Tuesday, August 28, 2012

THA BO DISTRICT IN NONG KHAI - THAILAND


Side arm of the Mekong River
Our long journey along the Mekong River in North-Eastern Thailand's province of Nong Khai finally brought us closer to bigger towns. Tha Bo was where we were heading, always driving along the Mekong and the border of Laos. 

Luang Phor Ong Tue Buddha
Here the river turns sharply south, then turns east again before heading north towards Laos and finally continues to flow east when passing the city of Nong Khai. Tha Bo lies at the confluence of several smaller rivers, canals and the the point where the river makes it's first turn to the east. 


Wat Sri Chomphu Ong Tue Temple
Our main reason for driving around up here were several important temples.  Wat Sri Chomphu Ong Tue was one of them. It is also called Wat Nam Mong, this is an old Lao-style temple, which houses the largest principal Buddha image in the province of Nong Khai, Luang Phor Ong Tue. It is believed that the image was cast in 1562 and is a mix of Lanna and Lan Chang styles. The handsome statue of Luang Phor Ong Tue is one of my favourite Buddha statues and we visited this far away place twice now.  The temple is located along a quiet side arm of the river, while the Mekong itself passes a bit to the east from here. 
Wat Tha Kok Ruea temple

The mix of rural North-East Thailand with it's rich cultural background makes a trip up here worthwhile. While this trip took us along the Mekong River, we had one trip over land and through the province of Udon Thani's back country to visit Phu Phrabat Historical Park before heading to Wat Ong Tue. Going cross country when everything is green right after the rainy season is very rewarding.

Wat Tha Kok Ruea temple
We also looked for restaurants along the river, so we drove into the district town of Tha Bo, circled around a few times until we found a good restaurant which offered fresh fish from the Mekong. We finally found one directly along the river banks and next to the small Wat Tha Kok Ruea temple. It is a very quiet place but good food and nice views onto the river made us stop here for quite a while before continuing into Nong Khai town.