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Entries about taem

Pha Taem National Park

Waterfalls and rock art

Traffic was pretty light this morning around eight. Filling the bike us with fuel cost us a whopping 60 baht ($2) so we could understand the appeal of driving these vehicles. We followed the main road/highway that we'd come in on until the 2112, and took that until the National Park entrance. Admission was 100 baht each for the day.

Sao Chaliang came up first which were giant rock pillars that had eroded to look like mushrooms. It was almost like being back in the badlands with the desert-like vegetation and impressive coloured rocks.

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A bit of a walk up was a rock plateau with a significant crack/gap. It would have been quite the drop if we got caught in there. A viewpoint showed off the plains of the park and the visitor's centre. We went back down to see the mushroom rocks a bit closer once the crowds had dissipated a bit.

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The visitor's centre, with an extremely rocky parking lot, was at the end of the road. We jumped off the bike to figure out which way to go to reach the walks to the historic rock art. The route to the cave paintings was not really clearly marked, but after following the crowds we got on the right track.

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The path led us to impressive cliffs even without the cave paintings. They were quite tall and stood by the nearby Mekong river. Opposite the water was Laos, so we'd come pretty far East. After a bit of walking, we discovered our first cave paintings which depicted people and animals. The people had triangular heads and almost reminded us of aliens. The animals ranged from a whale to turtles and fish. The paintings were red in colour and according to the signs were 3,000 to 4,000 years old. There were some paintings of hands as well.

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The next cliff had criss-crossed line paintings under one of the ledges which was a bamboo fish trap called 'blister'. The paintings were done at a significant height when the water levels must have been higher. They were part of the death rituals although there wasn't much further information to indicate why or how.

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Our walk back took us along the riverside where they'd filmed part of the movie Alexander from the cliff tops. We stopped off at the restaurant across from the visitor's centre for lunch and had some fried rice that was alright.

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Ryan navigated the tricky parking lot exit on the bike. The drive to Soi Sawan waterfall was thankfully smoother, 20 kilometres or so which took longer on a slower scooter. It was nice to have the wind against us to cool off.

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There was a small walk to the falls. The trek down was not so bad but heading back up would be a challenge. There was a small thin stream running from the top of a rocky peak. Holes had been eroded in the rock floor at the bottom and were filled with water. Kids had fun splashing in the puddles. It was dry season but some water trickled down the falls.

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To the side of one of the falls was a giant rock valley. From the smoothness of the rocks it, was pretty clear these would be another falls during wet season. We climbed around on the rocks to get some fun photos. The valley was so large we felt like ants.

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There was a mini falls closer to the higher one where a river drained out the water. People were rock jumping and swimming. It would have been fun to have a bathing suit.

After the walk to the top, we decided to check out the wildflower fields. A hot, sunny walk revealed that they were sparse at best. We turned around a few kilometres in only to find that the cliffs we sought were in that direction too. We didn't have the energy to retrace those steps so we hopped back on the bike.

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Next was Saeng Chan waterfall, another half hour or so away. It was easy enough to walk there from the parking lot, just a short flight of stairs. A decent amount of water ran from the stream up top. There was a small calm pool surrounded by vegetation at the bottom of the falls. Aside from the occasional shout or scream, it was quite serene. As we got closer, we could see the crescent or heart shaped hole formed by the erosion of the falls.

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We went up to the falls, then behind them to climb up the cave area steps to the stream which fed the top of the falls. It was neat to see the hole and the drop but signs warned us not to get too close. Ryan joked one of us should jump to the bottom and meet the other there.

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We drove back after one more visit to the bottom of the falls. Since we were fighting the clock and still needed gas, our pace was quicker than before. There was a gas station just before the main road and it only cost us 65 baht ($2.15) to fill up the tank. The hour plus drive began after that. Except for us trying to return the bike for 5:20, Ryan was really enjoyed the drive. I was just trying to sit without my legs going numb or tipping the thing over.

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The bike made it back with fifteen minutes to spare. We rented it for another day then rode off to Two Colour River just down the street. This was where the Mekong and Moon rivers colours were meant to converge. The light from the setting sun obscured the colour a bit, but the sunset was beautiful too. Some visiting Thai travellers showed us Laos on the other side and asked us how our trip was going.

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We had supper at a restaurant on the river and ordered a big fried rice, mixed veggie dish and Ryan had some fried chicken. It hit the spot and we enjoyed the bright gazebo decorations.

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Posted by Sarah.M 19:41 Archived in Thailand Tagged art park colour thailand river waterfall national rock chan sao two pha taem chaliang saeng Comments (0)

Khong Chiam

Buses and motorbikes

semi-overcast

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.

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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)

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