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More Dragons & Buddha's at the Wat Phra That Suthon in Den Chai

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This temple is located along route 11 from Den Chai to Lampang. And from the road you see a huge reclining Buddha image. So I did park at the space in front of the temple and took the stairs up. And being a bit surprised that the stairs are partly overgrown by jungle. An abandoned temple? No just an abandoned entrance to the temple as there is actually a road going up next to the temple complex. On top is an parking place, souvenir shops, toilets and 2 big and beautiful decorated pagoda's. As being not religious I visit this kind of places are wonderful art and design. The Wat Phra That Suthon Mongkhon Khiri (วัดพระธาตุสุโทนมงคลคีรี) is noted for its delicate sculptures with fine designs. There is also a golden teak structure in the Lanna-style which houses valuable relics of the North, including Buddha statues, lacquer ware, Lanna musical instruments, ancient weapons, and pictures depicting past events. See also Buddha's Feet.














Visiting the Wat Chong Khao Chat in Udon Thani

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While making a sight-seeing trip to visit a friend of us living in Nong Wua So we passed the mountain range Phu Phan along route 2315. And on top the mountain is a huge sitting Buddha. Although it is not really a temple, of course we made a stop and I walked up to the top of the cliff. Walking up I saw that the all cliff is actually scattered with Buddha images. And there is still work in progress in making more Buddha images. Standing on the cliff you have a beautiful view over the valleys on both side. In the east the view in direction on Udon Thani and in the west the view in direction of Nong Bua Lam Phu. When driving towards the mountain range you see that the crossing point is of course almost the lowest point, but once up there you really have an amazing view. Following are some more photos of this temple in the middle of nowhere.





A boat trip between the Lotus flowers at Nong Khai

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About 10 km South-West of Nong Khai is the lake Song Nok Saeo where 6 months per year the lotus flowers blossom. Along the lake are 3 view-points from where you can make a boat trip (in a very small boat). It is beautiful, not only for the flowers but also for the silence, beautiful surroundings and the hundreds of small birds "dancing" above the water. It is a bit difficult to find as the roads to the lake are small, upcountry quality and signs are in Thai (but with photos). This trip should be done between December and April, begin March might be the best time. Another lake with lotus flowers is south-east of Udon Thani at A Sea of Red Flowers.

Buddha & Monk images at Pha Tak Suea in Sangkhom

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While traveling along the Mekong River from Chiang Khan to Nong Khai you do pass Sangkhom, a little town along the river. There are some restaurants and guesthouses here. A little bit after Sangkhom there is a road going up the small mountains nearby and you end-up about 120m higher at a park area where is also a temple. And at any temple are of course Buddha images. A Buddha a day keeps the doctor away, so there is a Buddha image for each day of the week. From here you also have a stunning view over the Mekong River and Laos.


Unexpected temple ruins along route 1126 in Phayao

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While driving from Phayao to Nan I suddenly saw this pagoda along the road, so of course I made a stop. Later at home I did some research. The Wat Phra That Nong Ha (also know as Wat Phra That Kiri Sri Wianglor) is dating from the 16th-17th century AD. And it was probably in use until the 19th century when the area of Wianglor was abandoned. It is said that the city of Lor had in its glory days more as 50 temples and a city wall. Not much as only this pagoda remains from those days. I love the surprises when traveling on the back roads of Northern Thailand.

A day in Phayao

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Phayao is my favorite small city in North Thailand. Along the shore of the lake are many restaurants and some hotels. Life in town is slow and comfortable. Just relax and enjoy Thai upcountry city life. The first time I was in Phayao was about 20 years ago and along the lake side was standing a gracious old mansion ** of the old days of Phayao. It was empty and not in use. In the years passing by you could see the building being destroyed by time and weather. It did always hurt me to see that and I was always wondering why? Luckily now finally rescue has come and the grand old lady of Phayao has been given a new roof. And restoration is fully on the way.

** I did just read that this house is supposed to be build in 1922 and bears the name "Suthaphat House".



Visiting Wat Jomsa Van in Phrae

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This temple is very different as the temples you might have seen in Bangkok or Chiang Mai. It is located a bit on the outskirts of Phrae city and was build in 1857 (and rebuild in 1936). The temple is build in Burmese Shan style and has a beautiful interior. On the left side is a beautiful old Chedi and in front of the temple (outside the gates) is a daily amulet market where you will see old man talking about the beauty & power of their amulets. I was just informed that the writing of the name of this temple is mostly used as "Wat Chom Sawan" and that there is a great link to more photos of this temple. See Oriental Architecture


Visiting the Siri Thai Museum in Phrae

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Behind the Paradorn Hotel in downtown Phrae in North Thailand is a small private museum about the "Siri Thai". It means "Free Thai" and is about the story of  a underground resistance  group during World War 2 in North Thailand. As said it is small and privately funded by Puchong Kanthatham, son of Tong Kanthatham a former Siri Thai member. The museum is housed in a once beautiful wooden Thai house. In my personal opinion the museum gives a bit coloured and glorified version of a small part of Thai history. But never mind, it is still a nice place to visit and learn something about recent Thai history. If you are interested in this part of history of Thailand I would recommend you to do some google research starting with Thailand since 1930. Officially the museum is open daily from 8:00 to 17:00, but This Is Thailand so it might be closed sometimes. When I arrived the door was open but nobody to be seen, so I just walked in. No entrance fee anyway. Have a look HER…

Visiting the Wat Rung Khun in Chiang Rai

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Or better know as the White Temple. It is located about 13km south of Chiang Rai town. Although it is a beautiful piece of art, personally I would not call it a temple. I did not see any monks, besides the fact that the main building is housing an beautiful Buddha image. To quote the Wikipedia "It is a contemporary, unconventional, privately owned, art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple. It is owned by Chalermchai Kositpipat, who designed, constructed, and opened it to visitors in 1997. " Personally I think it is a bit in Gaudi style and I had the idea to see also some similarities to the Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya. But well it is beautiful and a great opportunity for making photos and selfies.










Old photos of textile of the hill-tribe people in Nan

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I love history and a while ago I did meet via the world wide web of internet thingies the wonderful photographer Jonathan Stiles who in the 1980's lived and worked in Northern Thailand. And luckily also in Nan province. He made a lot of photos and scanned some of them (unfortunately in small size). And he is willing to share them us, with the remark of "Attribution, Non-Commercial and Share Alike". So please do not use his photos for commercial purpose or without attribution. Following is the last serie of photos from Jonathan Stiles of the beautiful textile made by hill-tribes living in Nan province. For more photos from Jonathan Stiles have a look at his FlickR Thailand Photo Album or FlickR The Htin People photo album.