Sam Phan Bok, the Grand Canyon of Thailand

Sam Phan Bok is the biggest rock reef along the Mekong River. It is found in Thailand’s Isan region in the rural northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani.

Sam Phan Bok is also known as the Grand Canyon of Thailand for its interesting layers of pockmarked rock, eroded over the years by the rushing tides of the Mekong River during flooding season. Of course, the geological phenomenon of Sam Phan Bok is worlds apart from what the actual Grand Canyon in Arizona looks like, but it is certainly worth exploring for its own unique reasons! Down the entire stretch of Sam Phan Bok, you’ll find thousands of oddly-shaped holes scattered along the riverbank, which is likely how it got its name — Sam Phan Bok roughly translates to “3,000 shallow lakes”. Many come to visit the attraction to witness the Swiss cheese appearance of the terrain and to look out for unique formations such as the famous Mickey Mouse-shaped hole.

Sam Phan Bok is not widely known outside of Isan, making it a fairly undiscovered natural wonder. With very little crowds, it’s easy to discover this remote rock reef by yourself on foot. Alternatively, you can see the canyon from a different perspective on a long-tail boat cruise down the Mekong River.