TRAVEL DATE: 29 July – 2 August 2015
DESTINATION: Buriram, Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, Yasothon, Amnat Charoen, Sisaket and Nakhon Ratchasima Provinces
ACCOMMODATION: Thongtarin Hotel (Surin), De’ Proud Hotel (Ubon Ratchasima), Srimlamduan Resort (Sisaket) and The Piano Resort Khao Yai (Nakhon Ratchasima)
Last week I was in Ubon Ratchathani to see them preparing the giant wax sculptures that will be taking part in the Candle Festival Parade on 31st July 2015. Processions like this are happening all around Thailand at this time of year to mark the start of the three month long Buddhist Rains Retreat. Last year I was in Suphanburi and Ayutthaya for their processions. This year, TAT Isaan invited me to go with them on a five day trip around Northeastern Thailand. The highlights of the trip were the alms giving to monks on elephant back in Surin and the Candle Festival parade in Ubon Ratchathani. 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 a travel day back to Bangkok.
The following map shows the places that I visited during the trip:
LIST OF PLACES I VISITED:
Play La Ploen (Buriram),เพลาเพลินรีสอร์ท,15.285656 103.002982
Monument (Surin),อนุสาวรีย์,14.878425 103.489546
Surin Pochana restaurant (Surin),สุรินทร์โภชณา,14.889628103.493085
Thong Tarin Hotel (Surin),โรงแรม ทองธารินทร์,14.886564 103.499608
Ban Taklang Elephant Village (Surin),หมู่บ้านช้างบ้านตากลาง,15.265657 103.496994
Ban Khampun,คำปุน,15.195201 104.827261
Thung Si Muang (Ubon),ทุ่งศรีเมือง,15.229813 104.857298
De’ Proud Hotel (Ubon),โรงแรม เดอ พราวด์,15.271350 104.846671
Phra Mongkhon Ming Mueang (Amnat Charoen),พระมงคลมิ่งเมือง,15.891566 104.621968
Wat Ban Chiang Pheng (Yasothon),วัดบ้านเชียงเพ็ง,15.827639 104.441170
Vimarn Phaya Thaen (Yasothon),วิมานพญาแถน,15.791149 104.154979
Heng Heng Khao Tom (Sisaket),เฮงเฮงข้าวต้ม,15.113491104.344725
Srilamduan Hotel (Sisaket),โรงแรมศรีลำดวน,15.112935 104.352783
Wat Nong Takhian (Sisaket),วัดหนองตะเคียน,14.985901 104.417491
Wat Sa Kamphaeng Yai (Sisaket),วัดสระกำแพงใหญ่,15.101659 104.127817
Prasat Sikhoraphum (Surin),ปราสาทศีขรภูมิ,14.944575 103.798387
Lam Yai Kitchen (Nakhon Ratchasima),ครัวลำใย,14.706321 101.405911
The Piano Resort Khao Yai (Nakhon Ratchasima),เดอะ เปียโน รีสอร์ท เขาใหญ่,14.596584 101.370951
Click on the above links to find out more information on the Thailand Guidebook website
PHOTO ALBUM FOR DAY 1: On the first day of our Isaan trip, we stopped for lunch at Play La Ploen in Buriam. This is a boutique hotel and adventure camp. They also have a Flora Park which we visited after lunch. We then drove straight to Surin where we were just in time for the Candle Festival Procession. We then stayed the night in Surin.
PHOTO ALBUM FOR DAY 2: The highlight of the second day was the merit making ceremony where monks rode on elephant back to collect alms from local people and tourists. This day is Asarnha Bucha which is on the full moon in July every year. 88 elephants took part in the ceremony. We next went to Ban Taklang Elephant Village to attend their Buddhist Lent ceremony. Surin is the home to Thai elephants and they have many festivals that involve elephants in this province. On the way to Ubon Ratchathani, we stopped briefly at Ban Khampun. This is a private residence and also a weaving center. They only open to the public for three days every year during the Khao Phansa festival. We spent the night in Ubon Ratchathani.
PHOTO ALBUM FOR DAY 3: The third day of our trip coincided with Khao Phansa which is the official start of the three month long Buddhist Lent. On this day, there are many candle processions around Thailand. Probably the biggest and best Candle Festival Parade takes place in Ubon Ratchathani. The wax sculptures in the parade can take up to two months to complete. On this day, we also visited the 20 meter high Buddha image Phra Mongkhon Ming Mueang in Amnat Charoen province. In Yasothon province, we met people who were hunting for lucky numbers at Wat Ban Chiang Pheng. Here there is a 200 year old boat and people rubbed the wood to try and see auspicious numbers so that they would have a good chance of winning the lottery. Our final stop was to see the giant toad at Vimarn Phaya Thaen.
PHOTO ALBUM FOR DAY 4: Last night we stayed at Srilamduan in Sisaket. Our first stop in the morning was to Wat Nong Takhian. The highlight here are the 28 Buddha images. Our next stop was to Wat Sa Kamphaeng Yai which has the largest & most well-preserved Khmer ruins in Sisaket. Our final stop before lunch was Prasat Sikhoraphum in Surin. This sandstone temple, built on a laterite base, was originally a Hindu place of worship in the 12th Century. It was later converted to Buddhism. The afternoon was spent driving to Pakchong in Nakhon Ratchasima where we spent the night. We then returned to Bangkok in the morning.