We spent two nights in Udon Thani, one going north and one more coming back from Laos. Our time was a bit rushed but we still managed to see a bit of the region. I stayed two nights at The Irish Clock, a great guesthouse right in the center of the action and a two-minute walk from bars and restaurants. The restaurants is decent and serves good burgers and fish&chips, great for those travelling with people who don’t like Thai food (blasphemy!). The staff at the Irish were efficient, friendly and helpful and even booked a taxi for me to go to Ban Chiang.
The archaeology museum in Ban Chiang really lived up to my expectations. The well preserved digs helped to present the efforts of the Western/Thai teams of researchers who discovered skeletal remains and a large collection of pottery in the region.
The accompanying museum documented the archaeologists and the early inhabitants of the region. The latter included models of dental and cranial morphology, placing the inhabitants in the Sundadont and Austronesian groups, respectively. Interesting side note: much of the migration from Laos to the Isaan region has been quite recent, as in a mere 200 years ago. Stands in sharp contrast to the 4000YO bones we saw at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
By the way, Ban Chiang is 40-50km from Udon Thani and the museum is best visited by hiring a taxi to drive you out there and wait outside. Cost us 1500 baht ($30) for a three-hour ride. Worth it!