Trip to Yasothon for Christmas Star Parade

TRAVEL DATE: 22-25 December 2016
DESTINATION: Ubon Ratchathani, Yasothon and Amnat Charoen Provinces
ACCOMMODATION: JP Emerald Hotel and Plai Far Resort

Some of Thailand’s biggest Catholic communities are situated in Isaan, the northeastern provinces of Thailand. In the days leading up to 25th December, a famous Christmas Star Parade takes place in Sakon Nakhon province. It proved to be so popular, that the Christian community in Ban Songyae in Yasothon province decided to organise their own Christmas Star parade. This was their second year. This community was the main destination and highlight of my four day trip to Ubon Ratchathani, Yasothon and Amnat Charoen provinces. During the trip, I tweeted live on @RichardBarrow. Click to see the embedded tweets for Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4. The last day was mainly a travel day back to Bangkok.

The following map shows the places that I visited during the trip:

LIST OF PLACES I VISITED:

DESTINATION สถานที่ท่องเที่ยว PROVINCE GPS
Ubon Ratchathani Airport ท่าอากาศยานนานาชาติอุบลราชธานี Ubon Ratchathani 15.252387 104.868370
Samchai Coffee ร้านสามชัยกาแฟ Ubon Ratchathani 15.232400 104.858109
Ban Namoma กลุ่มทอเสื่อกกบ้านนาหมอม้า Amnat Charoen 15.861780 104.466306
Ban Na Phu Kam homestay บ้านนาภูคำ Amnat Charoen 15.865549 104.480497
Wat Dong Thao Kao วัดดงเฒ่าเก่า Amnat Charoen 15.856473 104.469037
Ros 'Niyom restaurant ร้านรสนิยม Amnat Charoen 15.865949 104.639288
St. Michael's Church วัดอัครเทวดามีคาแอล Yasothon 16.069624 104.373576
JP Emerald Hotel โรงแรม เจพี เอมเมอรัลด์ ยโสธร Yasothon 15.800406 104.136629
Wat Mahathat วัดมหาธาตุ Yasothon 15.793936 104.142177
Wat Srithammaram วัดศรีธรรมาราม Yasothon 15.786257 104.141922
Giant Toad พิพิธภัณฑ์พญาคันคาก Yasothon 15.791085 104.155007
Krua Tut Ting ครัวตุ๊ดติ่ง Yasothon 15.801200 104.141400
Phra That Kong Khao Noi ธาตุก่องข้าวน้อย Yasothon 15.763717 104.207120
Ban Si Than หมู่บ้านทำหมอนขิตบ้านศรีฐาน Yasothon 15.776157 104.330936
Phra Mongkhon Ming Mueang พระมงคลมิ่งเมือง Amnat Charoen 15.891566 104.621968
Laab Gai Ban Rot Det ลาบไก่บ้านรสเด็ด Amnat Charoen 15.938001 104.628759
Khemarat Walking Street ถนนคนเดินเขมราฐ Ubon Ratchathani 16.041993 105.224303
Plai Far Resort ปลายฟ้า รีสอร์ท Ubon Ratchathani 15.823301 105.371107
National Museum พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ อุบลราชธานี Ubon Ratchathani 15.227667 104.857738
City Pillar Shrine ศาลหลักเมือง Ubon Ratchathani 15.228370 104.857724
Thung Si Muang ทุ่งศรีเมือง Ubon Ratchathani 15.229956 104.857298
Indochina Restaurant ร้านอาหารเวียดนาม อินโดจีน Ubon Ratchathani 15.235820 104.858224

Click on the above links to find out more information on the Thailand Guidebook website

PLEASE NOTE: The above pages are being updated with new pictures and information live during the trip.

PHOTO ALBUM FOR DAY 1: Our trip started with a Nok Air flight from Don Mueang airport in Bangkok to Ubon Ratchathani in Northeastern Thailand. The flight only took about one hour, but if you want to drive, it would take over eight hours. Our first stop was for breakfast at Samchai Coffee. They are famous for duck noodles, guay jub and kai kra ta. Our next stop was Ban Namoma in Amnat Charoen province. This community is famous for woven reed products such as mats and bags. If you want to spend more time here, Ban Na Phu Kam homestay is only 180 Baht per night. This includes two meals. Call 0872391818 if you are interested. Lunch was at Ros ‘Niyom restaurant. Our final stop for the day was at St. Michael’s Church in Ban Songyae in Yasothon province. This is the largest wooden church in Thailand. The present building dates back to 1954. The original building went up in 1908. This is the location for the Christmas Star parade which we attended on our second day. We stayed for the next two nights at JP Emerald Hotel.

PHOTO ALBUM FOR DAY 2: We started our second day by visiting Wat Mahathat in Yasothon city.  The Phra That Anon pagoda is in Laotian style and houses the relics of Phra Anon. Also of interest is the book depository. It is an old wooden building built on stilts above a pond. This is done to keep termites away from scriptures that were written on palm leaves. Next up was Luang Ta Puang Museum at Wat Srithammaram. Our final stop before lunch was to a relatively new attraction in Yasothon called “Phaya Khan Khak”. This is a 19 meter high Giant Toad alongside a lake. The prince toad is from an Isaan folktale that explains the origins of the Rocket Festival. There is also a giant naga snake here. Lunch was at the nearby Krua Tut Ting restaurant. Their laab pet (duck) was excellent. Towards the end of the afternoon, we went back to Ban Songyae for their Christmas Star Parade. There were eleven vehicles taking part in the procession. Each one was decorated with brightly lit and colourful stars. This is only the second time for holding the parade.

PHOTO ALBUM FOR DAY 3: The first stop on our third day was Phra That Kong Khao Noi in Yasothon. This is an ancient stupa that enshrines holy Buddhist relics. According to legend, the shrine was built by a young farmer who was repentant after murdering his mother. Next up was Ban Si Than which is famous for making Thai style pillows. As well as watching them make the pillows, you can also buy their products at cheap prices. Next we crossed into Amnat Charoen province to visit Phra Mongkhon Ming Mueang. This is a 20-meter high seated Buddha. Lunch was at nearby Laab Gai Ban Rot Det. Our final destination for today was across the border in Ubon Ratchathani province. Here we visited Khemmarat city alongside the Mekong River. Here they have a popular Walking Street every Saturday. We stayed the night at Plai Far Resort.

PHOTO ALBUM FOR DAY 4: The fourth and last day was mainly a travel day. However, we did have time to make a quick visit to the National Museum in Ubon Ratchathani. Nearby is the City Pillar shrine and a giant candle in Thung Si Muang. Ubon is famous for the Candle Festival marking the start of the three-month Buddhist Rains Retreat (click here for a trip I did for this event). We had lunch at Indochina Restaurant, a famous Vietnamese restaurant in Ubon Ratchathani.

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