Friday, August 9, 2013


Going to Don Tan district in Mukdahan province of Thailand in August was risky business for us. During the rainy season, you never know if you just get flooded and can't get out anymore. We took the risk anyway and drove to this far east point in Thailand's Isan region. Not quite the farthest east but almost. There is not much to do here other than visiting farming villages and small country temples. 

Wat Klang is one of those temples worth to visit. The temple has several names by the local people, so we were not really sure where it is and circled around for a while. Seems that it is also called Wat Chimawat and Wat Majimawas. The temple is widely known for its famous bronze drum, which dates back 2000-3000 years. It was locked up and placed behind a glass container for protection but we still got a good view of it. 

Here at the temple we were told of the boat races, which happened just east of the temple along the Mekong river. So we did drive on, through the small village of mostly fishermen families and walked to the mighty Mekong. Since it was rainy season and it had rained for weeks, the river was full of water, it's banks were wet and slippery and our path was pure mud to walk through. Nevertheless there were thousands of people lining the bank of the river, celebrating and cheering for their local teams which came from all over.

Here at Don Tan, the border with Laos moves from the middle of the river to almost the bank on the Thai side. A long island is located on the western side of the river which belongs to Laos, so the border line actually goes right through the small side arm of the Mekong. The boat race naturally happens right on the border and on both sides of it, hence in Laos and in Thailand. 

The locals seem to have their fun on and at the river with singers and performers on boats floating up and down the bank of the Mekong. There is plenty of food and drinks available and even an approaching thunderstorm would not disperse people. It's a big local party at the banks of the Mekong. A bit far to drive but well worth to see and experience for us.