2015 - North-Eastern Thailand and Laos - Day 8

North-Eastern (I-San) Thailand and Laos, 16 Nov - 10 Dec 2015 (25days)
At the main entrance of Wat Phra That Phanom with That Phanom chedi in the center. 

Day 08 (23 Nov) Nakhon Phanom to Mukdahan (126km)

On day 8, from Nakorn Phanom we took a van stopping near Wat Phra That Phanom that houses the scared stupa That Phanom chedi. Built during 7-9th century & reconstructed in 1979, its crown is the golden umbrella weighing 110kg. Its square base is 12.33m wide & 53.6m high.

After visiting the stupa we took another public van to Mukdahan, the gateway to Indochina. In the afternoon we walked around Mukdahan city. Mukdahan is a little town opposite Laos (Savannakhet) over the Mekong River. A relaxed transit place for most, it also boost a few original attractions worth a longer stay. Sleeping at Submukda Grand Hotel, Mukdahan
At the Nakhon Phanom bus terminal to take a public van to Wat Phrathat Phanom located half way to Mukdahan.

At the outer wall of Wat Phra That Phanom.

Phra That Phanom sits in the smallest of three concentric courtyards.

Wat Phra That Phanom is the sacred precinct of the Phra That Phanom chedi, located in the district of the same name, in the southern part of Nakhon Phanom Province, northeastern Thailand.

The chedi named That Phanom with its very elegant shape is painted in white and decorated with gold ornaments.

The top of the chedi contains 110 kilos of gold. The base of the chedi is decorated with reliefs showing scenes from Brahman mythology.

It was originally built in the 16th century by the Laotian King Setthathirath of Lanxang. Each year, a festival is held in That Phanom to honor the temple.

The Laotian style chedi of Wat Phra That Phanom.
The structure of the temple complex that immediately catches the eye is the 57 meters high Laotian style chedi, that can be seen from far away approaching the temple.

The middle wall just encloses the tower, with a large area on the east side where people come to pray and make offerings.

The middle wall just encloses the tower, with a large area on the east side where people come to pray and make offerings.

The innermost wall is just big enough to surround the base of the tower, and the doors in its four gates are rarely open.

A giant drum depicting ASEAN on the outer wall.

Arrived at Mukdahan bus station.

Sleeping at Submukda Grand Hotel, Mukdahan.

Free flow of beverage at lobby of Submukda Grand Hotel, Mukdahan.

Mukdahan is a town and capital of Mukdahan Province, which became Thailand's 73rd province in 1982.

We had the best local food at this restaurant so far. It is located diagonally opposite 7-Eleven near to our hotel.

Very tasty large oyster fried with eggs.

The Indochine Market is mostly filled with junk, but you can score quality Lao coffee and tea. Loads of Asian-made cookware can be found in the many shops that line the roads.

The colorful Indochina Market lines the Mekong River. The major shopping area is the hub of products, local and imported.

After lunch we walked around Mukdahan town by the Mekong river.

Mukdahan located on the right bank of the river Mekong, it was formerly a district of Nakhon Phanom Province.

Second Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge, seen from Mukdahan.

Across the Mekong River is Savannaket, Laos 2nd largest city.

Si Mongkhon Tai Temple is situated near the immigration checkpoint of Mukdahan. According to legend, the first lord of Mukdahan discovered Phra Chao Ong Luang, the province’s important image of the Lord Buddha, while overseeing the construction of the city.

Buddha statue in the main hall of Si Mongkhon Tai Temple.
The long boat at Chao Mae Song Nang Phi Nong Shrine.

Chao Mae Song Nang Phi Nong Shrine. This 7 headed naga is made from banana stem & leaves.

This 7 headed naga is made from banana stem & leaves.

Chao Mae Song Nang Phi Nong Shrine.

Wat Si Mongkon Nuea lies on the northern part of Mukdahan city right next to the Mekong River.

And in the evening, the street is closed to traffic and you have the night food market.

Mukdahan Provincial City Pillar Shrine or Chaopho Chaofa Mung Mueang Shrine. The shrine, which also houses the city pillar, is on Song Nang Sathit Road. For the people of Mukdahan, the shrine is considered a sacred place of the spirit that protects the city.

Street musician at the Mukdahan's night market.

Chee Chap Chuk (pork intestine porridge).

For me, it has to be "chee chap chuk" porridge, and among the different variations of this dish, nothing beats a good bowl of pork intestine porridge.

Pornpet market, Mukdahan.

Pornpet Market vendors practicing traditional dances for the Loy Krathong festival in two days later.

Another group practicing traditional dances on stage.

Our hotel room at Submukda Grand Hotel, Mukdahan.

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North-Eastern Thailand and Laos - Introduction
Day 01 (16.11.15) AirAsia AK 856 KUL. 12.45pm to Chiang Mai, (1738km)
Day 02 (17 Nov) Chiang Mai to Loei to Phu Kradueng to Khon Kaen (691km)
Day 03 (18 Nov) Khon Kaen City walk around
Day 04 (19 Nov) Khon Kaen City to Kalasin (80km)
Day 05 (20 Nov) Kalasin to Sakon Nakhon (129km)

Day 06 (21 Nov) Sakon Nakhon to Nakhon Phanom (92km)
Day 07 (22 Nov) Nakhon Phanom - day trip to Thakhek, Laos (62km)
Day 08 (23 Nov) Nakhon Phanom to Mukdahan (125km)
Day 09 (24 Nov) Mukdahan - trip to Phu Pha Thoet National Park (108km)
Day 10 (25 Nov) Mukdahan to Ubon Ratchathani by bus (194km)

Day 11 (26 Nov) Ubon Ratchathani to Pakse to Si Phan Don, Laos (291km)
Day 12 (27 Nov) Si Phan Don - a long walk to Somphamit Waterfall
Day 13 (28 Nov) Si Phan Don to Ubon Ratchathani by bus (291km)
Day 14 (29 Nov) Ubon Ratchathani to Si Sa Ket by van (67km)
Day 15 (30 Nov) Si Sa Ket to Buri Ram by train (148km)

Day 16 (01 Dec) Buri Ram - day visit to 3 places (219km)
Day 17 (02 Dec) Buri Ram to Nakhon Ratchasima by train (129km)
Day 18 (03 Dec) Nakhon Ratchasima - day trip to Phimai (120km)
Day 19 (04 Dec) Nakhon Ratchasima to Bangkok by train (264km)
Day 20 (05 Dec) Bangkok - Chao Phraya River boat ride to Khaosan Road

Day 21 (06 Dec) Bangkok - rest day and dinner at Royal Bangkok Sports Club
Day 22 (07 Dec) Bangkok to Prachuap Khiri Khan by train (320km)
Day 23 (08 Dec) Prachuap Khiri Khan
Day 24 (09 Dec) Prachuap Khiri Khan to Hatyai by night train (660km) 

Day 25 (10 Dec) Hatyai to Butterworth by train and to KL by bus (555km)