Lately I've been trying to travel around a bit more to see new places and get out of the big city a bit. I've recently moved just outside of Bangkok (Patum Thani) to that end as I was tiring of the traffic and state of affairs in my last area.
After reading stickman's recent article regarding Udon Thani I thought, well why not give it a shot. Boy was I disappointed.
The trip over was painless enough- I flew from Don Muang to Udon for about 800 baht with a duration of about 1 hour. Taxi from the airport to the hotel located in the 'city center' was 200 baht standard. No real options for finding anything else.
Got to the hotel, checked in and decided to wander about.
First impressions- Hit the massage and bar areas first and despite being early afternoon there were a decent number open. Mostly empty, but a few had a number of older gents who appeared to be locals at their favorite spots sharing a beer and watching sports. Of the other, less occupied bars there was a common theme- two staff, one 30s-40s Thai woman and one large ladyboy. I kid you not, this was the case for the first 4 bars I approached. I'm usually keen to have a game of pool and a beer even at a bar that's not right up my alley so I still stopped by but was largely disappointed at what I saw.
A number of massage places were open and I did the rounds checking out the girls sitting outside enoying their lunches or mid-afternoon snacks. A good portion had been snacking a bit too much and were a bit large for my tastes. I spotted one really cute one but as I walked over another guy parked his motorbike in front of the shop and headed straight in with her. Such is life.
Spent the next several hours roaming around the rest of the bar areas and decided to pop into central and the market area adjacent to it. Stickman had reported that the general populace was noticeably friendlier and happier to see foreigners. This was not evident in anyway.
Throughout my stay I switched from the tourist foreigner not knowing a lick of Thai to the expat with a fairly expansive knowledge depending on the situation and tried to judge which yielded better results. Both were fairly evenly disappointing.
As the evening wore on I ventured back to the bar areas and made several more rounds bringing my total bar visits to about 15-18. Sadly, at night the pickings remained slim (and yet not slim size-wise) and the number of really beastly Ladyboys was surprisingly high. I had often heard that LBs tended to head to BKK as it is a more modern and accepting society versus where many were born and the associated traditional mindset. Perhaps the demand by foreign visitors is making that not the case.
To wrap up this rather long-winded post I'll say that I was disappointed to such a degree that I checked out of my hotel later the next day, abandoned my return flight set for 4 days later and purchased a ticket from Udon to Utapao and spent the next few days in Pattaya which is a known commodity to me.
TL:DR - if you are considering Udon for a visit, my recommendation is to give it a pass.