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Study Trip

A long weekend in three provinces in the Upper Northeast Thailand
(Nong Khai, Bueng Kan and Nakhon Phanom Provinces)

Friday 1 - Sunday 3 March 2019
Leader: Khun Euayporn Kerdchouay, Senior Consultant

 

The northeast, an area which is referred as Pak Isan, covers an area of more than 170,000 square kilometres and is made up of nineteen provinces. It has Thailand’s highest population density, and spreads over a plateau bounded on the north and east by the Mekong River which separates Thailand from Laos, on the south by the Dong Rak mountains which form the frontier with Cambodia, and on the west by the mountains through the valley of the Mae Nam Pasak which flows to the south. The rivers in this area flow towards the Mekong, the principal tributary being the Mae Nam Mun which rises above Phimai and goes in a southeasterly direction to pass through the principal center of Ubon Ratchathani. The word Isan probable derives from Ishara, a manifestation of the God Shiva. The rich artistic heritage of Isan is gaining better recognition both nationally and internally as recent studies shed more light on the complex religious and cultural influences which have shaped its evolution.

Nong Khai, formerly a rather somnolent town, is now a booming commercial center and the major transit point for trade with Laos. Its central streets are already far too narrow for the heavy volume of traffic that passes through them, but it remains a pleasant town. Since the opening in 1995 of the Australian-financed Friendship Bridge across the Mekong between Nong Khai and Vientiane its importance has still further increased. A regular shuttle service of buses operates across the bridge in both directions. There are many interesting temples in Nong Khai and around. The most interesting site is Phu Phra Bat Historical Park, 61 km. southwest of Nong Khai.  The wooded slopes around BAN PHU are dotted with strangely eroded sandstone formations which have long exerted a mystical hold over people in the surrounding area. At various sites in the park examples of rock art, all of them now very damaged have been found. These suggest that there was human settlement here from an early date, possible as long ago as 3000 BC. The park is spread over a wide area, and footpaths link the various sites.

Bueng Kan is a new province (March 2011), located about 135 km. to the east of Nong Khai downstream to Nakhon Phanom along road 212. The river itself is rarely in sight on this route, but the scenery is very pleasant. In Bung Kan, a road runs south to Ban Si Wilai and the huge sandstone outcrop of Phu Thok, which is honeycombed with small caves and is used as a retreat by the monks of Wat Phu Thok. The views across the plain from the upper levels are excellent. Beyond Bung Kan, the river road rounds the hilly northeast tip of Thailand before heading south through remote country road. The Mekong can only be glimpsed occasionally until you reach Nakhon Phanom, 313 km from Nong Khai, a clean and prosperous town which affords the finest view of the river in northern Isan, framed against the giant ant hills of the Lao mountains opposite.

Nakhon Phanom lies on the bank of the Mekong River opposite the Laotian town of Muang Ta Kaeks. It is home of Phra That Phanom, the most sacred and ancient religious monument of the northeast that is venerated by both Thais and Laotians along the Mekong. Nakhon Phanom is a pleasant modern town and has the best hotels along this stretch of the Mekong. It provides a suitable base from which to explore the northeast corner of Thailand. Nakhon Phanom has been an important commercial city trading with the ports on the Vietnamese coast to the east and Cambodia to the south, at least since the 16th century. Some old temples built along the river bank have very interesting mural painting and Lao-style Buddha images.

Under the leadership of Khun Euayporn Kerdchouay, The Siam Society is arranging a study trip for members to visit museums, temples, ruins, historical park, national park in Nong Khai, Bueng Kan and Nakhon Phanom provinces from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 March 2019.

Members will depart Bangkok Don Mueang Airport for Udon Thani on Friday 1 March by Nok Air flight DD9200 at 5.55 a.m. and return from Nakhon Phanom for Bangkok by Nok Air flight DD9521 on Sunday 3 March at 8.25 p.m., arrive at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport at 10.00 p.m.

During the trip we will visit Phu Phra Bat Historical park, Wat Si Chompu Ong Tue, Ban Wiang Khuk, Wat Phra That Bang Phuan, Wat Phu Thok and Phu Sing National Park, the museum at Wat Pa Suttawat, Wat Phra That Phanom and the museum , weaving village of Renu Nakhon, mural paintings in a charming temples built along the river bank.

Booking

Your contribution of Bt.17,500( Bt.18,500for non-members) will cover airfare by Nok Air (Bangkok - Udon Thani and Nakhon Phanom - Bangkok), transportation, 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners, accommodation for two nights at hotels in Nong Khai and Nakhon Phanom(for two person per room), entrance fee and other costs occurred to make this trip possible. Single room surcharge Bt.1,500. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges.

 

Three whales rock at Phu Sing Park

 

Please pay by cash or cheque payable to “The Siam Society” Alternatively you can deposit/transfer the money to the Siam Society travel account at Thai Military Bank, Asoke Branch saving account no.053-2-18000-7. Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us.

The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary. Seats are limited. Please book your place as soon as possible. For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert or Khun Supanut.