Phu Langka - Phu Thok
In last week's Road Map there was a photo of Khong Long Lake and there was one thing about it that I forgot to tell you. In that picture (If you're among those who keep clippings of this column, quick ... go get your file!) you'd see, other than the vast expanse of water, a red mountain standing in the distance - that's Phu Langka of Ban Phaeng, Nakhon Phanom's northernmost district. And that's where we'll begin our journey today.
Marked increase in homestay facilities
Homestay has become an additional source of income for farming communities in the northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani. Visitors to Ubon go for the homestay because they wish to sample northeastern lifestyle, cuisine and temple architecture in its purest form.
Ubon Ratchathani is more than just a big Isan province. Its history dates way way back. And other than Pha Taem National Park (featured in Horizons last week) Ubon, as it is known in short, has much more to offer to tourists.
It pays to be choosy
Nakhon Phanom is famous for its Phra That stupas that dot this northeast province. They house relics of Buddha and are held in high esteem. Visiting them, it is advisable to observe these places of worship through the eyes of local people and try to understand how they wield influence and shape their destiny.
The architectural splendour of Buddhist temples in the northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani radiate a charm that is rooted in its strong historical links with Laos and Cambodia.
Udon Thani - Phu Phrabat
This week's route will take you to some of the attractions in Udon Thani and Nong Khai provinces, including Phu Phrabat, the historical park featured on today's front page.Starting from Udon Thani town, drive north via Highway 2 (Mittraphap). Around thirteen kilometres from the point where Highway 2 intersects the ring road you'll see Wat Nakha Thevi on the right-hand side. The traditional weaver community of Ban Nakha is just next to the wat.
Every weekend students from Phimai Wittaya School volunteer as guides taking visitors around Prasat Hin Phimai, one of the most important Khmer sandstone sanctuaries in Thailand which is located in Nakhon Ratchasima.
As weird as it gets
Udon Thani is very a quiet town these days, a far cry from the bustling place it used to be during the Vietnam War when it served as a US air base. Today, most visitors prefer going to Nong Khai, a neighbouring province where they cross the Mekong River on their way to Laos.
Chiang Khan - Sri Chiang Mai
From Loei town, take Highway 201 up north towards Chiang Khan. Near Ban Na Bon School, less than five kilometres and a half before Chiang Khan, you'll see Rural Highway 3011 on the right-hand side.
When dinosaurs ruled the Northeast
Assuming that you set off from Bangkok in the morning and after stopping in Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat) for lunch, take the road No. 207, turn right at Phol District and then drive for 20 kilometres to Khon Kaen. Further up, it meets with No. 209 which leads you to Kalasin via Maha Sarakham. Don't worry! you won't get lost, but should you do stop by the roadside and ask the local people for direction.
Loei-Lao bridge link fails to draw tourists
A tuk-tuk sporting a Lao flag splutters its way across the concrete bridge at Tha Li in Loei province. Its twin heads in the opposite direction, Thai flag fluttering in the breeze as it kicks up a cloud of dust.
Buri Ram: Old is gold
For somebody who is more in tune with current affairs, I never contemplated my first sojourn to the northeastern province of Buri Ram bordering Cambodia would engender in me a sense of appreciation for history, particularly Thailand's, and its rich cultural heritage and roots.
We didn't know what to expect when we picked Chaiyaphum for our excursion to waterfalls. Most people probably know that Chaiyaphum is a northeastern province but, I suspect, they would be hard pressed to place the small Isan province on the map.
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