Horse Racing in Udon Thani and the Whore Kids Farm


On Saturday Wonderful Wi, two of her younger cousins and myself headed out of the village to enjoy a day and night in Udon Thani city. We checked into the Ruysuk Hotel and then set about ticking off the boxes on our busy schedule.

First was an afternoon’s horse racing at Udon Thani’s Intergames Park Racecourse. The four of us would then meet with Wi’s brother’s family for an evening meal and then round off the day at Udon Thani’s very popular night markets. The following morning we had planned a trip to Udorn Sunshine Orchid Farm. Wi refers to the flowers as ‘whore…kids’.

Udon Thani is (I believe) the fifth most populated city in Thailand and you could be forgiven if you were looking for a newly opened restaurant and you couldn’t find it. But a huge racecourse, surely not.

I knew from reading on the internet the racecourse was near Udon Thani’s Big C supermarket but Wi immediately threw the proverbial spanner into my works.

‘Udon Thani have two Big C….which one?’

We decided on the one near to the highway road which exits the city to Sakon Nakhon. Big C, highway and Sakon Nakhon…they all rang bells in my head.

Is it just Wilai or do most Thais stubbornly refuse to ask for directions to somewhere they can’t find, or do all Thais explore every last avenue and soi before finally giving up. After fifteen minutes of fruitless search Wilai pulled to a halt at a bus stop to thankfully seek help. The electric window whirled down to show a Thai lady who Wi had gauged to be an expert in the field of horse racing.

Horse racing experts come in all shapes and sizes but the woman was at least 60 years old and looked more used to bagging papayas than red-hot favourites. And if she’d ever sat on a horse it must have cried, sighed and sagged in the middle, because Udon Thani’s top race tipster needed a few months in a sauna to make race weight. We thanked her and set off in the direction of her fat pointed finger.

Twenty minutes later we’d both become experts on every street food stall and shopping mall in the area. Even some of the soi dogs wagged their tails when we passed them once more. My simmering frustrations finally boiled over.

‘Wilai. Why don’t you telephone your brother. He’s worked everywhere in this city. He’ll know where the racecourse is’

‘Okay. I tella-bone brudder’.

Horse Racing at Udon Thani’s Intergames Park

We missed the first two races but stayed for the next four. Gambling is illegal in Thailand but you could legitimately place bets on the racecourse. Work that one out. We did, and walked away 1,200 baht in profit with the bonus of having enjoyed a thoroughly entertaining afternoon.

Whether you’re a gambler or not horse racing in Udon Thani is a splendid afternoon’s entertainment. Entrance to Intergames Park was free and placing a bet was quick and made easy by the excellent English spoken by the racecourse betting staff.

There were also lots of food stalls under the large grandstand selling everything Thai at street stall prices. And a large throng of about 3,000 race goers were in attendance on the day. There were plenty of picnics and red-hot race tips on the racecourse too.

I’ll be writing a full review about horse racing at Udon Thani’s Intergames Park on my return to the UK, and that’s only a furlong or two away.

Udorn Sunshine Orchid Farm

The Whore Kid Farm is one of Udon Thani’s major tourist attractions and a place I wanted to see. I particularly wanted to witness their famous dancing flowers. Apparently the orchids at Udorn Sunshine Orchid Farm dance to the sound of music. And boy, was my luck in.

A tour coach pulled up with music blaring from inside. Glaring is probably a better word than blaring because the music was that loud. Quite inappropriate for an orchid farm. A dancing one or not.

It was even money whether the orchids would dance first or the coach’s paint would peel and leap like lemmings in giant flakes from the bodywork. Neither happened. The music boomed, the coach vibrated and the orchids on show refused to go-go.

Like Udon Thani’s racecourse, Udorn Sunshine Orchid Farm has free entrance and for flower enthusiasts there are many varieties of orchids on display. Udorn Sunshine also sells its own in-house orchid perfume.

I hope this post has gone some way to enticing you to visit Udon Thani because even though you may have to shake it and wake it, when you do, it has so much to offer.

It’s a winner.

© 2012, Martyn. All rights reserved.

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