us on the raft.

Within a few minutes of boarding, a long-tailed motorboat attached itself to our bamboo raft and pushed us very slowly out to the middle of the lake. In the distance, we could see a few other floating pavilions already on the lake and also beautiful green mountains behind a bamboo forest on the far side of the lake.

Getting Ready to Leave Shore
Getting Ready to Leave Shore | Source

Eating Lunch on a Floating Pavilion

The time was approaching 11:00 am, and most of us were hungry, having skipped breakfast after checking out of our motel in Chiang Khan 60 kilometers away. My oldest daughter wasted no time in phoning in our lunch order. Within 15-20 minutes, it was delivered to us on a long-tailed motorboat. The cuisine was Isan-style and included khao niao (sticky rice,) yaam talei (spicy seafood salad,) somtam (spicy papaya salad,) tomyaamgong (spicy shrimp soup,) grilled and fried fish, barbecued shrimp, grilled chicken, assorted stir-fried vegetables, steamed rice, water, beer, and coke.

There were no tables or chairs on the raft so we all ate in the Isan manner by sitting on the mats. Pu called in for seconds of rice and all of the dishes. The total cost of the lunch was about 1,000 Thai baht (approximately $30) for seven people.

Sitting and enjoying lunch
Sitting and enjoying lunch | Source
Our luncheon dishes
Our luncheon dishes | Source

Feeding Ducks and Ducklings

Toward the end of our lunch, a mother duck and her four to eight ducklings came swimming up to our bamboo raft. They had been attracted to our food. After the duck and ducklings were next to the raft, my wife and granddaughter went out on the bamboo poles to feed them cabbage. Some of the ducklings were so hungry that they climbed up on the bamboo poles.

Feeding ducks next to our raft
Feeding ducks next to our raft | Source


A few minutes later, my granddaughter and son-in-law decided that they would take a dip in the lake. Wearing life jackets, they both jumped in and had a great time swimming. The other members of the family, including myself, were not inclined to join Yuri and Kaeo.

Swimming in the lake
Swimming in the lake | Source

Encountering a Thunderstorm

Fun in the water ended suddenly when a thunderstorm blew across the lake. Before the rain hit, our floating pavilion was blown ashore up against another bamboo raft. Onshore, we noticed a herd of water buffalo that were grazing. At this point, Pu called the pilot of a long-tailed motorboat who came and towed us back to our starting point. Two motorboats, however, came and pulled us through the wind and a driving rainstorm.

Upon alighting from the raft, we quickly made our way through a light rain to our parked vehicle. It was an enjoyable two or three hours which I will always remember.

Huai Krating Reservoir water buffalo
Huai Krating Reservoir water buffalo | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Paul Richard Kuehn


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    • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      22 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Please let me know when you come to Thailand again.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      22 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      That will be fantastic. I have always wanted to go there. We used to work in Cambodia and worked in Thailand before, too. We have decided to retire for good now but who knows we might be again in your corner of the world.

    • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      22 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Thanks for your comments, Mary! I am pleased that you liked my article and pictures. When you are in Thailand the next time, please come up to Udon Thani in the northeast where I live and I will show you around.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      22 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have been to Thailand many times but never in the northeast. I have friends who came from there and would tell me about it. It is good to see these pictures.

    • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      2 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Yes, Peggy, it was definitely something different from the norm. I am looking forward to finding more places like this in Thailand. Thanks for your comments!

    • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      2 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Louise, you are more than welcome to visit us here in Thailand anytime. Thanks for commenting!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks for taking us along on your journey. Enjoyed viewing the video you made as well as seeing your photos. That sounds like a fun few hours and certainly something a bit different from the norm.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      It looks like you have a lovely time there, and it looks so beautiful. I'd love to visit here.


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