A Travellerspoint blog

February 2016

Khong Chiam

Buses and motorbikes


After getting ready and hurrying to the front desk, we relaxed hearing the news that buses to Khong Chiam left every half hour. We went for an early lunch to use the better wifi and eat more fried rice, not so spicy like the first time. We'd be quite delighted when other options came our way.

The New Year's fair was still on, making the walk to find a cab much longer and more challenging. We walked past a lot of stalls outside the park selling woodworking and fancy outdoor furniture. The beginning of the market seemed like an ideal place to find a vacant cab, but still no success. We settled on a tuktuk who got us there for 80 baht and were grateful for the breeze.

Getting tickets for the bus caused some confusion as we thought 1330 was the price and not the time as the man had intended to communicate. The tickets worked out to 80 baht each, same price as the tuktuk but a much longer voyage. Eating tasty fruit from the vendors helped pass the time.

In the van our bags took up quite a bit of space since they didn't have a luggage storage area. We felt bad and really should have stacked them so people wouldn't have been so squished. Luckily the crowdedness didn't last too long.

Khong Chiam was small and easy to figure out with Google maps. There were some convenience stores on the main street too. Since Agoda's map were pretty unhelpful, we still needed directions from the friendly police playing cards outside the station and who called out "Hello!". It was just down the road.

A friendly older man greeted us at the yellow Sibae guesthouse. He asked us to pick a room, but when we inspected them closer, the only option cleaned and ready at that time was the corner one of the second floor. He told us that it got pretty hot during the day. At least it came with air conditioning and a fridge. He also let us know the transportation options for seeing Pha Taem National Park, motorbike or a tuktuk driver for double the price.

We wandered down by the river walk and picked up snacks and water. Afterward, we struggled to find the steak restaurant he spoke of to rent a bike so we went back to get directions again. The Apple guesthouse that used to rent bikes according to the web, no longer did so and there was only the steak restaurant.

We found the restaurant and they showed us the bikes also saying there weren't many left and that it was better to rent it that night. We had supper there to think it over. Mine was 'fried rice no animal' as Ryan had figured out the least confusing way to order vegetarian food in Thailand, and pork and rice for him. We decided to get the bike and Ryan would have time to practise driving it down the quiet streets in town. The woman assured us they were easy to drive, young girls could do it, and the roads were pretty quiet. She gave us helmets and a mobile number in case anything happened too. Ryan had some fun driving the bike around town once had got the hang of the balance.


By the riverside, part of a little island was lit up with animal light figures. Another section on the bank had Thai writing and dragon to celebrate the New Year. The temperature finally cooled a bit too.


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Double post today in an effort to catch up. Be sure to check out the Exploring temples of Ubon Ratchathani post if you haven't already.

Posted by Sarah.M 20:41 Archived in Thailand Tagged park rental bus national bike khong pha taem chiam Comments (0)

Exploring Ubon Ratchathani temples


We lazed around in the morning, savouring the comfy bed as last night the receptionist had informed us that they'd mistakenly put us in the wrong room and we'd be switching today. We also had to fight with the wifi to book a place to stay for tomorrow night near the national park we wanted to visit. Holidays left us with few options, but there always seemed to be something.

At breakfast, the other receptionist was unaware of our wrong room situation and told us just to stay in the room, unless there was something wrong with it. The wifi kicked back in and we scored a room near Pha Taem National Park through Agoda. Sketchy, given my luck with them booking us a sold out room last time, but it was our only option.

By the time we got moving, it was almost lunchtime The place with vegetarian options was closed so we went to a bakery instead which to our luck had dishes I could eat too. Ryan had pork and rice while I had veggies and rice. We also stumbled across some creative gardening.


We wandered down to Thung Sri Muang in the high noon sun. The crowds were absent save a few Thai people taking photos or resting in the shade. We went to the giant gold monument used in the candle ceremonies. It also took the shape of a boat and had demons, birds, snakes, dragons eating people and even a crab. It was beautiful from afar and fun to inspect more closely. There were also big artificial plastic lotus flowers opposite it. We played on the semi-functional exercise equipment after that.


Nearby, the river market was closed but we got to enjoy Moon river. It was pretty quiet, though there was a boardwalk and a 'Full Moon' boat parked. It was likely much different and more low key than Koh Phanang's idea of Full Moon celebrations.


A washroom break turned into us tucking into the room to escape the heat until we figured that sunset loomed too close to complete our temple visiting plans. Our first destination was the temple we could see from our window and hear quite well last night called Wat Luang. It faced the river. There was a tall, thin, white temple, a large Buddha statue and a bell tower. A neat garden facing the river was tended by the monks. It had animals both in living and plant form.


The second temple we visited, Wat Klang, was pretty standard, with a large wooden building on stilts. We were able to go inside and see the Buddha statue. It also had a concrete looking temple in gray and beige.


Some of the homes we came across during our walk were quite colourful. I thought my mom would enjoy this picture


The third temple, Wat Tai Phrachao Yai Ong Tue, was fairly epic with an almost Hindu influence. It shined, glittered and had animals as well as religious figures in every direction you looked. There were two giant sitting Buddha statues, one in gold and the other in white. Another great feature was a temple with beautiful tile artwork as well as a view of the whole complex from the top.


We left happy and went to see another temple which was under renovations. We kept walking past a market to Wat Buraphanam. It was a residence for famous meditating monks: Achan Si Thachayaseno, Achan Man Phurithatto, Achan Li Thammatharo, Achan Sao Kantasilo, and Achan Sing Khantayakhamo. There were statues of them along with wooden houses on raised stilts and a big snake statue. Some dogs were there to check out what we were doing as well.


For supper, we returned to the bakery and had a half decent meal of fried rice. Back at the room, we opened the celebratory A&W root beers we'd been too tired to drink yesterday and threw on a movie. For a few hours, we almost forgot we were in Thailand.


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It's been awhile, our apologies, we've been busy, busy during our last month in Australia. Soon we'll be off to New Zealand. This post is a bit light on details. We managed to misplace the helpful pamphlet the tourism authority gave us before I could write this entry up. If I mixed up any of the temple names I do apologize, I've done the best I can tracking them down on Google Maps. I hope to have some better write-ups for temples when I go back and have more time.

If you're curious about the temples' history, this website covers many of the ones we saw both this day and the previous: https://sites.google.com/site/watthaikhoobarn/english-information/history-of-ubonratchathani .
Just take a look at the side tab for the English temple names.

Posted by Sarah.M 19:25 Archived in Thailand Tagged temples ubon_ratchathani Comments (0)