Tuesday, November 6, 2012

THA UTHEN - THAILAND

Wat Phra That Tha Uthen temple


 
Mekong with view into Laos
Tha Uthen was probably our most northeastern part of the Kingdom of Thailand we ever travelled to. It is part of the province of Nakhon Phanom which borders the Laotian province of Khammouan. 

Its a very beautiful location located right next to the river Mekong and offers nice views over to the mountainous terrain of Laos. The drive along the river from Nong Khai to Tha Uthen will reward the traveller with some of the most remote areas of Thailand, though we decided to travel here on a separate trip, working our way up from the province of Mukdahan. 

Gates of Tha Uthen temple
Besides the many beautiful spots along the river Mekong, our main reason for driving up here was the temple and pagoda of Wat Phra That Tha Uthen, located right along the mighty river. Hence it is also getting it's fair share of floods during the rainy season. 

The pagoda of Wat Phra That Tha Uthen is a very quiet spot. No tourists were here when we visited and thus allowing us to spend a lot of value time here, talking to the monks and enjoying all the detailed decorations of the temple buildings. 



Wat Traiphum temple
Driving further along the Mekong we also visited the historic temple Wat Traiphum, also written Triphum in some documents. We were told many different dates and stories about the founding of this area with people from present-day Laos, but our main interest was to see a standing Buddha image, called Phra Bang. It was cast in the ancient Lan Chang-style in A.D. 1465 and was brought across the river. 

Phra Bang Buddha image

Tha Uthen has an interesting and active history and is a great spot to visit in order to dive deeper into the real Isan (northeast) culture.     







Mekong river along Tha Uthen district